There is something about casting one’s mind past the visible horizons, and imagining what the next chapter of a particular industry will look like once the future gets a hold of it. So it is with Virgin Media Business’ 30:30 Vision, a forward-looking convention of British business leaders that gathered in early July to predict the future of food, health, social enterprise, fashion, media, entertainment and retail.
Overseen by company head Sir Richard Branson, the event gathered six of Britain’s most prominent entrepreneurs, along with representatives from 30 other firms, to brainstorm about what tomorrow’s challenges, opportunities and trends will look like.
The science of shopping emerged as a prevailing preoccupation at this congress, put on by Virgin’s B2B arm, as participants pondered what a digitally kissed retailscape might look like.
Some of the highlights of this speculation included:
• a “social-shopping” concept, in which fashion retailers’ change-room mirrors are actually virtual windows that allows those folks considering a purchase in front of one to seek out the sartorial opinions of remote friends.
• “voice assistant” technology firm Capito’s System’s proposed digital shopping assistant that will let people shop by simply declaring their order into a phone. The customer needs only to speak her order down a telephone line, and then stand by to receive it at her door.
• digital walk-in stores that will allow shoppers to virtually “walk” through a store, browsing its wares, zooming in on items of interest and remotely communicating with store staffers. This format throws wide the possibility for smaller stores that want to do big business on line.