Online Shopping From Aisle Four
from the who-needs-it? dept
I keep hearing people talk about various in store shopping solutions that are supposed to take the best of web-based shopping and bring it into a brick-and-mortar environment. For example, there’s this new tablet PC you hook to your shopping cart in the grocery store, and swipe your “frequent buyer” (or whatever they’re called) cards through. The machine will then display the items you buy regularly, including a map. Of course, if you shop like I do, you already know exactly where your frequently bought items are, and it would probably take more time to get the tablet set up than to just go pick up my usual items. The article also points out just how expensive these devices are – but leaves out one very important factor: maintenance. People bang around shopping carts without much sympathy, and they don’t really care how expensive such computers are. I remember, years ago, when they experimented with putting calculators on shopping carts. I don’t think I ever saw a working one. They were all broken, and all smashed up. I imagine the exact same thing will happen with these tablets… making it much more difficult for the stores to get any sort of return. Down the road, when people are more likely to be carrying wireless devices with location-based info included, it might make sense to offer an application that people can use themselves. However, the store-owned solution seems destined to be a pretty expensive failure.