Virtual grocery store in Korean subway could be future of shopping
A supermarket's innovative marketing campaign that recreated a working, virtual grocery store in Seoul subway stations has won an international prize for creativity and could herald a new era in the way people shop.
Last week, Cheil Worldwide Seoul took home the Media Grand Prix last week at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, which recognizes the best in international advertising.
The firm's campaign for Tesco, called Home Plus in South Korea, beat out 2,895 entries this year for developing a marketing campaign that transformed busy subway platforms into a virtual grocery store. Glass wall partitions were plastered with realistic produce, dairy and meat aisle displays, allowing commuters to browse for groceries while waiting for their train.
After scanning the QR codes of desired items with their smartphones and adding them to their virtual cart, shoppers returned home and waited for their groceries to be delivered not long after opening their front door.
The three-month long campaign, which began in November last year, helped boost traffic to the online grocery store with 10,280 visits, while the number of new registered members rose 76 percent. Online sales also increased 130 percent.
In a bid to overtake its nearest rival, E-Mart, Home Plus - which is the No. 2 supermarket brand in South Korea - decided to fight volume and store locations (E-Mart has more stores) with cybersmarts.
As home to some of the hardest-working people in the world (the latest 2011 OECD figures ranks South Korea as the 14th hardest working country, putting in 484 minutes or eight hours a day), grocery shopping can be a dreaded chore, opens the ad company's promotional video.
Which is why they decided to "let the store come to the people."
"I like the way it's exactly like shopping in the actual store," said one commuter shopper in the video.
The marketing campaign won a total of three awards in Cannes, including the festival's highest award.
According to the blog Fresh & Easy Buzz, which monitors news of the British-owned grocery giant Tesco, Home Plus is looking for similar venues to implement virtual stores - locations in public places that attract high traffic numbers and can hold captive audiences.
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