Fast Food: South Korea’s Futuristic Subway Supermarket

For overwhelmed business people who can’t seem to find time to sleep, let alone do all of the household chores, shopping for groceries can feel like a huge waste of time. European supermarket chain Tesco (known in South Korea as Home Plus) has come up with a brilliant way for South Koreans to do their shopping during the normally-wasted parts of their morning commute: they put grocery store shelf mock-ups on subway platforms.

The “shelves” look just like they do in the stores with products neatly displayed. Each product bears a QR code that, when scanned, drops the item into the shopper’s virtual shopping cart. When their virtual shopping trips are done (hopefully just before their respective trains approach) shoppers choose a time for the food to be delivered to their doors that evening. A load of fresh food can therefore greet busy workers right after they arrive home from work every day.

Although online shopping/home delivery of groceries isn’t a new practice, putting the shopping interface in a public place is. And putting QR codes on the products is simply brilliant. It’s a great example of how technology really can take the most mundane, unpleasant tasks and make them almost enjoyable…or at least less traumatic.

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See more in Futuristic or under Technology. July, 2011.