In August 2011, Tesco Homeplus in South Korea announced the opening of the worlds first Tesco virtual store in the Seoul subway to help busy South Koreans shop on the go using their smartphones.
This amazing concept led to a further expansion. Tesco has now 22 award-winning virtual stores in South Korean subways and bus stations, allowing time-pressed commuters to use their smartphones and shop their groceries on-the-go. The displays include a wide range of daily items. Beneath each product there is a QR code to be scanned. To do your shopping, you need to download the Homeplus app – which has been downloaded over 1 million times so far – and scan the item you wish to purchase.
The World’s First Tesco Virtual Store
A few stats about Tesco Plc in South Korea
- Tesco started trading in South Korea in 1999
- It than changed the name to Homeplus growing to become #1 online and #2 offline retailer in Korea
- There are currently 520 stores operating
- The revenue in 2012/13 was £5,311m
Tesco virtual store delivery
South Koreans can now scan their groceries in the morning on their way to work. If the order is placed before 1pm, the items they have purchased will be delivered home that same day. The two major benefits of this quick smartphone experience are speed and convenience, something that is of great value to all time-pressured commuters.
Furthermore, Tesco knows that customers in South Korea prize convenient and healthy food. All stores offer ready-meals and prepared fruit & veg.
Marketing Lesson from Tesco
Tesco has taken the time to study and understand their audience (customers) very well. If speed, convenience and healthy food is what the South Korean customer wants, it’s Tesco’s job to provide just that.
Busy commuters in large cities want to get their daily “jobs” done quickly. Providing shopping-opportunities while waiting for the train to come was definitely a smart idea. Mobile shoppers can scan the barcode, press the buy button and their groceries are already on the way home. Tesco has turned a time-consuming activity into a blessing.
Since Tesco’s launch in South Korea we’ve seen loads of virtual stores open up all over the world. These interactive grocery stores seem to be our future.
Here’s what Mandy Minichiello, marketing manager for Tesco.com, told the BBC:
We don’t think it’s a gimmick — it’s a taste of the future. In 2016, about 90 percent of all mobiles will be smartphones. We’re doing this as a trial to try to get some customer feedback. We’re keen to make customers lives as easy as possible. Increasingly, they want to shop on the go. [CNET News 2012]
Your shopping experience…
Tesco virtual store concept – Did it revolutionize the way we shop? What do you think: Is shopping via smartphone a gimmick or the future? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.