Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Future Of Shopping Is Virtual

Peapod is stealing a page from Tesco and trying out virtual shopping inChicago, where commuters now encounter shelves of virtual product in the subway tunnel, making it easy to scan and buy groceries en route.
This kind of virtual grocery shelve has been held up as the next great innovation in retail ever since Tesco launched its program in the subways of South Korea last summer. It’s Home Plus stores there sponsoredvirtual grocery aisles, enabling commuters to scan QR codes and have orders delivered directly to home.

Ahold- owned Peapod debuted a similar initiative in Philadelphia  earlier this year with 15 locations. The program has since been narrowed down to the nine most successful locations, according to Peapod spokeswoman Elana Margolis. Now the program has been expanded to Chicago, where Peapod has taken over a 60-ft. pedestrian tunnel at the State and Lake CTA station in the city’s Loop.
Commuters can scan download Peapod’s mobile app, scan a QR code from the virtual shelves and start shopping while in transit. It’s about building awareness for peapod and capturing new customers, according to Thomas Parkinson, Peapod co-founder and chief technology officer.
“This whole thing is built around customer awareness and acquisition,” he told me in telephone interview this morning. “There’s a huge difference in sales for us when (you add) mobile.”

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