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Internet of things Tesco Virtual supermarket

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Online shopping is nothing new, but this is a little different, launched in 2011 in South Korea, one company says it's going further, It's testing out a virtual supermarket in a public place.

This virtual supermarket is primarily designed for commuters at Seolleung underground station in Seoul, there's a row of brightly lit billboards along the platform, with hundreds of pictures of food and drink - everything from meat, fruit, milk, eggs to instant noodles and pet food.

All set up by Homeplus, the South Korean affiliate of the United Kingdoms  supermarket chain Tesco.

Standing on the platform, a man in his 60s who gives his name as Mr Bae, says it looks to him like an advertisement for a convenience store. But when I explain it's a virtual supermarket that you access with your smartphone, he doesn't seem impressed. He says he doesn't have a smartphone, so it's not for him. But he says, it's a good idea for younger Koreans.

No time to shop

A major South Korean retailer has opened what it appears to be the world's first virtual store geared to smartphone users, with shoppers scanning barcodes of products displayed in a Seoul subway station. Homeplus, the nation’s second largest discount chain, is offering 500 items including food, electronics, office supplies and toiletries at its "store" at Seolleung station in the south of the city of 10 million.

Seven pillars and six platform screen doors have been plastered with images of life-size store shelves filled with goods -- such as bananas, steak, apples, a bag of rice or school  equipment, pens paper -- each item has a small barcode. Shoppers download an App on their smartphone and make purchases by taking photos of the barcodes.

"You place an order when you go to work in the morning and can see the items delivered at home when you come home at night," said a spokeswoman for Homeplus.

It gets better this is a version of the IoT ( Internet of things), consumers don’t have to be anywhere near the virtual store. For example, if you want to order replacements of a bottle of water at your office or in your home or even sitting on the train, you don’t have to visit the subway station. You simply scan the bottle’s barcode with the Homeplus app. The products are delivered later to home or office.