The phenomenon is growing and I don’t think it is stopping any time soon. We heard about Korea’s massive roll out of virtual shops whereby the company placed QR Codes on billboards and posters to let customers shop completely on their mobile phones or devices. And then Japan followed suit. Of course, there was news that Tesco also did the same thing. It was only a matter of time that China joined the gang and this came in the form of YiHaoDian, a large Chinese supermarket announcing its intention to launch not one, not two but a thousand QR Code-based virtual shops all across the nation. With the rising number of Android and smartphone users in the market, it is an apt move.
The ‘retail outlets’ would let consumers view, shop and create their own shopping carts all on their mobile devices.
YiHaoDian is known for their control over the large market share in the e-commerce sector in China. These shops will be called Unlimited YiHaoDian. In the virtual stores, there will not be any real products being displayed and instead, there are images with QR Codes. What consumers need to do is to use a QR Code scanner on their phone and the phone’s camera to ‘scan’ the QR Code. From then on, they can choose to add to cart and continue to shop or checkout. The experience is further enhanced by the fact that users are allowed to personalize their own shopping ‘excursion’.
As with all the other supermarkets who have launched themselves into the mobile marketing world, at the end of the shopping excursion, after paying for the purchase, the products will be delivered directly to the consumers’ homes.
All this great and fine but here is just a thought – it would be good if these supermarkets did not just showed us images of the products…a sample would be good. For instance, if there was a new flavor of yogurt that they are promoting and selling, it would save me the disappointment if there was a sample there or if they are selling clothes, consumers can save time by at the very least have a good look at the product before buying.
I mean, what if the material was terrible or if the juice just isn’t my cup of tea?
For YiHaoDian, there will be a thousand of these stores selling approximately a thousand each. And I heard that the virtual stores aren’t tiny either…unless you called four thousand square feet worth of virtual product small.
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