Shop and Pay on-the-go

In June last year I had covered how Homeplus in South Korea had created a virtual store in a subway station in order to blend into people’s everyday lives. Since then Procter & Gamble has set up the same virtual stores in four of the busiest subway stations in Prague and Chinese online supermarket Yihodian has also borrowed the idea and installed virtual supermarkets in 15 subway stations around Shanghai.

This year PayPal has also launched the same QR code shops in 15 Singapore subway stations and enabled commuters to buy Valentines gifts from eight different retailers by simply scanning the QR code on their smartphone…

In USA, PayPal has eliminated the need of a wallet or phone altogether. In a partnership with Home Depot, PayPal has begun to roll out an in-store service that enables payments at stores using only a mobile phone number and a pin number at checkout…

Money is truly being re-imagined and contactless payments is going to be a norm by late 2012.

Homeplus Subway Virtual Store

South Korea is a unique market. Even the most powerful global corporations tend to fail miserably in the Korean market. Walmart and Carrefour had to pack up their bags and leave. On the contrary, Tesco has been evolving itself, adjusting to the local market. It even changed the name itself, from Tesco to Homeplus! And at last, it grew to rank No. 2 in Korea! But Tesco had to overcome one obstacle? A fewer number of stores compared to the number one company, E-mart.

Agency Cheil Korea came up with the idea to bring the store to the people! They created virtual stores in subway station hoping to blend into people’s everyday lives. Their first try was busy subway station in rush hours. Although virtual, the displays were exactly the same as actual stores – from the display to merchandises. Only one thing was different, you could use smart phones to shop! Scan the QR code with your phone, and the product automatically would land into your on-line cart! When the online purchase was done, it would be delivered to your door right after you get home.

As a result people could meet Tesco Homeplus wherever they go, not having to visit the actual store. Moreover they could make good use of the wasted times and enjoy their free time. After this campaign, on-line sales increased tremendously (Nov 2010 – Jan 2011). Through this campaign, 10,287 consumers visited the online Homeplus mall using smartphones. The number of new registered members rose by 76%, and on-line sales increased 130%. Homeplus became the No.1 on-line market and is a very close 2nd offline.