RFID Arena


Confessions of a shopper's husband - by Henri Dalén

Almost everyone recognizes the phrase 'shop til you drop', which in practice means endless, exhausting shopping - at least from a husband's point of view. The husband is the one who usually 'drops' when shopping with his wife.

Author: Henri Dalén, Student of Business Logistics (TUAS)


The most challenging part for a husband accompanying his wife shopping is that she tends to find loads of items to try on and every second item turns out to be the wrong size. As a result she sends her husband back to the shelf to fetch the right sizes (most likely in a HUGE department store where it is impossible to find any salespersons). Finally, when she finds the perfect item, she doesn't have anything to wear it with. This means that the new shirt requires new trousers, a skirt, shoes, or even a Gucci handbag.

Exhausted -man -shopping

When men are shopping, sports equipment seems to be the most popular money-sucking category, and this isn't a problem free field either. For instance, there are differences in sizes and models of sports shoes, both country-wise and manufacturer-wise, which makes shopping challenging. This might be one of the reasons why many sports shoes are ordered online. Some customers find it easier to order the items to their homes and then return them if they don't fit, rather than going to a specialized store and trying on hundreds of pairs. If the sport in question is rare the only option might be to order related items online. Lacrosse is one example of a rare sport in Finland. The equipment needed is expensive so it is common for a team to place joint orders abroad to share the delivery costs. Still, after solving the delivery cost problem, there is no guarantee that the ordered items are the right size and that they arrive on time.

Sounds familiar? There is a solution available for this: New technologies, such as RFID. 


I conducted a survey among 16 of my fellow students about wireless technology and future shopping. Our major is Business Logistics so they understand the role of effective systems in retail business and therefore they are very open to new technologies and keen on discussing them. They provided me with some good ideas of what shopping could look like in 2020 and they told me how they benefit from technology in today's shopping. Here are a few of their ideas:

Buying fashion and electronics online was the most common way of using technology in shopping among my 16 respondents. More than 60 % had bought clothes online. Other common ways of using technology were browsing fashion and technology online, as well as trying on clothes at a store and then buying them online. No one had used 2D codes with their mobile phones to gain additional information about products, although the students knew they exist. A minority, less than 30 %, had used discounts or coupons offered by social media.

We also discussed so-called kiosk applications, which in practice means that a tablet located in the fitting room tells you what clothes you are taking in and lets you call for sales personnel when you need help. The system gives you pointers on matching clothes and allows you to give feedback all the way back to the fashion designer.

When the students are trying on clothes and they have the wrong size, almost 90 % of them go looking for a more suitable size themselves. The remaining 10% send a friend or asks a salesperson to do it. They might even leave the store empty-handed. Only half of the respondents would be willing to try the kiosk application if it was available, and they might also try on the items that the application suggests for them. Moreover, half of the respondents believed in using NFC technology in shopping in the future, whereas the other half didn't.




In 2020 shopping was seen a bit different than today but still very similar. For instance when talking about grocery shopping, some of the respondents still saw themselves going to a grocery store and buying their own food. Some suggested that the food would be ordered online and delivered to their front door. This method was also seen applicable in other retail industries than the food industry. Still, the majority of the respondents perceived the possibility of seeing and feeling the product 'live' just as important in 2020 as it is today. Customer service was also seen as valuable both today and in the future, although some of the respondents suggested that "live customer service" would vanish along time and be replaced with computers and helpdesks. Regarding discounts and other customer advantages in 2020 the vast majority believed that key customers would still receive different benefits and offers than regular customers, as it happens already today. Approximately 50 % also believed that every customer would receive different, tailored advantages according to their own spending history.

The best idea of the whole survey came from a female respondent: body scanners. This already exists, but she suggested that everyone could go to a shop and get their body scanned and measured. After this the customer can enter the store and log in with the shop's customer tablet that recognizes the customer's profile - and body. The system would then suggest suitable items and the right size. The profile information could be placed on a key customer card or even a credit card, which would make the information available and applicable internationally. Moreover, buying sports shoes could be easier too, if the Internet-based store in the US knew your exact size when ordering overseas.

To sum it up, my survey suggests that the future hopes of logistics professionals (me and my fellow students) have high expectations of new technologies and systems, which stretches from warehouses to the actual retail shops. 'Live'-shopping is still seen as important, but online-shopping has gained a massive foothold too. Finally, someone has been listening to the quiet wishes of the tired-of-shopping husbands too: new technologies such as RFID can make shopping much easier and faster, and the shops can see a chance in making more profits than ever when the customer can buy items more effectively. Even the ones that don't like shopping can survive in a department store where the tablet suggests the items for them and even informs them where to find them. From a husband's point of view, this means the end of the 'shop til you drop' phenomenon as they don't have to keep running around the store like crazy trying to find the right size of a tank top. Technology informs the wife of the optimal size for her. Despite all the possibilities provided by technology, one thing it will never sort out is the never-ending question: "How do I look, honey?"


6 comments on “Confessions of a shopper's husband - by Henri Dalén”

  1. Gravatar of Sini SyrjäläSini Syrjälä
    Posted 28 June 2012 at 10:01:13

    Thank you Henri! Finally we have a man's perspective!

  2. Gravatar of Allen yipAllen yip
    Posted 05 July 2012 at 04:59:55

    Henri, agree with in this. Hope to get in touch with you.Drop me an email. nayip393@gmail.com

  3. Gravatar of Sini SyrjäläSini Syrjälä
    Posted 21 August 2012 at 10:20:15

    Hello Allen!
    Since Henri is our guest blogger, you can send him e-mail to marketing@nordicid.com , we will forward him your message!

  4. Gravatar of eduberdieeduberdie
    Posted 03 May 2018 at 06:50:31

    This is so relate-able! I used to shop with my Mom a lot of times before and I just end up being so exhausted after we finished shopping but now, through the use of technology and some useful applications, shopping is as easy as one click away. There are different ways for you to buy stuff online, some even delivers the item directly to your house which is so convenient. It's amazing how technology has brought us this far, in a few years this phrase might be complete history though!

  5. Posted 22 June 2018 at 18:32:09

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  6. Posted 01 July 2018 at 11:45:51

    thank you

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