International supermarket giant brings virtual goods to subway commuters in South Korea, eliminating the need for a physical store.
In a trial run, Tesco’s South Korean supermarket chain Home Plus plastered a subway station with facsimiles of groceries, labeled with a unique code for each product. As commuters pass by on their way to work, they can use a mobile-phone app to take pictures of the products they want, then check out. The groceries are automatically delivered to their doorstep by the end of the work day.
The virtual grocery store has been a hit among more 10,000 customers, with Home Plus reporting a 130 percent increase in online sales. In Home Plus’s virtual store, each image of a grocery item is accompanied by a quick-response (QR) code, a boxy geometric image that encodes data—the product and its price. When each code is scanned, the item goes into an online shopping cart. Customers then use their phones to pay before hopping the train to work.
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