Will using QR codes to shop catch on? (Photo courtesy of Xavier Lur)
Want to do some quick on-the-go Christmas shopping of your favorite roast turkey or honey baked ham, as you wait for your friends at the train station foyer? You can do so now without having to step into a shop, queue, send a text message or make a phone call.
In collaboration with Singapore's leading supermarket chain Cold Storage, SMRT on Wednesday launched the company's first quick-response (QR) code shopping wall, which allows train commuters to do some snappy shopping with their mobile phones while passing through stations on their way to, or from, work.
Available at Bugis and Boon Lay stations from today, these specially-designed posters feature Cold Storage's popular Christmas goodies like roast turkey, honey baked ham, champagne bone-in ham, and baby back ribs.
Simply whip out your mobile phone, scan at the QR code with it, and the product will automatically land in your online shopping cart. Users can use a QR code reader like the i-nigma app, which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Android Market.
Once the online purchase is completed, all you need to do is to wait for your Christmas food items arrive at your doorstep. For online payment, only Amex credit cards are supported for now, and support for Visa and MasterCard credit card payment will be rolled out next Monday.
Victor Chia, CEO of Cold Storage supermarkets said, "We are pleased to work with SMRT to launch Cold Storage's first media wall advertisement that uses QR codes to enable consumers to shop online at our portal."
"We introduced this as we wanted to engage shoppers in many ways, by harnessing modern technology to offer today's time-strapped consumer hassle-free and convenient ways of shopping," he added.
Such virtual shopping posters can be found along prominent spaces within the two stations. For example at Bugis station, the wall opposite Citibank is specially set aside for commuters to do their on-the-go Christmas shopping.
When asked why the posters are not erected along train platforms or at screen doors where the pick-up rate could be potentially higher, Dawn Low, managing director for SMRT commercial business, told Yahoo! Singapore that it depends on the needs of their clients.
"As for Cold Storage, they want a larger advertising space, but our train platforms, unfortunately, don't offer such a huge space for that," she claimed.
Low also said that the company has plans for the upcoming Chinese New Year festive season, and is currently in talks with various partners, so that commuters can have a wider range of products to purchase on-the-go, while at the same time enjoy a convenient shopping experience.
"This new initiative is intuitive to the digital lifestyle of today's consumers and part of our continuous efforts to enhance the commuting experience with SMRT," she said.
"We are integrating mobile technology into our network to offer greater convenience, speed and choices to our commuters, allowing them to slip in a bit of shopping without having to step into a shop," she added.
This concept is, however, not new. Dairy Farm Singapore, the parent company and owner of Cold Storage, Giant, Guardian Health & Beauty, Shop N Save and 7-Eleven, has launched some form of QR code initiatives for all of its chains in recent months.
For Guardian, the company has embarked on engaging digital-savvy consumers with QR codes in line with Guardian's Mega Christmas launch. Upon scanning the QR codes, consumers get to download Christmas gifts offers with e-coupons attached to each product.
Nevertheless, Cold storage is still the first here to launch the code for consumers to make on-the-go purchases.
In South Korea, supermarket chain Tesco Home Plus has rolled out a similar but more in-depth shopping on-the-go approach.
Virtual grocery stores are set up in train stations, allowing commuters to literally do their grocery shopping while waiting for the train. And such virtual stores seem real -- the walls are plastered with photorealistic posters that resemble the aisles and shelves of a typical supermarket, and the "products" are lined from top to bottom, similar to what you would normally see while doing your grocery shopping -- according to online reports.
How convenient is it using QR codes? Would you shop virtually that way? We welcome your thoughts.