Every day thousands of busy people rush through the area connecting Toronto’s Union Station with the PATH system; a series of tunnels that connects nearly 50 buildings in the downtown core. The PATH contains hundreds of retails stores, services and food outlets where people stop to pick up the essential items they may need at home that night or the next morning.
This week Well.ca, the largest health, baby and beauty e-commerce retailer in Canada, has opened up a store in the PATH tunnel near the spot where Brookfield Place connects with Union Station. But this store doesn’t have any square footage and there is no need for staff. Well.ca has created Canada’s first QR-enabled virtual store, inspired by Tesco’s much-talked about Homeplus Subway Virtual Store in Seoul, South Korea. The store consists of a wall-size poster featuring shelves full of images of P&G products including Tide, Crest, Head & Shoulders and Pampers.
To use the virtual shopping experience, users first download the Well.ca Virtual Store app; available for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. The customer then uses the scanning function inside the app to scan the unique QR code associated with each product. Once they’ve completed their selections, they can checkout and pay for their items within the app and Well.ca will deliver them for free. The Well.ca virtual store will be ‘open’ from April 2 to 30.
The Well.ca virtual store represents just one of the unique and innovative opportunities that marketers have at their disposal to create interactive experiences from static print and out-of-home ads. While QR code usage and interest may be on the verge of plateauing, new technologies use augmented reality, image recognition, geo-location, near field communications or audio triggers to connect a mobile user from a physical to online experience.
You can learn more about QR codes by checking out our 2D Barcodes are Here. Are You and Your Audience Ready? presentation from last May.