Are you using your mobile phone to make purchases?

Korea mobile shoppingIf you are using your mobile phone to make purchases, you would in good company. According to a study released in September 2012 by the US-based comScore, four out of very five smartphone users, which represent 86 million US users, accessed retail content on their device. The top five sites for mobile users in July 2012 are Amazon with almost 50 million visitors, followed by eBay, Apple, Walmart, and Target.

The study also reveals interesting information on demographics. Apparently, Sage Vita aficionados are not the prime users of mobile e-commerce. About 70 per cent of smartphone retail visitors are under the age of 45. Women are more likely than men to spend more time than men on mobile retail. Users also tend to be from a higher income group. Among smartphone audiences accessing retail destination, nearly one in every three had a household income of US$100,000 or greater.

But a time will soon come when most of us, regardless of age or income level, will use our smart phone to access retailers for everyday items. And the lead in this application may not necessarily come from the US or Europe.

An example in Korea

Korea, for example, has a very high Internet and mobile usage. Of its 50 million, more than 60 per cent use smartphone. Tesco, the supermarket chain headquartered in the UK, has an operation in Korea called Tesco Home Plus, which has been offering Internet shopping service since 2002. Last year the Korean Tesco Home Plus launched a mobile application to be used with its virtual stores that are located on electronic walls at the main subway stations and bus stops.

With this new technology platform, busy commuters are able to save time by doing their supermarket shopping on their way home from work. Goods displayed in the virtual stores are designed to look like those in the actual store. Users just scan QR codes downloading the Home Plus mobile application, order the products that show on the media display and put products on their online carts. When the purchased is processed, the goods are delivered to their homes within minutes or hours. See video below.

The Tasco Home Plus mobile platform has been quite a success in Korea. The average purchase in virtual stores is almost US$100, which is more than an average offline purchase. The Home Plus app is now the number 1 mobile shopping app in South Korea, with more than 1.4 million downloads and 55,000 customer visits daily. The success has led Tesco to expand the concept to the UK by creating a virtual store at London’s Gatwick airport.

So we’d better get used to the idea of using our smartphone to do our grocery shopping – not as a shopping expedition, but just casually on the way somewhere.

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