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Robo Shops: When the Store Comes to You

Imagine you're in a crowd pouring out of a late night concert. Tired and hungry, you remember the cupboards at home are bare. Do not despair, says BBC Business. In the brave new world of retail this won't necessitate a trek out to the nearest late night supermarket. Instead the shop can come to you.

With the touch of an app button, you hail a low-slung electric vehicle, like a glass-sided motorhome, which quietly glides into a parking space near you. You enter the shop by swiping your mobile phone at the door, pick up your wares and swipe out again.

The Moby Mart is one vision of the future that has had its first test-run on the streets of Shanghai. They predict a future in which everyone, from big retailers to small communities, will employ their own mobile, automatic grocery. Shoppers used to chat about the weather, catch up on gossip, and generally take their time, while their every purchase passed through the shop assistant's hands before being wrapped and packed into a shopping bag, ready for the bus journey home.

But the rise of online shopping has turned retail upside down. People are increasingly at home with digital shopping and value its convenience, speed, low prices and responsiveness to their preferences. It's not just Moby Mart's creators who think the future may lie in making shopping an experience which is completely free of human contact.

Possible Preaching Angles: Body of Believers; Church; Community; Fellowship - This is an age that is increasingly lived in the virtual world of online at-home convenience. Christians, however, are commanded "Let us not give up on meeting together" (Hebrews 10:25) because this is the only way that mutual support, accountability, and body life can truly happen.

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