Ocado’s new shopping wall at the Birmingham’s Bullring allows consumers to order products by scanning the barcode next to the product images with their smartphones.
Pure-play online retailer Ocado has opened its third shopping wall in Britain. The new poster wall in Birmingham follows on from the retailer’s shopping walls at the One New Change shopping centre in London and Cabot Circus in Bristol.
Home Plus, the Korean pision of Tesco, was the first grocer to use this innovative marketing strategy. The retailer converted Hangangjin Station in Seoul into a virtual supermarket last year. Pictures of supermarket shelves were displayed on platform walls for the trial; this made online shopping visually appealing when people were bored when waiting for a train. Travellers could scan the QR codes on the posters with their smartphones with the shopping then being delivered to their homes. On completion of the trial, the project was extended to other Seoul subways. Irene Lam of Cheil Worldwide marketing agency believes the concept makes sense. “The trial boosted Home Plus online sales 130 per cent and online members 76 per cent.”
There was no doubt that Europe would embrace the new technology following the successful trials in Seoul. German commuters were able to access poster shops from late 2011. Drugstore chain Budnikowsky was the first retailer to use the wall shops. The technology was rolled out to train stations in Augsburg, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hannover, Hamburg, Munich, Nuremberg, Stuttgart, Würzburg and Ulm.
Displaying a range of cosmetic products with a QR code, the retailer stated that it got the idea for the posters from Tesco’s South-Korean outlet Home Plus. A spokesperson for the retailer said that the advantage is that “one can find the desired product on the poster and order it directly, without having to first surf through the entire online shop”. Consumers can also carry out competitor price monitoring on products online while travelling: such retail pricing intelligence allows shoppers to find the best product at a price that suits their budget.
Belgium supermarket chain Delhaize introduced the shopping innovation to train stations in April. Consumers were greeted with shopping cubes with the new service allowing commuters to avail of ‘click and collect’: ordering in transit and collecting on the way home is a very appealing offer to time-scrapped workers. Roel Dekelver of Delhaize says it is a profitable revenue stream for the retailer due to there being “no shelves, no employee, no perishable products anymore” and maximum space utilisation.
Cliona Lynch, senior analyst at Verdict says that both Ocado and Delhaize merely “scratch the surface of what could be a game-changing concept” bridging the gap between the growing online and convenience food retail markets in Europe. “Convenience and online retail are the most buoyant channels for food and grocery spend in Europe as more people seek anytime, anywhere shopping.”
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