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Tesco expands ‘virtual stores’ concept in Korea


UK-based retailer Tesco has extended its trial of ‘virtual stores’ in South Korea by installing the offer at more than 20 bus stops around the country, it was revealed today.

The virtual stores are made of flat displays with pictures of products and corresponding QR codes, allowing customers to scan products with their phone using a special app that will automatically order goods via their handset.

Last year Tesco launched the first version of the offer in the subway of South Korea’s capital city Seoul, and is now installing the interactive displays at bus shelters in cities around the Asian nation in order to further capture sales from busy commuters.

Tesco Homeplus, the name the retailer trades under in South Korea, say that its smartphone app, which facilitates the QR code purchases, has had 900,000 downloads since it was launched last April, making it already the number one shopping app in the country.

SH Lee, CEO of Tesco Homeplus, said: “The growing trend in Smartphones in South Korea means that virtual grocery shopping is even more accessible and convenient than ever before.

“The first virtual store in the Seoul Subway was a great success with customers and has paved the way for the opening of these new stores at bus stops.

“We’ve found it most popular amongst 20 to 30 year olds, so the new stores will be opening close to a local university and other pedestrian areas.”

Last summer online grocer Ocado trialled a similar system at the One New Change shopping centre in the City of London, although its system used barcodes instead of QR Codes.

Tesco told Retail Gazette that there are no plans as yet to bring the concept to the UK but said Korea’s innovation-led culture made it an ideal testing ground for virtual stores.

Published on Tuesday 07 February by Editorial Assistant

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