Curious Trends


Virtual shops using QR codes and smartphone technology

Ebay are set to open their first pop-up store in the UK, where purchasers can use smart phones to select QR coded items and pay online via Ebay’s website. This sounds a little like the tried and tested Argos model, except you don’t get to take the goods home with you – they’re delivered a few days later. It sounds horribly convoluted, but is probably a prelude to something far more sophisticated...

Earlier this year, Tesco Homeplus in South Korea opened the world’s first virtual store in the Seoul subway, to help time-pressed commuters shop on the go, using their smartphones.

“The walls of the Seonreung subway station in downtown Seoul came to life today with virtual displays of over 500 of the most popular products with barcodes which customers can scan using the Homeplus app on their smartphones and get delivered right to their doorstep,” said a press release.

The idea is that busy commuters can scan their groceries on their way to work in the morning and, as long as their order is placed before 1.0 pm, their items will be delivered home the same evening, adding greater speed and convenience to the shopping experience.

The displays, which include a range of popular food and household items from milk and apples to pet food and stationery, are placed on pillars and glass walls at the subway station. Commuters can scan the QR code beneath the desired item via the Homeplus app on their smartphone - and the item will be delivered to customers’ homes at a time of their choice (within minutes, or hours rather than days). If the train arrives before shopping is completed, purchasing can be resumed without the pictures and smartcodes.

South Korea’s population is less than 50 million, but more than 10 million have smartphones. The app was developed by Cheil Worldwide. Following the launch, Tesco’s online sales increased by 130% in three months.

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