For the majority of UK shoppers, it seems it’s nearly time to hand over control of their lives to their fridge. With automated shopping, when Mr Cool in the corner of the kitchen gets low, he simply orders more stuff for you online.

This remarkable scenario could take place within two years for 57% of respondents to a recent survey. And 13% said they’d be happy to let their fridge make all the major decisions right now.

So what’s it all about? Well, we’re talking about Programmatic Commerce, the next stage in the digital revolution. It’s a system that orders items automatically for you, when you need them.

Get yourself a touchscreen fridge, hook it up to an app and you need never see another retail outlet as long as you live. Whatever next? Moving pavements? Edible burgers?

screen-shot-2015-03-31-at-9-23-22-am-620x311But you might have heard about the Amazon Dash button. This is the country’s first real example of Programmatic Commerce. It’s a wifi-connected device that reorders your favourite product with the press of a button, all set up and managed through the Amazon app on your smartphone.

Carling, too, is getting in on the act, with its Internet-connected ‘Beer Button’. Simply attach this to your fridge and, when you’re running low, just press it and more supplies will magically arrive. There’s no excuse to be sober ever again.

The new research, by Salmon, shows how smart technology can enhance our retail experiences. Consumers already use digital channels on average nine times a week.

Over half say that technology has ‘made the shopping process easier and more convenient’. Respondents cite the benefits of automated purchasing as time-saving (37%), convenience (25%) and money-saving by automatically selecting the cheapest products (37%).

Neil Stewart, CEO of Salmon, said, “The rise of digital has been the single greatest change in retail over the past decade. Consumers have wholeheartedly embraced online shopping services for the convenience, time-saving and enjoyment they can bring.

“While we expected consumers to already appreciate the benefits of digital, we have been pleasantly surprised by how ready they are for automated shopping. Our research paints a picture of a sophisticated and engaged consumer, ready to take advantage of the impact of smart technology in their digital shopping.”

I’ll drink to that. Now where’s that Beer Button?


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Author Chris Painter

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