New Virtual Supermarket Stores Open Shop In Subways Around The World
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The evolution of supermarket shopping is here - virtual stores made possible by smartphones. Virtual stores are "opening" around the world, from Seoul, South Korea to Toronto, Canada. The are mainly open in high traffic areas like subways stations, making it easier for commuters to do their shopping on the go.
Companies offering virtual stores include South Korea's Home Plus and Canada's Well.ca. Home Plus, the original virtual store, raised the bar for e-commerce when sales increased between November 2010 and January 2011 by 130%.
How do virtual stores work?
To start shopping at a virtual store shoppers need an app, which is downloadable to their smartphones. Each store will have their own app, giving access to thousands of products. Each product on the virtual store "shelf" will have a QR code, similar to a barcode. The app will allow the user to scan the QR Code. The app will display information regarding the product, including product description, size and price.
Once the shoppers have scanned the product, added it to their cart, and paid the balance, the products will be delivered straight to their door. Some companies, like Well.ca, even offer free shipping.
What are the benefits?
- Virtual stores make it quick and easy for shoppers to complete their everyday shopping while on the go
- By having purchases delivered straight to your door, subway or bus commuters avoid dragging awkward and heavy bags all the way home
- The variety of products may be wider than that of your local supermarket
- In urban areas where space is an issue, the compact stores can be placed virtually anywhere
- Companies have a greater potential for brand awareness with smaller marketing costs
- Smaller companies will have more ability to compete against big box stores
- Less environmental impacts, with less need for lighting stores, air conditioning, etc