Online Shopping Tools Will Change the Way You Shop

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by Samantha Rivers 

online shopping


It hardly bears mentioning that how we shop has changed over the last 25 years. With the advent and proliferation of the Internet, online shopping has exploded in popularity – to the point where large and small retail stores alike have struggled to keep up.

And there seems to be no signs of online shopping slowing down anytime soon. Quite the opposite in fact; new technologies continue to be rolled out that will reshape and redefine your online shopping experience.  And to tell you the truth, these technologies are quite fascinating.

Check out the way these 5 technologies are changing the way you’ll shop…


Online Shopping Is Changing


1. Virtual Reality



If there is one takeaway to be found from the competitive marketplace that is Virtual Reality (VR) – current offerings include the Oculus, Samsung Gear VR, and HTC Vive – it is that VR is here to stay.

With the amount of money now invested in the technology, companies will continue to push VR as the future of entertainment, gaming, and commerce no matter what! In fact, IKEA and Alibaba (the world’s largest retailer) have already toyed with the concept, and there are signs that Amazon could be making inroads into this area as well. 

Suffice to say, there’s every possibility that you could be using virtual reality in the very near future to complete your online shopping.


2. Augmented Reality

Photo courtesy of IKEA

Anyone who played the widely popular mobile game Pokémon Go knows exactly what augmented reality is. In the game, players use their phone’s built-in camera to hunt down Pokémon (small creatures of various shapes and sizes) in the real world – through the space right in front of the player would, in fact, be empty, on their device, it would appear that a Pokémon was standing five feet away. That is augmented reality in a nutshell.

But how will this technology influence your online shopping experience? Well, the most logical application is enabling you to “experience” a product without actually having to stock it in-store (or visit the store in the first place).

Several retailers are already incorporating this technology into their shopping experience – among them, IKEA (who wasn’t content to dabble in virtual reality alone), Converse, and Uniqlo – and its popularity is likely to grow.


3. Gamification


Gamification is the concept that through the use of gaming mechanics, you can promote and encourage people to take action or work towards a specific goal. In other words, making a task fun, engaging, and perhaps even a bit addicting, and people will do it more often.

This may sound a bit manipulative, and it is – but then, all marketing efforts are. Take two steps back, however, and you might just see how gamification could improve your own online shopping experience.

In practice, gamification works best for products that you purchase often, as the gaming mechanics allow you to achieve goals, collect points (and other forms of “currency”), and ultimately, earn rewards. For example, Victoria’s Secret employs gamification in its popular PINK Nation app, allowing app users to unlock and earn badges simply by interacting with the application.

Nike, likewise, encourages its customers to take action with its Nike+ mobile app, which fosters a sense of competition in users by allowing them to compete against others and earn points.


4. Heat Mapping & Behavior Tracking


Search giants like Google and software companies like Certona use behavior tracking to influence and change your online experience. With its Chrome web browser, Google can track your movements and adjust the adverting messaging that you see based on past behavior.

If for example, you visit a retail site but don’t purchase anything, you may see a “retargeting” banner ad from this retailer at some point in the future, imploring you to revisit. Likewise, Certona sells software that enables online retailers to track your movements through their digital “storefronts.” This information is then used to tailor the user experience around your needs on your next visit.

What does this mean for you? Well, it’s likely that you’ve already experienced the effects of this technology first hand. If you are a Google Chrome user, then you know all too well how your online shopping behavior is being tracked!

With heat mapping and behavior tracking, retailers, organizations, and other companies can tailor your experience based on your own needs and wishes – no two experiences need be the same anymore.


5. Mobile Check-Out


Online shopping from our smartphones continues to get easier and easier. Which probably explains why it’s starting to catch on like wildfire. It makes sense, after all. We’re on our phones and tablets nearly all day, every day.

With 5G wireless technology right around the corner, our mobile usage is only going to increase, as data speeds improve and availability widens. So why should we limit our online shopping to our desktop devices?

Mobile checkouts that are designed properly – that is, with a mobile experience in mind – prevent you from having to put down the phone and fire up the laptop to complete your purchase. Expect to see mobile checkouts with greater and greater frequency in the very near future; soon, you may complete all of your online shopping without ever firing up the computer!



Whether you’ve realized it or not, technology has had an effect on the buying experience. Not too long ago, cash was a mainstay of any transaction. Now in countries like Sweden, cash accounts for a mere 15 percent of all purchases, with digital transactions and credit cards accounting for the rest.

New technologies, including social media gamification, mobile technologies, augmented and virtual reality will no doubt continue to transform online shopping and the way that you shop.


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