updated 11:23 am EDT, Tue October 16, 2012
Customers to use QR codes on product photos for purchases
An e-commerce company in China will launch 1,000 supermarkets in the country, without stock. Yihaodian will instead show the images of products on shelves accompanied by a QR code, allowing customers to scan and pay with a smartphone. The shopping is then delivered to the customer's home at a later time.
Each store will have around 1,200 square meters of floor space (13,000 square feet) and stock 1,000 items. It is suggested by the Tencent Technology News Monday that these "Unlimited Yihaodian" stores will allow customers to avoid long queues while shopping, and is a natural extension to the small scale QR code shopping offered at some Chinese subway stations.
The idea of a virtual supermarket is nothing new. UK supermarket chain Tesco used its HomePlus brand to offer the subway-based virtual shopping in South Korea, and opened a kiosk in Gatwick Airport in London so that passengers could order items and have them delivered shortly after arriving at their destination.