Tesco Takes Virtual Store to Subway Riders in South Korea
Tesco was looking for answers in South Korea. According to a video from the company (be sure to watch it), its Home Plus chain was second largest in the market and investigating ways to gain share without adding physical stores. Management reasoned that hard working South Koreans needed something that would make their lives easier. The answer that Home Plus came up with was to take the store, a virtual one at that, to consumers inside a subway station.
The virtual location is laid out exactly the way a typical Home Plus store would be. The company has created photo layouts of products it sells with a unique code for each product. Consumers scan the QR codes for the items they wish to purchase and then check out. Orders are automatically delivered to the consumer by the end of the day.
According to the chain’s video, the virtual store has brought it thousands of new customers and its online sales in South Korea have increased by 130 percent.
Home Plus’ virtual store is just one of many innovations likely to come to retailing with the development of mobile technologies.
Source: Home Plus
“For sure, your cell phone will be the graphical user interface to the shopping services,” Abel Sanchez, research lead at MIT’s Intelligent Engineering Systems Laboratory, told MIT Technology Review. “Think of the early days of the web versus today. In the early 1990s, the web was one way, like a paper book. Today, the web is full of interaction; it’s how we do our jobs. I think the supermarket will go through a similar transformation.”
- Tesco: Home Plus Subway Virtual Store (Movie) – Home Plus/YouTube
- Home Plus Story (photos and video) – Home Plus
- Virtual Grocery Shopping – MIT Technology Review
Discussion Questions: What do you think of the Home Plus virtual store? Does it have applications in the U.S. market?