“We used to build civilization, now we build shopping malls.”
– Bill Bryson (Neither here nor there – 1991)
Shopping! A unique experience that is used today as a stress buster more than a necessity. As we have made progress in modernization our entire idea of shopping is changed. In olden days when we used to have a barter system, then it was more of a direct C2C (customer-to-customer) market. But in that scenario, it was difficult to find out the customer for goods and services one wanted to offer. As a result, the concept of currency was generated. As we modernized and civilizations started interacting with each other the need was changed and with the development of economic theories, currency started depicting the true state of economic condition of one civilization.
In modern times India has seen many changes in her economy. After liberalization in 1991, and with inviting foreign funds directly in every segment including retail, our shopping experience is set to change very rapidly. Our shopping experience will depend on many factors including but not necessarily restricted to the following factors –
Shopping in 2030 will also depend on many other factors including technological changes. When modern life is completely dependent on technology, no wonder why technology will dictate terms of our shopping experience.
Cloud! Once it used to roam only in the sky above us, but now it has entered in all our homes and offices. All our gadgets are becoming cloud-friendly and there is no doubt that this technology will decide our shopping experience in 2030 as well.
Our technical gadgets like mobiles, tabs or any other gadget to be developed in future will also set our shopping experience. Today, if Indians are still reserved in terms of online shopping that is due to lack of technical spread, internet knowledge and reach of internet and awareness of such a shopping existing.
Another factor that determines our shopping behavior is our acceptance of shopping something without feeling the same. With different innovations in line that give us near lifetime experience of any product and service, these gaps are however reducing.
In earlier days, when we had a joint family our grandparents or parents used to visit marketplace with big shopping bags to the market to buy goods for the whole family. Not only vegetables but also other consumables for the whole family used to be bought like that.
With the change in the social structure now we have nuclear families, and thanks to different other factors and with increasing divorce rate and single parenting India is set to see more single people and single children living independently.
With age of maturity decreasing for Indian children we will see more children becoming independent at an earlier age and with the revolution in and changes in earning opportunities more children will be self-dependent too.
These social changes will not only decide the goods we buy but also the quantity, brands and the way we buy them. Since the family support system will go away, and more and more people will try to be independent at an earlier age, more demand for different types of services, especially online services like counseling services, writing services or some other personal services will grow. Many of these young stars will also offer such services to earn some quick buck.
Also as people will be more and more separated due to break up of the family system, the demand for various liquors will grow. The need to survive in a highly competitive market will force one to be employed in multiple areas and also to seek delivery of goods and services at their doorsteps.
Supply Chain Factors
The demand and supply of any goods even today is largely dependent on various supply chain factors. The need to reach every customer and with increasing buying power the rural customer being as able to buy costly and luxury items like any urban customer throws a great challenge to the retailing giants to reach every customer.
Development and maintenance of distribution channels throw a great challenge to the marketing companies. With the need to reach around 1.5 billion customers (in 2030) with such a great spread of land these factors will determine our shopping experience to a greater extent. There will be a need for extensive collaboration among supply chain companies to maintain the service level.
Also it will be more of pull technique used for shopping than push technique. But to be more precise, it will be a combination of push and pull techniques that will decide our shopping experience. Companies will try to achieve more business by pushing new products and services through bundling them and making optimization at different supply chain factors. However, customers will prefer a pull technique for the same. With technological innovation in place a nice combination of these two will decide how we shop. This is explained below with an example –
In 2030, all products (especially white goods and luxury items) sold will be linked in respective clouds. So each item will be tracked for usage and for expiry. Since each item will be tracked, their maintenance schedule and expiry alerts will be sent to individual in advance. Also on expiry of these items, the customer will be able to send his buying request online and accordingly the same will be replenished. Marketing company will definitely take this opportunity to bundle out some other goods and services to push together. So a good combination of push and pull technique will decide the overall shopping experience.
The economy of a country decides many things. It decides the purchasing power of individuals, as well as the demand for any goods and services. Since India is already a part of the global economy, Indian economy will be on par with the best global economies, with more power to women and adolescents. With Aadhaar system with a unique ID in place, the future banking system and the monetary system will completely change.
There will be one global currency that will be transacted in all transactions. In fact, use of physical currency will be stopped and people will use online currency more. With technological innovation in place, one’s aadhaar information will be transferred into a chip/ sim card and that will be integrated into a multi-utility device that will enable one not only to make calls but also to every other activity including financial transactions. This system will enable online funds to transfer from the buyer’s account to the marketer’s. Voice-enabled services from this device will be able to map mental wavelength to understand tacit and implied requirements. So while ordering for one good or service, this intelligent device will be able to track tacit needs of the person and help him in making intelligent decisions.
Since the unique aadhaar ID tracks all details of a person in 2030, it will know what the person likes to shop, what s/he consumes more or s/he dislikes. The last restaurant used, or the brand of watches one already have. This will be also intelligent to track the requirements of one’s close and distant family members and remind all social and personal events.
These factors, especially change in banking and transaction process will revolutionize the way we shop, the way our requirements are decided and shaped. So shopping in 2030 will be a lot different than it is today.
So what paycheck does today, our future technology will ensure not only best products and prices are taken out from the available marketplace, but it is intelligent enough to identify the tacit need of the customer and bring out the best possible bouquet of an offer for him.