Virtual Shopping While You Wait


Waiting for the bus or subway train can be unproductive…but now there’s a brilliant solution.

Photo by Michael Johnstone

Photo by Michael Johnstone

Koreans are busy people. The usual 9 to 5 workday here is nonexistent, giving way to the more common “9 to whenever-your-boss-lets-you-leave”, which can often be very late at night. So it makes sense to be efficient whenever possible. Tesco, the UK’s brilliant supermarket chain, is rebranded in Korea as Homeplus, a fact which most Britons notice rather quickly.

This is not a new idea, but Tesco/Homeplus has provided a new option for grocery shopping; which is more often than not, a painful experience in crowded Seoul. The company has placed ads at bus stations and subway stops throughout the city so that consumers can browse a virtual shelf for commonly used items, and then scan the QR code with their smart-phones. Their purchases are then delivered to their homes. Delivery in this city is unbelievably fast, thanks to a vast network of couriers; I bought a couch online from the G-Market store, and it was sitting in my living room the next day. Their staff even hauled it up to the 15th floor for me. Now that’s service.

Sadly, I don’t have a smartphone (read why that’s a bad thing here) so I can’t try out this fantastic service myself, but I’d love to hear from anyone who has.

Here’s Tesco’s promotional video for the service:

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