While pretty much everyone from formidable brand scions to independent designers have constructed their own virtual storefronts, the future of retail is wide open when it comes to how consumers will one day identify, investigate, and purchase products. Take, for instance, Frog Design. The company “has envisioned a concept scenario called ThinkBook, in which a future where every object is connected to the internet plays a critical role in how we might eventually shop for products,” says PSFK, which recently compiled a (free) 80-page report on the future of retail. In layman’s terms, this essentially means that if you spot someone strolling through Union Square wearing shoes you just can’t live without, you’ll be able to snap a photo of the kicks in question and have all the product information you want, including where to purchase it, in seconds.
This isn’t the only revolutionary retail advancement PSFK touches on. “Deal sites such as Coupon Sherpa and Cellfire already enable consumers to search for discounts from brands and access them on their mobile phones to be presented at checkout,” while portholes like Foursquare and Gowalla are letting businesses target consumers with location-based promotions. Subports, “a retail shopping platform through which customers use text messages to purchase items,” likewise gets a mention, as does barcode-scanning and image recognition software from the likes of Stripey Lines, ShopSavvy, and Amazon. In other words, hold on to your hats! Retail is one industry undergoing quite the makeover.