Innovation: Homeplus Virtual Subway Store

Homeplus, the South Korean retailer for Tesco, has opened the world’s first virtual store in a Seoul subway station.

This innovative venture, dubbed a “fourth generation retail store”, is currently being trialed for a period of three months and will enable customers with smartphones to shop for fresh groceries, food and digital products by downloading a Homeplus app and scanning a QR (Quick Response) barcode displayed against a digital image of their chosen product.  If the product is purchased before 13.00, the retail giant ensures a same day delivery.

Additionally, users do not necessarily need to be in close proximity to the store to shop for replacement products – packaging barcodes will enable previously bought items to be scanned and purchased and then delivered, from anywhere in the city.

Currently the service is only available for Android users, but by the end of September, Homeplus hope to have configured apps to work on iPhones and iPads.

According to reports made by Tesco, Koreans are the “second most hard-working people in the world”, and the concept was envisioned to assist busy commuters with shopping needs during office and rush-hours, with the hope that leisure time can be freed up from the often mundane yet necessary task of basic grocery shopping – over 200,000 commuters pass through the Seollung station each day.

First unveiled at the Cannes Lions Festival earlier this summer, this exciting step for retail gives us insight into how we are likely to be shopping for food and products in the not too distant future, heavily utilizing already present technology.

Homeplus won the Grand Prix award in the category for Media Lions at this years event – watch the brilliant video here. – Samantha Fox

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