Shopping Made Easier

Have you ever wished that you could shop through a virtual aisle at Target? Have you daydreamed about having a device that could follow your every glance and a handle that you could push forward for a video to simulate your progress down the aisle? Well you must wait no longer. Kimberly-Clark has developed this exact tool. Kimberly-Clark designed these virtual shopping aisles to “better understand consumer behavior and make the testing of new products faster, more convenient, and more precise.”

This tool has many uses. For example, it can be used in presentations to executives in bids to win shelf space. Don Quigley, Kimberly-Clark’s president of consumer sales and customer development, used a another great example: “What if you just spent a lot of money on a package’s shade of red but it doesn’t look good in their store?” he asked. “This is where you can spot that before you ship a single case of product.”

It also allows researchers and designers to receive quick results on new products without having to stage real-life tests in the early stages of development. It’s a great way to test ideas faster, cheaper, and better. It allows you to do the research somewhere other than an actual test market which avoids tipping off competitors early in the development process.

I think it’s a fantastic idea and will be a great way to get products on the shelves. However, my concern is that there will soon be no stores for consumers to visit. I foresee only large warehouses with employees that do the shopping for you once you put everything in your virtual cart. And consumers will then pick up their bags from a small pick-up area.

I’m afraid I won’t be able to flip a box over for nutritional ingredients, shake the Pringles to find the container with the fewest broken chips, or shuffle to the back of the shelf to find the freshest milk. What happened to the nice old ladies that reminded me of my grandmother that would offer wonderful smelling samples at the end of the aisles? It began with the adandonment of samples and I’m afraid it won’t end with anything short of the complete elimination of shopping all together.

It will more difficult to try new things from a virtual aisle. And what happens to the kids that are used to riding on the end of the cart and grabbing every package of junk food they can when Mom isn’t looking? Although this technology can bring a lot to the table to contribute to more efficient research, I’m afraid that this will bring us one step closer to a technology catastrophe.

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.                                          The Wall Street Journal

.                                   Make-up Blog from Wednesday

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