Hollywood has promised us all manner of futures yet to be realized—from flying cars to commercial interstellar travel.

Maybe it’s a by-product of my chosen career, but I’ve always been particularly intrigued with what the future holds for consumer experiences. In the post-scarcity, retail-space-at-a-premium economy that we seem to be hurtling towards, it is increasingly unlikely that buying decisions will be made in the midst of cavernous row-upon-row depots jam-packed with products on top of each other. No one debates this; rather, they debate what will come next.

 

So that’s why my ears perked up when I heard news that none other than Walmart—the undisputed leader in cavernous row-upon-row consumer experiences—had filed to patent technology concepts that would allow shoppers to browse its wide array of products in virtual space, from their home or office.

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