By  on June 11, 2008

U.S. shoppers are partial to smart shopping carts, whereas the Chinese prefer biometric fingerprint payment. Chinese shoppers would love a holographic sales assistant, but the Japanese and British nix this notion, a survey about futuristic store technologies has found.

The survey, conducted by TNS Retail Forward, asked 4,600 shoppers online in eight countries to rank 12 innovations in terms of appeal, likelihood to use, newness and belief that it will be in place by 2015. The survey also asked shoppers to vote on which technology they would dub "first place."

The technologies were: interactive dressing room mirror; interactive dressing room help; smart carts; biometric fingerprint payment; Web sites where shoppers can share information about shopping and trends; group buying sites; 3-D body scanning; receiving advertisements and coupons via text message; holographic sales assistants; participating in collaborative product development; shopping by mobile device, and self-activated shopping agents such as refrigerators.

The survey gives insight into what the future of retail might look like, said TNS. Many of the technologies included are already in use.

Overall, biometric fingerprint payment scored the highest, with 26 percent of global shoppers saying they were likely to use it and 25 percent assigning it "first place." Receiving advertisements and coupons via text messaging scored the lowest, with only 8 percent of shoppers worldwide saying they were likely to use it.

Interactive dressing room help came in second, with 23 percent of shoppers saying they were likely to use it, followed in order by smart carts, 3-D body scanning, collaborative product development Web sites, group buying, self-activated shopping agents, interactive dressing room mirror, shopping by mobile device, holographic sales assistant and Web sites where shoppers can share information about hot trends. Only 8 percent of shoppers said they were likely to use these.

Yet there are already many such Web sites in existence, from bookmarking sites such as StyleHive to social networking ones focused on fashion such as StyleMob and blogs where users can post their opinions. Already such sites are thought to account for a considerable portion of online sales, estimated at about 9 percent, according to E-tailing Group Inc. of Chicago (see related story, this page).Germans ranked 3-D body scanners "first place." The scanners could be used to recommend sizes or create custom-fit clothing. One of the most advanced companies in this regard, Selve, happens to be German. The company uses a 3-D scanner to measure women for custom-fit shoes in Munich, Germany, and London.

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