For citizens in urban areas and cities that rely heavily on public transportation, just think for a second about all the time you spend idling and waiting around for your bus or train to arrive on your every day commute. Now, imagine that instead of killing time on Facebook or stalking your ex on Instagram, you could complete one of life’s most annoying errands – grocery shopping – while waiting for the subway to arrive. South Korean grocery chain Tesco is making that lofty concept a reality.
The relatively small chain may lack a huge presence when it comes to physical stores, but the scrappy chain has turned to the Internet and digital technology to compete with and outpace their competition. Utilizing the Internet, QR codes and mobile phone technology, Tesco has launched a program in subway stations allowing impatient people waiting for their rides home or to work to browse a digital display case of food, with products identical in scale and color to their real counterparts in a grocery store, and employ their smartphones and QR codes to order all of their groceries virtually before their train comes to whisk them away.
By the time you arrive home from your routine subway trip, Tesco will have those groceries you purchased in the subway station delivered to your door, ready for storage, preparation and consumption. No longer will you have to force yourself to take a trip to the grocery store after a long day of work just to ensure you won’t starve to death. With Tesco’s virtual grocery store, you can make efficient use of your time during a period where you’re normally just screwing around on your smartphone anyway.
Having already launched a pilot program of this new wave, futuristic solution to strolling the fluorescent lit aisles of an overcrowded grocery store, Tesco reports that the venture has paid off in spades – their sales now rival those of South Korea’s largest physical grocery chain. Needless to say, the idea of people shopping for groceries virtually is a brilliant light-bulb moment on Tesco’s part.
The success of Tesco’s program will hopefully inspire other grocery chains in cities reliant and dependent upon subways and public transportation to think about adopting similar programs. Not only do they have the potential to be wildly profitable, but speaking personally as someone who detests waiting for my Bart train to arrive, not to mention going to the grocery store, this would be a lifesaver for me and many other lazy millennials.