Google in Retail ?

My wife sent me out on an errand to get her some "anti-dandruff" shampoo and I happily trotted out of our small, humble apartment. I went to Walgreens that is almost nextdoor and went to their shampoo section and I started looking ... looking, I am still looking ... and then found her a shampoo! and then I looked, looked .... .. to see if I could find something better i.e a better "anti-dandruff" shampoo! The whole process probably took me 10-15 minutes which is a lot considering the fact that I live in an internet age where product listings are made on the click of a button! I wondered for a second if I was spending my time wisely? How would it be if I could do execute my manual searches the way I did them on the internet..
For my current scenario, I would have searched for dandruff shampoos on the internet on any site like Amazon.com and I would get back a set of results.
This is possible because products are associated with attributes before being stored as inventory on the internet, but that is not the case in the real world...This made me think...
Can we make our real world as convenient as the e-world? I think we can! RFIDs can be used to do this...Product manufacturers when they make a product can associate it with attributes and product displayers at the retail outlets should be able to read and understand them. Attributes can be classified as one major, 4 or any other wise number of minor attributes. Retail shops can have search assistants alongside products and customers can use the search assistants to enter what they want. If the search criteria matches with the "major" attribute of the product, it glows in red and if it matches with a minor attribute, it can glow in green. If the search criteria doesn't match anything, then of course status quo! no glowing or anything...

This whole situation would be a win-win, if done efficiently. Customers would ofcourse benefit from superior service and would have a lot of extra time in their lives to invest on something better (hopefully they aren't couch potatoes!!). Manufacturers can differentiate their offerings better and gain over competition..They can introduce a product and play with the product attributes and see how they can position their products better. Having a fixed number of attributes is important because product manufacturers would end up advertising their offerings for everybody...(Everything for everybody would make life even more confusing..)

Search providers like Google can get into this space and provide personal search assistants and kind of extend their Adwords program to the retail world..i.e take a commission from product manufacturers for selling a product through the device! I am sure the retail world is a much larger place than the e-world. People like seeing things they buy with their own eyes atleast when it comes to FMCG products and Durables! Google can make a killing if it can capture that market "efficiently". Ofcourse, a lot has to be done on the Product manufacturers side...but well companies are planning on moving from bar codes to RFIDs anyway...so why not make this a part of the deal ?

Hope this idea catches steam some time, and some day, some time, we will have this world somewhat better...But, what will people do with that extra time they save??..Now, that is a question to ask :)..Maybe, think about making life more efficient and sensible? Life surely changes..Thoughts of today might be norms tomorrow! and can anybody do this better than Google ??


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