It’s that oddly familiar feeling. The one where you let your rambunctious child sneak a bag of Oreo’s into the shopping cart, much to your chagrin, in an effort to quell his sweet tooth and get him to shut up. It never works. They’re never satisfied, you tell yourself.
But there’s just something strangely nostalgic and satisfying about throwing a can of beans or a bag of dog food into a shopping cart. It’s a tangible sensation that reminds us that what we are spending our money on has weight. That it’s real.
And now, that sensation is drawing closer and closer towards extinction. With the proliferation of such huge online marketplaces as Buy.com, Amazon.com and Newegg.com, among others, the shopping cart is slowly being phased out and replaced with a much less frustrating to control mouse or track-pad. In fact, shopping online is becoming an increasingly common substitute to travelling to busy shopping malls or grocery stores for a lot of cities. And now, even shopping for groceries online is no longer an implausible. In fact, for many, it might even be easier than visiting the grocery store itself.
And therein lies the problem with those 4-wheeled, often annoying to maneuver monstrosities that we call shopping carts: they’re an inefficient way to spend our time. In about 15 seconds on Amazon, I can purchase any item that I want. From Seinfeld DVD box-sets to packages of ramen noodles, just about anything I can imagine
Still, where grocery stores maintain an advantage over their online counterparts is in immediacy. Sure, ordering Advil online is extremely convenient, but when you have a massive headache or pain that won’t go away, waiting at least two or three days for it to arrive via the mail isn’t the ideal solution. But that’s the only reason why brick and mortar stores still exist. For the most part, ordering online is cheaper, less time consuming and far more convenient.
But who knows how much longer B&M stores will maintain that competitive advantage over the online shopping world. With Amazon constantly searching for ways to increase their customer base, cutting down delivery times of products to just a few hours might be in the not too distant future.
The next step for B&M chains? Translating the ease of purchasing online in-store. Allowing us to whip out our phones, scan a bar code and pay for an item on the spot. No fuss, no waiting on line. Homeplus, a supermarket chain in Korea, is already experimenting with this. In order to bring about the ease of shopping online with the tangible nature of buying things in person, Homeplus created several virtual stores in subway stations. People could scan the QR codes of the virtual items, and then have those items delivered to their houses within several hours.
Stores in the US like Stop & Shop have also already begun to adapt some of the convenience of the web by allowing members with Stop & Shop accounts to use their “SCAN IT!” handheld device that allows for customers to scan items and bag them on the fly, then pay for their purchase in a quick, convenient swipe of their credit card at the checkout counter. Smart. Simple. And best of all, extremely convenient.
Still, it’s still far too early to label the shopping cart “dead.” Dinosaurs are dead. Orson Welles is dead. The shopping cart is far from Orson Welles and even farther from dinosaurs. It is not on life support, just yet. But the world is seeking more and more ways to improve upon it and, ultimately, make it a much more convenient medium for everyone’s purchasing means.
Source: MSM DesignZ, Inc. is a Westchester NY web design firm specializing in SEO, social media, web and graphic design and much more.