The pandemic has accelerated the shift to virtual reality shopping, drone deliveries and human-free stores, according to one top banker, reports marketwatch.com.
Paul Cuatrecasas, founder and chief executive of investment bank Aquaa Partners, told MarketWatch in a recent briefing, “This pandemic has just turbocharged really everything ahead by five years and food and grocery is one of those areas.”
The coronavirus outbreak has seen demand for online grocery shopping surge as customers stay at home due to lockdown and social distancing. A recent report by grocery fulfillment service, Fabric, forecasts online sales could make up one-tenth of all grocery sales by the end of 2020, four years sooner than previously expected.
Walmart has filed patents for virtual reality shopping technology, says Cuatrecasas, which will let shoppers browse supermarket shelves and filling up baskets from the comfort of their own living rooms.
“I think convenience stores and shops will always be around in the same way that the fax machine is still around, just as people use horses and carts in some parts of the world.” And when 5G and virtual reality technologies are more advanced, with the ability to project holograms and simulate touch, “Why would we ever want to go to a store again?”
In five to ten years, Cuatrecasas predicts, people will browse supermarket shelves from home wearing widely available VR headsets. “We’ll have programmed into that experience, a friend stopping by or, someone that we find attractive, saying, ‘Hi, how are you?’”
Our orders will be then picked up and transported by a mix of delivery drones, robots and self-driving vehicles. Cuatrecasas continues, “The technology is already here, but it needs to be further developed to bring down the cost. I predict shopping with holograms is only four or five years away.”
He comments,“Meanwhile, Parcel delivery drones will be approved more quickly than they otherwise would have been without this pandemic, especially if we experience a second wave in the fall.”
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