Viral Marketing

Virtual Supermarket — Wait No More

Up until now QR code technology has seemed more gimmicky than practical. Holding your smart phone up against a QR matrix on a magazine page or a storefront window to reveal the secondary message feels like a bothersome extra step that quickly grows tiresome.

But here’s a QR use that promises real convenience and time-savings. Tesco Homeplus in South Korea opened virtual supermarkets in subway stations, permitting commuters to use their smart phones to make grocery purchases. Designed by Cheil ad agency in Seoul, wall-size displays along the passenger waiting platform simulate the experience of shopping in a real supermarket, showing images and prices of a broad range of frequently needed products. Shoppers merely have to scan the QR code of any product they want to purchase to add it to their online shopping cart. The transaction is all completed online and the purchased items are delivered straight to shoppers’ homes.

Virtual supermarkets offer advantages both for consumers and retailers. It gives commuters something to do while waiting for their train. Even if they don’t buy, they can browse. City dwellers don’t have to hassle with lugging heavy bags of grocery from the store to their homes. Retailers don’t have to worry about continually replenishing shelves with items, shoplifters, or manning checkout lines. Consider the possibilities, and how and where else QR shopping experiences can be delivered.