Stores doing data

Stores doing data

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As online shopping encourages day-to-day purchases to go digital, shopping in physical locations is set to become more extravagant. That means the in-store experience becoming a ‘highly attentive and customised interaction’, enabled by robots and artificial intelligence, argue Sidewalk Labs’ planning and development director Johanna Greenbaum and director of design Jesse Shapins in Medium.

This is all about data of course. As a store’s information on customers grows, so should its predictive insights. A system would offer fashion trends based on films or TV shows watched, perhaps modelling them on a hologram of the customer.

“Since there’s no inventory on site, every order is one-of-a-kind – make a purchase and watch it fabricated on-demand, or head home to await a drone delivery.”

However, this upscaling of retail would negatively impact corner stores, which would slowly give way to digital vending machines, undermining community gathering points. The end-result? Retail streets become less inclusive and more homogenous.

Sidewalk, which is Alphabet’s urban technology unit, has it eyes on the city and is looking to work with a metro to build a town from the ground up. A very smart one, of course.

Image: Sidewalk Labs

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Sidewalk's city vision

Sidewalk's city vision