Tesco’s trial of virtual shopping in a South Korean subway station is set to be expanded next month and could pave the way for similar hi-tech ‘stores’ in the UK.
Last month, Tesco’s Korean arm Home Plus transformed Seoul’s Hangangjin Station into a ‘virtual supermarket’ by pasting posters of stocked shelves onto platform walls and inviting commuters to ‘shop’ by scanning QR codes with their smartphones. The contents of the shoppers’ ’virtual baskets’ were later delivered to their homes.
The trial was so successful that it is being extended to other Seoul subways next month with a view to rolling the format out across South Korea within two years. “The concept made sense,” said Irene Lam, a spokeswoman for Cheil Worldwide, the global marketing agency that helped develop the store. The trial boosted the retailer’s online sales 130% and online members 76%, claimed Cheil.
The concept’s next stop could well be the UK, according to experts. “The time is right for this,” said Simon Goodall, director of strategy at Saatchi & Saatchi X. “This is about bringing the store to the people.”