For RN’s 125th anniversary commemorative issue last July, I spoke to several world-renowned futurologists about the global trends shaping the UK convenience market in the years to come. Nine months later, three of our predictions became reality in the space of a week.
First, Amazon unveiled its Dash button. The branded wireless buttons can be placed around the home to press when you run low of certain household items, which will get delivered to your door.
Meanwhile, the firm has advertised a developer programme that allows companies to build re-ordering buttons into appliances, bringing to life the “self-filling fridges” predicted in our 125th anniversary issue. It won’t be long before gadgets around the home – from printers to coffee machines – are connected to wi-fi and automatically re-order when they run low.
Another key 125 trend, wearable mobile devices, materialised last week when Apple put its Watch up for pre-sale orders.
Whether neat gimmicks for early technology adopters or future parts of our daily shopping routines, these examples show sitting at computers is increasingly becoming a thing of the past.
It’s worth bearing in mind that Amazon has had as many technology failures as successes, and separate devices don’t make a great deal of sense when we all already have smartphones.
Its business model is encouraging shoppers to skip the last-minute trip to the shops, but do we even want this? One thing the 125 futurologists agreed on is that the future is extremely bright for independent retailers. Even if Amazon can deliver your groceries within five hours, you can get that one thing, or 10 things, you need from your local shop in five minutes.