2017年5月12日 星期五

A Glimpse of Our Shopping Future未來購物方式 科技不離人性

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2017/05/12 第171期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
編輯小語 A Glimpse of Our Shopping Future未來購物方式 科技不離人性
紐時周報精選 Japan's Sand Museum,a Home to Ephemeral Treasures鳥取只有沙 拚觀光全靠它
A Glimpse of Our Shopping Future未來購物方式 科技不離人性
文/Elizabeth Paton

What will the store of the future look like? Will we be served by fleets of gleaming robots, using built-in facial recognition technology to adjust each sales pitch to a person's current mood or past spending preferences? Will there be voice-activated personal assistants, downloading the availability, color and fit of any and every garment to your smartphone? Three-D printing stations? No checkout counters when you leave? Could there even be floating, holographic product displays on the shop floor that change when a customer walks by?

Perhaps shoppers will make all their purchases from their own home, using virtual fitting rooms via virtual reality headsets. Drones will then drop deliveries in the backyard or on the front steps.



As fanciful as these innovations may sound, none are hypothetical. All exist, are being tested and could be rolled out in as little as a decade. But is this the sort of shopping experience that customers really want?

Scores of leading retailers and fashion brands increasingly say no. And in an ever-more-volatile and unpredictable shopping environment, where long-term survival is dictated by anticipating and catering to consumers' desires (often before they themselves even know what they want), the race to find out how and where people will do their spending has started to heat up.



Last month, for example, Farfetch — the global online marketplace for independent luxury boutiques — held a daylong event at the Design Museum in London. There, in front of 200 fashion industry insiders and partners, Jose Neves, the founder of Farfetch, unveiled "The Store of the Future," a suite of new technologies developed by his company to help brands and boutiques bridge the worlds of online and offline.

Nevertheless, in a telephone call the week before the event, Neves said: "I am a huge believer in physical stores. They are not going to vanish and will stay at the center of the seismic retail revolution that is only just getting started."



A corresponding report newly released by Bain & Co. suggests that he might be right; although 70 percent of high-end purchases are influenced by online interactions, the consultancy maintains that stores will continue to play a critical role, with 75 percent of sales still occurring in a physical location by 2025.

What may change, however, is a store's primary purpose. Forget e-commerce, or bricks and mortar, or even omnichannel sales; according to Neves, the new retail era is one anchored in "augmented retail," a blend of the digital and physical allowing a shopper to shift seamlessly between the two realms.





brick 是「磚」,mortar 是「(砌磚的)砂漿」,bricks and mortar表示建築物,通常是房屋,注意brick是可數名詞須加s代表複數。brick-and-mortar是形容詞,表示「實體的(商店)」,如the brick-and-mortar bookstore(實體書店)。

全通路(omnichannel)銷售是指消費者無論透過線上(online)的品牌網站、品牌 Apps、臉書、YouTube、Instagram等社群媒體(social media),Snapchat、臉書Messenger、簡訊等通訊平台,或線下(offline)的街邊店、百貨專櫃、活動現場,都能得到一致的品牌體驗。這個通路體系在消費者購物後,能根據他的個性、興趣和購買習慣,提供當下最適合消費者的資訊和服務。例如,全通路的購物車(shopping cart)就是全通路銷售的基本功能。消費者很可能用零碎時間,從手機、桌上型電腦或平板登入這些通路,如果沒有統一的購物車,那麼每次都得從零開始,完成消費意願與機率就會大減。

Japan's Sand Museum,a Home to Ephemeral Treasures鳥取只有沙 拚觀光全靠它
文/Motoko Rich

Tottori, a remote outpost on the west coast of Japan, is frequently defined by what it lacks.

It has the lowest population of any prefecture in the country. No bullet train stops here. It ranks 39th out of the nation's 47 prefectures in attracting tourists.

But what Tottori does have, in abundance, is sand: Undulating golden dunes stretch for about 10 miles along the coast here, so majestic they have been turned into a national park.




For the past decade, sand sculpture artists have gathered here every year for two weeks at the world's only indoor sand museum to mount an exhibit of improbably intricate tableaus, all crafted from about 3,000 tons of sand.

This year, 19 artists from countries including Canada, China, Italy, the Netherlands and Russia traveled to Tottori to sculpt scenes on the theme of the United States. Previous themes have included Africa, Russia and South America.



Working nine hours a day, the artists — five of whom are from the United States — built, among other things, Mount Rushmore, the New York skyline (yes, Trump Tower makes an appearance), oversize busts of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, scenes from the gold rush and the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

With Japan's population declining, Tottori officials are mounting a campaign to attract more foreign tourists to the region, and the sand museum and dunes are central to the effort.



Japan in general is seeking to lure more tourists. Last year, 24 million foreign visitors traveled to Japan, a record high. The national tourism bureau wants to increase that number to 40 million by 2020, the year Tokyo will host the Summer Olympics.

Foreign visitors typically stick to what tourism officials describe as the "golden route" of well-known destinations in Tokyo, Mount Fuji, Kyoto and Osaka.



In an attempt to expand that range, particularly among tourists who may be returning for a second or third visit to the country, the government's Japan Tourism Agency has allocated 1.64 billion yen (close to $15 million) to help develop and market suggested routes through 11 regions, including around Tottori.

Fewer than 500,000 people visit the Tottori sand museum every year. The number has declined slightly in recent years, and it does not come close to the 2 million people who visit the much better known snow festival in Sapporo, Hokkaido, every year.

Local tourism officials acknowledged that Tottori's distant location remained a challenge but said they had suggested that visitors be allowed to watch the artists at work, or even help knock down the structures at the end of each exhibition.





香港後花園 探訪西貢秘境
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