Now you can buy groceries by scanning QR codes — at the MRT station
December 7, 2011 by Terence LEE
Thousands of Singaporean commuters taking the train at the Bugis and Boon Lay MRT stations will be in for a Christmas surprise: They can purchase now groceries by scanning QR codes with their smartphones.
The squarish bar codes are placed next to pictures of the items, which are on a wall. Commuters will then be brought to the Cold Storage website, where they can key in their details and get the Christmas ham delivered to their homes. It’s an interesting integration of mobile commerce and ambient marketing.
Dawn Loh, managing director of SMRT Investments, told Channel NewsAsia: “A lot of commuters are always time-starved. Sometimes, they may not have time to do grocery shopping. Online shopping is a way to go now, so with a virtual store now on the public transport network which is very pervasive, we hope that the commuters can take onto this very quickly and more will come on board.”
This initiative started on 7th December and will last till 20th December.
However, Lee Xian Jie, a 22-year-old entrepreneur who passed by Bugis MRT, felt the implementation could have been better.
“The location the advertiser chose was outside the station, and the high traffic does not allow people to stop and snap, as they would wish. If the ads were in the platform area, on the sliding glass doors, people would pay more attention since they would be literally sitting around waiting,” he said.
Singapore is not the first country to have done this. In South Korea, supermarket chain Tesco did something similar in a subway station. Said an Adverblog report: “Online sales between November 2010 and January 2011 increased by 130 percent, with the number of registered members rising by 76 percent.”
2011 has turned out to be the year where QR codes have entered mainstream Singapore and many other parts of the world. Step out of the train at City Hall MRT, and you’ll see a huge poster of the upcoming Sherlock Holmes movie with a QR code that brings you to the movie trailer.
I can’t vouch for the effectiveness of how these mobile barcodes are used though, but I expect that as marketers get used to this tool, they’ll become better at it.
Image: Screengrabs from Channel NewsAsia video clip
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About The Author
Terence LEE - Editor
Terence writes mainly about technology trends and startups in Asia. He believes in crafting smart content: Not just a regurgitation of text, but well thought-out pieces that serve the reader using a combination of data, design, narratives, analysis, and visual impact. His articles have been published on Venturebeat, Yahoo!, Straits Times, Today, and The Online Citizen. He also co-founded NewNation.sg, a satirical news site covering Singapore affairs. Engage him on LinkedIn and Twitter.Read other posts by Terence LEE