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Recently, my father told me that he was looking to get a new “cell phone” and said he “doesn’t need to have the Internet on his phone,” to which I responded, “You don’t need it, but why wouldn’t you want to have it?”

Thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices in today’s fast-paced, high-tech world, we can do more things from more places than ever before. As such, traditional brick and mortar businesses are able to adapt and grow in non-traditional ways. Tesco supermarkets in South Korea are a perfect example of this.

As the No. 2 supermarket chain in South Korea, their mission was to become No. 1 without increasing retail locations. Their knowledge of the market, combined with innovative use of QR code technology, allowed them to actively strive toward this goal. Studies showed that South Korean people are some of the hardest-working people on the planet. In their free time, one of the most hated, but necessary, tasks is going to the grocery store.

Tesco, which changed its name to Home Plus, decided to use technology to shift people’s wait time to shopping time. They took train station walls and turned them into virtual supermarket aisles. Using high-definition, life-sized images of grocery store products, they were able to recreate the shopping experience outside of the store. In addition, each product had a QR code on it. When scanned, it added the item to your online shopping cart and when your shopping QR’t was full, you simply checked out; all purchased items would then be delivered to your home at the requested time. Waiting time at the train was now transformed into grocery shopping time via mobile devices and QR codes.

The program resulted in 10,287 transactions through the virtual supermarket aisles. In addition, new registered members increased 76% and online transactions rose 130%. While Tesco/Home Plus has not yet become the overall No. 1 supermarket in South Korea, they have overtaken the No. 1 spot in the online market and narrowed the gap substantially between them and the No. 1 chain.

Success of the program was largely credited to location of virtual aisles and their ability to recreate the actual shopping experience with to-scale images. In addition, the ability to utilize wait time to replace a future undesirable task was welcomed.

Why wouldn’t you want to have the Internet on your mobile device? Without it, things like this wouldn’t be possible.

Seth Kaplan is president of Mobile Real Estate ID. For more information, please visit