As Christmas approaches, so does the urgency of shopping. So what will shopping in the future look like – and will we even need shops? It is interesting to note than in an era of online shopping, we actually visit the shops more now than a generation ago. In a survey this year we found that the main connection point Australians have with their local community is not the community centre, park, school or club but the local shopping centre. A visit to the shops is not just about getting groceries- it is a social experience, an entertainment destination, a café stop-off and of course an opportunity to see, try, and experience what’s new.

The shopping experience of the future will start much earlier than the moment we enter a store. It will begin at the time we make decisions about items we buy. Increasingly, these decisions will be socially informed by recommendations made by family and friends as well as our digital communities with whom we share common interests and even available nearby shoppers.

Shopping will become a hybrid of online purchasing through mobile devices and personalised shopping apps, and real world shopping in-store. By 2026 our in-store shopping will be guided not only by our shopping list but also by applications which facilitate our shopping experience. They will be able to detect when and where we are in store and provide recommendations and discounts in real-time based on our lifestyle, our purchasing habits, household demographics and our electronically-enabled shopping trolley as we fill it.
At home, intelligent appliances in our smart homes will monitor our consumption of grocery items, automatically detecting items we are running low on and based on past behaviour and clever predictions this shopping list will be automatically set up for payment and home delivery or available at convenient collection hubs.

Payments will not only be cashless but card-less – a quick swipe of our phone or device will pay the bill and receive the receipt. And best of all, in an era of driver-less cars, car share drop-off points and streamlined public transport, getting a good parking spot may even be achievable!