Virtual grocery shopping in subway station

I came across a really creative idea by UK-based grocery giant, Tesco. It is the 3rd largest retailer in the world and operates in many countries. In South Korea they are the second largest grocery chain, using the brand name Home Plus. For the South Korean market, they came up with a virtual grocery store in subway stations. They built large screens along the wall in the subway station showing all the grocery items for sale. They include bar codes which are scanned with a smartphone. Once an item is scanned by a customer’s smartphone, they can purchase the item through the phone and have it delivered to their home after they arrive.

The grocery industry is very competitive and it is very difficult to stand out and steal market share from competitors. By making the purchasing process so quick and efficient, they have managed to take some market share. What is even more lucrative for the company is that they did not have to invest in actual stores to gain that new business. All they need to invest in are the screens in the station, some fee for using the space and more website maintenance, all of which are far less than operating a grocery store. I am assuming that delivery is not free, at least on small orders.

This type of outside-the-box thinking is just what ultra-competitive industries need in order to gain an edge. I would love to see this come to North America. Municipal governments would love it as well because they could charge a fee for using the space and this would be good for the taxpayers of that city. This is a great idea all around.