A lot has changed in this world since I was a kid in the early 90s, and a teenager during the beginning of the new millennium. I have seen the digital boom right before my eyes, and how technology gradually became an important part of our everyday lives. Seventeen years back, in the year 1996, a normal middle-class family like ours did not have any mobile phone or computers in the house, and the concept of ‘online shopping’ was completely alien to all. If so much could change in the past 17 years, imagine how much more would change in the next 17 years from now, i.e in the year 2030.
In today’s time, we have already become very comfortable with the idea of shopping online for various goods, starting from clothes, shoes and cosmetics to mobile phones, cameras and laptops. When so many things can be bought sitting at home, with just one click of the button, why wait in queues to pay bills in the stores and do so much of leg work? Initially, a lot of people were wary and unsure of the concept – What if they take my money and don’t send me the goods? What if the product has some sort of fault or it does not fit me? Will they exchange it? There were many questions and insecurity surrounding the concept of shopping online, but as time has passed, and more and more successful e-commerce websites have popped up in the past few years, people have snuggled up to the idea and embraced it with both arms.
But we must also keep in mind that, with the boom of online shopping, shopping in malls and stores have still not totally gone out of fashion. A lot of people still prefer to go to the high end malls and designer boutiques to shop for their favorite brand of clothes and shoes. Especially the older generation, like my parents or grandparents, would still prefer to go to a shop and buy stuff. For them, the concept of ‘online shopping’ is still alien, and not completely trustworthy. But, according to me, in the year 2030, shopping will almost entirely become online, and shall be done with the click of one button. People would rarely be seen in the malls or stores shopping for items. Malls would just become a place to hang out with friends, watch movies or grab a bite.
Smartphones will be the answer to everything. All your favorite brands will just be a click away, there will be very few stores, and not many people would prefer to physically go to those stores to buy things. We should also keep in mind that, population will increase and there would be a huge lack of space. There would be space crunch to build new shops and malls, so shopping online would turn out to be the smarter option. People will just use their smartphones in order to take care of all their shopping needs – starting from daily groceries to high-end gadgets to that perfect cocktail party dress.
Maybe, even a ‘click of the button’ won’t be necessary. Sometimes, a ‘voice command’ would do the work for you. If you tell your smartphone, “I want that red dress from XYZ brand priced at Rs 8,500”, your smartphone will automatically place the order on your behalf in that particular online shopping website.
There is a situation we all have faced at least once in our lives. We have gone to the mall to buy something important and by the time we have reached, the store had shut down, and we had to come back dejected. Also, a lot of shops stay shut during the weekends and/or holidays. Such things will no longer make any difference in 2030. Shopping would be possible 24X7, sitting right at the comfort of your home. Imagine, not standing in those long queues for payment, or bickering with other females over a single dress during the ‘sale’ season. Ah, bliss!
Even delivery would not take 2-7 working days anymore. It will become super fast. Products will reach at your doorstep in just 2-5 hours after ordering. If it reaches later than that, the online shopping websites will offer a ‘money back guarantee’ (like how we get a free pizza now, in 2013)!
Also, robots in all shapes, sizes, and forms will be our slaves in 2030. They will be manufacturing products in the factories, assisting us in shopping, delivering the goods, easing our lives and caring for our shopping needs. They will suggest which dress looks better on us and which brand will offer us a better value for money.
There will be interactive, life-like, touchscreen mannequins for various brands in the malls, which would let the customer customize their shopping needs. The customers would be able to touch the huge screen and make the mannequins try out various clothes/accessories/shoes of their choice. If they like any particular product, all they would have to do is drag and drop that product inside a shopping bag displayed on the screen. The customer’s mobile phone would be connected to this screen, and whatever item(s) they drag inside the shopping bag, would be automatically displayed on their mobile screen. Then, later, the customer can buy those items, at their own time and convenience with the help of their smartphones.
The competition between e-commerce websites will increase even more. Every website will go that extra mile to satisfy their consumer’s shopping needs and provide something new. For example, what eBay India recently did by launching the eBay Check is a brilliant way of giving the customers a simplified and better online shopping experience. If one adds eBay Check, the official Google Chrome extension from eBay India, it simplifies one’s shopping needs, by giving them the best prices on eBay.in for any products they may be looking for. It also doubles up as a shopping search engine. Such things would be common in 2030, and every e-commerce website will immediately show the best price that their website offers for the product(s) that a person is searching for online.
All said and done, I would like to conclude by saying that, it is very difficult to predict what might or will happen, in the future. We can only guess, but none of us can tell with certainty what will finally happen. We can only talk about things that we have seen around us, and it is very tough for us to believe in things that we have never seen or experienced before. People who were born before the telephone was invented, would not have believed it, had someone told them that one can easily talk to a person who is living miles away from them. They would have probably laughed it off. Similarly, sitting here in the year 2013, our imagination can run only till a certain limit, and one can’t talk about something that has not been invented yet. But what I can and will say, with certainty, is the fact that, I will be 42-years-old in 2030, and I see myself as a mother by then, who will still be a crazy shopaholic like she is now. The only difference being, I’ll be shopping more for my kids then, than for myself!
This blog post was written for ‘The future of shopping!’ contest, organized by IndiBlogger and eBay.in. The topic was – Tell us how you imagine shopping to be in the year 2030. This post was judged as a runner-up in the Pan India Blogging contest.
You can add eBay Check, the official Google Chrome extension from eBay India, in order to make your shopping experience much simpler and better.