Innovations in the retail customer experience

By Chelsea Larsson

Published December 9, 2015
Last modified December 9, 2015

Effortless shopping has been the goal of retailers for centuries. Things we use everyday—the receipt (3000 BC), shopping carts (1937), and subscription boxes (2010)—are only a fraction of the ways retailers make it easier for customers to spend money.

Learn more about retail inventions you already depend on and discover what's in store for the future of shopping in this interactive infographic from Relate. Key inventions for each time period include:

Past (1800s - mid 1900s)

  • Escalator (1895)
  • Women's restrooms and lounges (1900s)
  • Self-service (1916)
  • Shopping carts (1937)
  • Present (1900 - 2015)

In the late 1800s, shopkeepers realized that the longer shoppers lingered in stores, the more they were likely to spend. Hence the invention of products that improve the in-store experience and keep people engaged while shopping.

Present (1900 - 2015)

  • Shopping apps (2000s)
  • Digital wallet (2000s)
  • Subscription boxes (2010)
  • Messaging apps for retail (2014)
  • Future (2015 and beyond)

Abandoned malls, closing book stores, groceries delivered straight to your door. The meteoric rise of e-commerce has shifted many of our retail experiences to the digital world. Also, with the surplus of big data available brands can easily ‘remember’ individual customers who visit their website, making internet shopping convenient, personalized, and irresistible.

Future (2015 and beyond)

  • Digital smart stores (2015+)
  • Virtual shopping holograms (2015+)
  • Drone delivery (2015+)
  • Magnetic mapping (2015+)
  • Innovate your customer's retail experiences

Welcome to the age of the 24-hour consumer. Technology is making it easier to spend every second of free time shopping. With smart vending machines, holographic kiosks, and drone delivery becoming the norm, retail experiences can pop up anyplace.

See the full infographic on Relate