Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Browse by Decade
Amazonian
More Ads?

Ads

Search
Ads

Amazon Fun

Navigation

Entries in retail (5)

Monday
Jan242011

Shopping in the Future (1981)

I'm often shocked at how accurate some 20th century predictions of online shopping were. However, these retail prognosticators frequently miss the mark by assuming that individual goods would need to be photographed or videotaped live for consumers. 

While I can kind of understand how this might make sense with fresh fruit, today we have sites like Amazon and Peapod where a generic photo of the product for sale is displayed. That being said, this prediction of online shopping from the 1981 book World of Tomorrow: School, Work and Play by Neil Ardley was pretty darn close to what we have today.

A store of the future is more like a warehouse than a shop of today. The robots serve people who call up the store on their home computers. This robot is showing a bunch of bananas to a video camera, which transmits a picture of the fruit to a customer. It places the purchases in a box which is then delivered to the customer's home.

Shopping is an activity that most of us have to do every day. While it's sometimes exciting -- if you want some new clothes or a new gadget, for example -- it's often tiresome. You have to trudge around a store, wait in line to pay for your purchases, and then perhaps carry a heavy load home only to find you've forgotten something.

Shopping should be much easier and more enjoyable in the future. Computers and robots will come to your aid and enable you to shop at the very best stores. You won't have to lift a finger, let alone a shopping basket. For shopping will be yet another service that the home videophone computer will be able to provide.

Instead of going out to the shops and stores in your town or city, you contact them through your videophone computer. You'll need to see what you're buying, even if you can't handle it, so the viewscreen of the videophone computer shows you the goods available. You then instruct the computer to order the goods you want and have them delivered to your house.

Your computer "talks" to the store's computer, which in turn orders robots in the store to collect the goods together and pass them to a delivery vehicle. Under the guidance of the computers, this brings them to your home.

In this way your home computer can make sure that your home is always supplied with all its essentials, for it automatically orders new supplies as soon as they are needed. It also instructs your bank to pay for the goods, so you do not need to part with any cash.

Using the computer for shopping is yet one more way in which the computer will make life easier in the future. It will save you time that you spend in a more useful or a more pleasant way. However, many people enjoy shopping, especially looking for unusual items. So, while the computer will do your everyday shopping, you may still go shopping yourself for something special. However, the computer will be able to help you greatly if you want to buy something really exciting -- a special present for a friend, for example. With your home computer, you can purchase virtually anything in the world, for it can contact stories anywhere -- on the other side of the globe if necessary.

 

Previously on Paleofuture:

 

Tuesday
Mar312009

Corner Grocermat (1959)

The January 4, 1959 edition of Closer Than We Think illustrated the corner grocermat of the future. The modular/mobile nature of the whole idea is reminiscent of the "farm to market" trains featured in Magic Highway, U.S.A. They certainly could have inspired the "mobile malls" of 1981 we looked at a while back.

Here's an idea to make marketing faster and easier! As proposed by the Clark Equipment Company of Battle Creek, Michigan, it involves the use of self-service "food banks" that would be preloaded with bread, milk, soups, etc., at the wholesaler's and then hauled to handy neighborhood locations for the convenience of retail shoppers.

The idea might be further developed to enable the housewife to drive around an oval arrangement of such preloaded display sections and pick out what was needed. A clerk would put the desired groceries on a moving belt which would move when the auto did, so that the purchases would wind up at the checkout counter at the same time the driver did. They'd be packaged and paid for - all with the customer still seated at her wheel.

Thanks to Tom Z. for this color edition of Closer Than We Think.

Previously on Paleo-Future:

Thursday
Sep132007

Japanese Retail Robots (1986)


Danforth France sent me this great link to a 1986 news report on the future of Japanese retail. The new mantra of paleo-futurists may become, "Where's my personal robot shopper?"

See also:
Online Shopping (1967)
Mobile Malls (1981)
The Robot Rebellion (1982)
Robots: The World of the Future (1979)
Robots Will Be Kings (1949)
Mammy vs Robot (Charleston Gazette, 1937)

Friday
Jul272007

Electronic Shopping (1983)

Terry R. Hiller wrote an article titled "Going Shopping in the 1990s" for the December, 1983 issue of The Futurist magazine. Mr. Hiller was understandably skeptical of the prospect of electronic shopping. However, many of the things he asserted would not come to pass did indeed happen.

An excerpt appears below, along with graphics from the piece.


Nor is electronic retailing equipped to deal with the logistics of delivery. Product information, selection, and billing can all be transmitted electronically, but physical merchandise must be physically moved. Today's mail-order houses depend on federal or private package delivery, services that are simply not structured for the huge traffic increases that large-scale teleshopping would generate. It would require not only the total restructuring of existing routes and systems, but an investment of billions of dollars in equipment and personnel - resources we are simply unable to spare either now or in the foreseeable future.

Furthermore, since teleshoppers can only view products piecemeal, electronic marketing has severe drawbacks as a retailing device. In nine square feet of drugstore shelf space, you might easily encounter as many as 80 or more different brands and sizes of cold remedies. But in electronic marketing, shelf space is defined as time- the number of second an item appears on the screen. Allowing even 10 seconds per item, it would take more than 13 minutes to show that same 80 items. Add to this the cost of production, handling, and shipping, and we begin to suspect that the "convenience" of electronic marketing will be very expensive. Unless we are prepared to sacrifice variety - and therefore competition - some products will never be purchased "in absentia."


See also:
Online Shopping (1967)
Mobile Malls (1981)

Thursday
Jun072007

Mobile Malls (1981)


The February, 1981 issue of The Futurist featured this illustration of a "mobile mall" of the future. Below are excerpts from the accompanying article.

"It will be the age-old concept of the traveling merchant; but instead of camels or sailing vessels, the retailer of the future will transport his material via superhighway and erect his store on site," says the originator of the retailing on wheels concept, Elinor Selame of Selame Design in Massachusetts.

The advantage of mobile malls lies in their simplicity, economy, and mobility. Retailing on wheels, Selame argues, may be a popular marketing response in an era of shrinking energy supplies and hard-bargaining consumers.

See also:
Online Shopping (1967)