Tricks of the trade: meet the tech that's making shopping fun

Online shopping has taken the world by storm, but shops aren’t giving up: they’re using the latest tech to jazz up stores and lure you back to the high street. Join the O2 Gurus as we investigate the tricks of the trade. 

Down with queues!

If there’s one thing we hate about shopping, it’s standing in line. So we’re pleased to report that technology has come up with a way to let you skip the queue – well, as long as you’re in a few selected shops in the United States, that is. Using a new start-up called QThru, you simply scan the barcode of each product you want to buy on your phone, then head to a QThru kiosk to pay – easy! 

Meanwhile, Apple’s iBeacon wizardry may well be the future of high street shopping. It uses signals sent out by your phone to work out what you’re looking at in a shop, then sends you relevant special offers and rewards, which could nab you an instant bargain.

ibeacon alternativeSocial media stats boast mighty prestige on the internet, so it makes sense for shops to make use of them too. Take C&A in Brazil, which has been displaying Facebook likes for individual products on digital hangers so shoppers can gauge online approval before they buy.

Trying it on

Nifty new tech is bringing a whole new meaning to the idea of window shopping. Interactive shop windows can now be used to test products out – customers at Selfridges, for example, were recently able to try on very expensive watches using the shop’s virtual reality window displays without even going into the store.


You do have to go inside at Hointer’s designer jeans stores, though. Each product is lined up along the wall and when you see a style you fancy, just scan it with your phone. The app will then ask for your size as you head to the changing room where a robot operated system will deliver the jeans to try on.

Even with robots involved, trying on clothes can be a real drag. That’s why high street retailers are introducing magic-mirror-style virtual changing rooms which let you see how you’d look in a garment without having to physically change. It’s a trend that’s even finding its way on to the internet too, finally making it possible to try before you buy when shopping online.

  • After all that shopping, you might want a bite to eat: perfect time to check out these high tech restaurants!

Do you prefer shopping online or are you a fan of the high street? Let us know in the comments below or on our Twitter @O2.

You can also find us on O2 Guru TV or visit an O2 Guru in store.