A new breed of retailers is taking self checkout to dystopian levels.
Wheelys, a company based in unaligned, hide your money and darkest secrets Switzerland, has deployed Moby, a mobile, self driving, self operating retail outlet on the streets of Shanghai. The GPS enabled rolling neon box holds the world’s smallest duty free shop and prowls the city at all hours enabling the consumer’s (and retailer’s) worst impulses.
Being uber– intrusive is no longer the domain of the e-tailer. Stores can now literally pop-up in your face. And all the while… information, specifically (your) consumer data is central to any modern marketing strategy. I can see the light-bulb moment now. “The store comes to you. (Because we know where you are, always).”
So, armed with your profile, your preferences and your location, Moby the omniscient, oversized vending machine skulks the Sino grid to intercept and entice consumers at their most vulnerable.
Amazon, who offers the aforementioned rapid delivery service, will not be outdone. With Pincer Movement like tactics they embed themself at every possible retail opportunity. Controlling every touch point from their conspicuous purchase of Whole Foods to the stealth installation of those ubiquitous yellow lockers, and that whole drone delivery thing are not all disparate strategies. Plus the thing connects everything is “The Cloud” of course which just happens to run on the Amazon Cloud computing platform. And customers who like that might also like… Amazon Go, which is testing a truly invasive technology that Moby will someday surely license in order to survive the extinction of it’s smartphone app.
The new technology, promised to us by IBM over a decade ago, allows shoppers to put collected items anywhere on their person and upon exiting the store, the contents are automatically scanned through their bag or clothing.
They are then charged to an account using biometric or implanted technology, making the last privacy boundaries and the good old checkout-lines history, just like 1984.
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