It’s mid-week and it’s the daily commute home after work. After a long day in the office, you sit waiting for the train, organising yourself for the evening ahead, as you still need to pick up the kids from school, and you are still yet to write that report for tomorrow morning.
Oh and wait, what’s for dinner tonight?
Before your head explodes, Tesco has now made an attempt to take the burden off your mind, and help utilise your precious time in the day to carry out your own personal tasks, such as the grocery shop.
In South Korea, Tesco Homeplus (Tesco’s brand name in S.K.) have created virtual stores within its busy subway stations, allowing smartphone users to shop as they wait for their train to arrive.
At last, the modern smartphone user now has a valid purpose of using their QR code scanner, rather than scanning a random QR code found on a shop window, magazine or restaurant table to ‘see if it works’.
Know your audience.
With South Korea being known for having the second most over-worked people in the world, where better would this concept be trialed? With the likes of South Korea and Japan being technologically ahead by a decade compared to the west, it is no wonder that it would be possible for virtual shopping to be viable.
With the smartphone industry developing on a monthly basis and the ever lasting need to assist our busy lifestyles continues, this new era of virtual shopping is not only effective for the consumer; but for Homeplus themselves.
However, ‘effectiveness’ is key when using a concept just as this. The service does not stop when leaving the virtual store, Homeplus must ensure they carry out their promise of same day delivery; otherwise the virtual store is just another interpretation of the generic online store.
The western movement.
If this is to ever be implemented in the west, the cracks may begin to show. The day mobile connectivity becomes available in the London Underground will draw just as much media attention than that of the virtual store itself. Also, relatively few smartphones in the west support NFC based payment systems compared to South Korea and Japan. As well as this, whether underground stations may be willing to dig their way to expand space within the already crowded stations is another issue. Nobody in a rush to the Piccadilly Line wants bump into another commuter in the middle of purchasing a virtual scotch egg.
On instant view, this is a very innovative development in shopping - it clearly aims to satisfy the needs of their consumer, improving accessibility as well as enhancing its brand.
However, what makes it a success is its environment. Having the facility to display virtual stores within underground stations is a challenge, as well as the advanced technology required to execute it. And above ground, the fleet of delivery vans and drivers needed to ensure a promise of same day delivery must also adhere to the brand’s promise.
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