Amazon isn’t the only big tech company thinking about how to improve our everyday shopping experiences. Ten years ago, IBM had a similar idea, and it created a short commercial to show how it would work.
(Did anyone else get a very The Matrix feel from that?)
It’s unclear how fleshed-out IBM’s solution was at the time, or if this was merely a very high-level concept video demonstrating the future of grocery shopping. However, in 2014, IBM definitely refined its concepts and expectations. Bill Gillispie, IBM’s retail consulting team leader for grocery, gave the Street an interview talking about its ideas.
“The grocery store of 2020 is a store that’s totally connected, 24/7 to the customer from a mobile perspective to completely simplifying the shopping trip and making it personalized for each individual customer,” Gillespie said in that chat.
By making staff, supplies, and stores more connected, staff can focus on helping and serving customers that are in-store, rather than more menial tasks or check-out duties, Gillespie forecast. Even two years ago, he suggested that the self-checkout machine was becoming obsolete thanks to the fact that everyone has a smartphone in their pocket.
Now, with Amazon Go, it’s not a matter of if but when this tech is going to proliferate across our supermarkets and malls.