TNS Retail Forward recently released "New Future In Store," a study of shoppers in Asia, Canada, Europe and the United States, who rated the appeal of 12 potential shopping innovations. U.S. shoppers rated intelligent shopping carts with the highest appeal. The "Smart Carts" would have a video screen on the front of the shopping cart that helps consumers locate products, access shopping lists, check prices, receive coupons and even scan purchases. Sixty percent of shoppers worldwide expect to pay for purchases with only their fingerprints by 2015, an innovation one-fourth of all shoppers rated at the top. Nearly three-fourths of shoppers think they'll be using interactive touchscreens in dressing rooms to communicate with sales associates by 2015, and half of consumers believe 3-D body scanning and interactive mirrors will eliminate trying on items altogether. The study also indicated a vast difference between shoppers of different countries--for example, 60 percent of Chinese shoppers rated biometric fingerprint payment with high appeal, whereas only 24 percent of German shoppers did.
There are likely a few explanations for these results. For example, the difference between the number of Chinese and Germans interested in biometric payments could stem from one of a few sources. For example, perhaps the Chinese, already living in a big-brother police state, are comfortable with their biometric information linked to some master database. Or perhaps the vast majority of Germans already use credit cards while the Chinese use mostly cash, so there's little perceived upside to switching to the Germans.
One thing we did find interesting was the prediction that "smart carts" would soon be on the rise. While any number of startups have tried to crack the code of how to combine shopping carts with self-service kiosk and digital signage technology, power, reliability and usability problems continue to keep them from really taking off. While we suppose some of these things could be solved with technology, it would seem that by 2015 we'd probably all be using our "smart phones", which many of us already actually have, to extend our typical shopping trips.