Merchant innovation in the m-world

In a literally fast changing payment environment it is important to follow the trends of the market and adapt accordingly your payment infrastructure. People demand Mobile Services. We live the m- ERA, so common terms like e- Banking \ e-Shop \ e- Booking services nowadays are replaced with m-Banking \ m-Shopping \ m-Booking etc. This is what Forrester analysts are predicting for the future: One billion consumers will have smartphones by 2016.  In 2016, 350 million employees will use smartphones — 200 million will bring their own. Apple, Google, and Microsoft will be the software platform for more than 90% of smartphones and tablets worldwide. Mobile spend will reach $1.3 trillion. 2011 was the first year where Smartphone market surpassed PC Market.

And the prediction is that 2014 will be the first year where Tablet market will overtake PC market, so officially we will enter in the “Post PC era”.

At the same time, Merchants are seeking ways to enhance the shopping experience of their clients, resolve their operational constraints and develop new revenue streams based on new technologies.

A very good example of Merchant innovation comes from Asia. It has to do with the strategy that Tesco adopted in order to increase its market share in the South Korean market. South Korea is a unique market -Tesco has been evolving itself adjusting to the local market. It even changed the name itself from Tesco to Homeplus and at last it grew to become no 2 in the Korean Market.

The Challenge:

In order to successfully serve the Korean market Tesco had to overcome one obstacle the fact of fewer numbers of stores compared to e-mart the No1 company in the local market and major competitor. The challenge that Tesco executives had to address was how to become No1 without increasing the number of stores.

The Strategy:

After performing another in-depth analysis to Koreans once more they found out that Koreans are the 2nd most hard working people in the world and that  for them grocery shopping once a week is a dreadiest task.  Tesco executives in order to approach these bust and hardworking people decided instead of people coming to the store “let the store come to the people and so they created virtual stores hoping to blend to people’s everyday lives. First deployment of these virtual stores were subway stations, although virtual, the display were exactly as usual stores, from the display to the merchandise only one thing was different that the new stores required the use of a smartphone in order to shop.

How it works:

The procedure is simple customers scan the QR code with their smartphones and the product automatically lands in their online cart. When the online purchase is completed the products will be delivered to the customers’ door right after they get home. By using this service people can relax more after work and on weekends without having to encounter in such a dreadful procedure like grocery shopping. “I like the way it’s exactly like shopping in the actual store” is just a distinct comment posted in the company’s website and come from a happy consumer after receiving its grocery.

The Result:

The strategy proved to be a great success both for the customers and for the company. From the customers point of view the benefit is rather simple: people now can shop at Tesco’s Homeplus wherever they go and without having to visit the actual store. By doing so people can change their waiting time to shopping time. Tesco’s success on the other hand comes from the fact that after launching this campaign, 10287 consumers visited Homeplus Mall using smartphones. In addition, the number of new registered members rose by 67% and online sales increased by 130%.  Finally, Homeplus has become No1 in online market and is a very close 2nd offline.

Manos Perdikaris, Business Unit Manager, Mellon Group of Companies

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