If you want to see a robust example of a combination of mobile commerce and ambient marketing, there is nothing better than Tesco’s Subway Virtual Store. Tesco, an American superstore chain, is called Homeplus in Korea and it is the South Koreans who have come up with this spectacular marketing idea. This great innovation allows subway commuters to purchase their groceries out of virtual walls in a virtual store.
How Does It Work?
While the idea itself is spectacular, it is so simple that you would have a hard time believing that no one was doing it earlier. All you have to do is to look at the virtual stores on the subways, and scan the QR codes of specific products with their smartphones. As soon as these codes are scanned, the products are added to a virtual cart, which is then delivered directly to their homes by the time they are back from their commute. This has been an uplifting experience for many South Koreans who are so busy that they are unable to make their grocery purchases on time. Doing this on their commute not only saves time, but also a lot of effort.
South Korea, as most of its Asian counterparts, is largely traditional. The concept of superstores is still not as popular there as most South Koreans prefer to purchase their groceries from nearby family owned stores. This is simply more convenient for them. Today, Tesco (Homeplus) has very few stores and a very small turnover and to overcome this, Cheil Worldwide – a marketing agency, was hired. This campaign has proved to be very successful, and does not require a substantial investment to create the virtual stores. To top it all up, these virtual stores are, well, virtual and therefore do not require capital expenditure for upkeep and overheads.
The results of this campaign have been spectacular for both Tesco and Cheil Worldwide. After the virtual subway stores were instituted, the online sales for Tesco increased by 130 percent, and all of this happened just between November 2010 and January 2011. The number of registered members on Tesco’s online portal also kept increasing to the point where the rise was clocked at 76%. The Seoul based agency also received a lot of accolades for its innovation. The campaign won several prestigious awards, including the Grand Prix in Media, and Gold Lions for Direct and Outdoor.
The Tesco Homepluss Subway Virtual Store is one of the best marketing innovations that the world has seen in more than a decade, and for that, credit goes to Cheil Worldwide. This group of professionals understood their market and created an effective campaign that utilized foolproof elements of ecommerce, mCommerce, and order management and logistics. There are few other marketing initiatives like these in the world. The winners, of course, are the people who would use these stores to cut down a huge chore from their daily tasks. Being able to order your groceries during your commute is like being given the gift of time.