British food giant Tesco has dramatically expanded its presence in South Korea thanks to an innovative approach to the country’s extremely busy populace, according to a new video presentation made by the company.
The company’s sales trailed far behind domestic giant and market leader E-Mart so Tesco decided to cut into its rival’s market share by expanding its online presence. The company, which operates under the HomePlus banner in Korea, saw how South Korea’s long working hours prevented many from visiting their physical stores.
They also saw how South Korea had more than 10 million smartphone users, well over 20% of the total population.
So the company decided to erect several virtual stores in subway stations. They set up large billboards of virtual store shelves, replicating the physical stores exactly. Shoppers used their smartphones to scan a QR code near the item; the food would then be delivered shortly thereafter.
“I like the way that it’s exactly like shopping in the actual store,” said one satisfied female shopper, in the video.
This unique approach is a great fit for South Korea, where Internet connectivity is available everywhere, even hundreds of feet below ground on a subway platform.
The success of the program boosted the company’s sales dramatically and Homeplus is now the no. 1 online retailer in Korea and is “a very close” no. 2 in offline sales.