What Will Shopping Look Like In The Future?

It will be faster, easier, and surprisingly personal

For those of you who don’t enjoy waiting in line overnight to get Black Friday deals, wandering the endless aisles of the grocery store in search of soy sauce, or mailing back pair after pair of ill-fitting shoes bought online, we have good news for you: Shopping in the future is going to be much easier.

Between smartphones and tracking technologies, every trip to the store will be quick, efficient, and a heck of a lot smarter than it is today. Some retailers will even be able to anticipate your individual needs and take care of them for you.

To get the inside scoop, we talk to Indiana University’s Ray Burke, who studies how customers think and behave. And we hear from Scott Emmons, who heads up innovation for Neiman Marcus, about the high-tech mirrors and tablets they’re bringing to their stores.

Looking further into the future, we pick the brains of the people who are actually making it happen: Devora Rogers and David Mounts at a tech company called Inmar. They are pretty excited about what technology could do to transform stores and the experience of people who frequent them.

And don’t forget our ever-entertaining Popular Science archives! The futuristic delivery methods we envisioned back in 1939 were once as novel as Amazon’s drones today.

httpswww.popsci.comsitespopsci.comfilesdrive-in_shopping.png
Popular Science Archives, February 1939

How impressive is this fancy new mail sorting system introduced by the U.S. Postal Service in 1971?

httpswww.popsci.comsitespopsci.comfilesu.s._mail_1.png
Popular Science Archives, March 1971

We just can’t get over the innovation…or perhaps it’s the illustrations.

httpswww.popsci.comsitespopsci.comfilesu.s._mail_2.png
Popular Science Archives, March 1971

But no matter how far sorting and delivery systems have come, stores aren’t going away. They’re just going to appear in some really interesting new forms.

What futuristic delivery method would you like to see? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook, or email us at futuropolis@popsci.com. And be sure to subscribe on iTunes, SoundCloud, or search for Futuropolis on your favorite podcast app.

Futuropolis is a biweekly podcast on the Panoply network. Tune in every other Wednesday for more sneak peeks at the future.