Smartphones have made PCs an almost obsolete tool for mining information. Even laptops are too bulky to drag around to look up information. It’s much easier to shop, browse websites and just look up information on a tablet or Smartphone. Well, those devices are making shopping a step easier, too.
We all want our information instantly. We’ve come to demand it with high-speed internet and digital devices in the palm of our hands. Now, the next step in instant gratification is actually ordering what we want by using the QR codes on products, advertisements or websites.
Imagine that you’re eating breakfast, reading the paper (either the real paper version or online). You see something from your favorite sporting goods store on sale, and want to have it. No need to access a website and fill in an order form. Just scan the QR or Quick Response code on the ad and it’s yours. As you pour the last of the breakfast cereal into our bowl, you turn over the box and scan the QR code, adding another box to your next online grocery order. No more grocery lists to prepare, bring to the store and cross out as you negotiate the crowded aisles. You can get what you need when you need it from the convenience of your kitchen table.
The New York Times reported that many companies that are experimenting with this type of same-day service. Paydient, PeaPod, Amazon and even Wal-Mart are getting on the bandwagon, helping consumers satisfy their impulses. The technology will even be available for shopping off your TV screen. See something you like and want? Just scan the QR code off the screen and the product is on its way.
These instant “buy-where-you-are” 24/7 buying solutions will undoubtedly have an impact on the future of retail. Not even the future, more like the now of retail. While people love to shop, they don’t enjoy the hassle of going out in traffic and trying to find a parking space at the crowded mall. People who work all day would rather be home relaxing than fighting the crowds at Wal-Mart trying to shop in the evening when they’re tired and stressed out from the workday. Who wants to drag out the kids in the rain or snow?
Online scan-and-get shopping can have a profound impact on retail if too many shoppers stay home and order online instead. Fewer shoppers, less need for retail check-out clerks, stock persons, managers, etc. Who needs big-box stores when you can see and buy just as effectively (and cheaper) online?
With fewer jobs available, even lower-paying retail jobs may become scarce. Retail jobs are second jobs that supplement income for a lot of people. Seasonal retail jobs pay for holiday shopping, since seasonal workers can take advantage of an employee discount and extra income for their own gift shopping. With shoppers staying home and scanning instead of braving the crowds, there will be fewer jobs and less extra money in the pocket.
Convenience is a good thing, and there is no way to stop the innovations of digital technology. It’s both a blessing and a curse. In this case a little code conveniently placed in an ad can have a profound effect on retail and the future earning opportunity for thousands of retail workers.
Photo Source: Freedigitalphotos.com. Smarnad