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Virtual grocery shopping for train commuters using QR codes.

Bored waiting for your train? No worries, you can go grocery shopping while you wait. Grab your phone, point at the grocery items you want to buy and voila your groceries will be delivered to your doorstep later in the day. Hopefully by the time you get home. Say what?

Several special ‘grocery aisle’ billboards that display images of grocery items are adorning several Korean train stations. Next to these images are QR codes where customers can simply snap up a code using their smartphone. The codes go straight into a virtual shopping cart and when you’re ready to pay you proceed to your virtual check out, and the products get delivered to your house. Simple, effective and efficient! And not to mention bloody brilliant!Like online shopping, customers can shop without the hassle of time, heavy shopping bags, and long check out lines. But instead of just statically clicking through a website customers can actually immerse themselves in the experience of ‘grocery shopping’ by physically ‘walking up and down the aisle’ to pick out their items.

This is probably the best use of QR technology I’ve seen to date. Australian society hasn’t exactly embraced the technology much at all. Half my mates still don’t know what those squiggly black patterns are and what to do with them. And added to that our marketing campaigns that use QR codes are primitive to say the least.

Funnily enough I found out how out-dated Australia is with some technology while watching a popular Korean drama. I saw a character in this drama pay for his groceries simply by tapping his smartphone at this small black box! This was a good 3 years ago and I must admit that at first I thought that it was fake. Ha! I kept thinking if there was any way that technology allowed us the ability to do that then the whole world would be doing it. Of course I was embarrassingly very wrong. 3 years later and I’m shocked again to find that grocery shopping has gotten that much easier.

Fun facts:

Tesco, the innovative company responsible for this awesome service is a global retail company. They made an ambitious plan to become the No.1 grocery giant in Korea without having to build more stores. After some in-depth customer research was conducted Tesco found:

  1. Koreans are the second most hard working people in the world and therefore highly valued their time and
  2. Customers generally felt grocery shopping sucked.

It was this research that formed the basis for their now revolutionary service. So did they succeed in their mission? Tesco is now the number 1 online retailer in Korea and is a close second in physical retail sales. And on top of that in between November 2010 and January 2011 they sported a 130% increase in sales and up to 10,000 new customers.