Last year, Tesco Homeplus, a retail chain in Korea, started changing online shopping by putting up large billboards with pictures of their products, with a QR code associated with each product. You use your smartphone to scan the QR codes to fill up your cart. When you’re finished shopping, you checkout online and your groceries are delivered to your home.
Now, they have an entire store that is virtual. This is actually part of a subway station in Seoul, Korea. Homeplus has postered the pillars, walls, and doors of the subway station with images of their products. You can do your shopping while waiting for your train and have your ordered delivered to you after work. Using the Homeplus Android or iPhone app, you can save QR codes you have scanned already, and refill your order from anywhere. The app works really well. You can search for products right in the app, but if you happen to be browsing their virtual store, you tap the bar code button at the top right and hold your smartphones camera up to the product’s QR code. The app auto-scans, and immediately takes you to the product in the app.
I think this is a terrific idea. We do a lot of our shopping online, in this day and age, and I like the idea of a kind of crossover between online shopping and actual shopping.. You still get a sense of the shape and size of what you’re purchasing, but you don’t have to push the cart around the store or carrying everything home yourself. Could you see something like this taking off in North America?