Saturday, December 15, 2012

The future of shopping

I recently heard on the radio a report about the future of retail. Apparently in the future, the stores will 'hear' you coming by detecting the approach of your cell phone. That will bring your purchasing history up and the staff will be able to greet you by name and then direct you to the merchandise you're most likely to be interested in. The interviewer asked about the creepiness factor involved. The interviewee suggested that once we see that it will save us money and result in a more fulfilling shopping experience, we'll be all for it. No thanks. I think I'll stick with my hometown stores that don't have to pretend like they know me. I sometimes don't know quite how to respond when a checkout clerk at major retailer X, after reading my name on my credit card, thanks me by first name for shopping at this store. I am friendly enough about it, but I can't help thinking "You don't me!"

I like it when the clerks I actually do know engage me in authentic conversations. That did not happen instantly. It happens after many times of choosing to go to the small local retailer and building an acquaintance. Even that took some getting used to upon moving from busy town to small town. At first I did find it a bit annoying that the check out clerks thought they had to chat up each customer. Now that I'm one of those customers I do kind of like it.

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