Mobile Shopping

Posted by Flux on 

29 October 2013


What’s trending now?

How many times have you sat in traffic during your morning commute wishing there was a pop up coffee shop on the side of the road? A few enterprising cafes have seen the need and sent employees out with lattes and cappuccinos to sell to drivers stuck in the stop and go.

Now, commuters may have a chance to shop on the move. Certain subway cars in Korea are now sporting grocery stores – and shopping for essentials may soon be available in city cabs.

Why it’s important?

Over the years, busy lifestyles have led to the development of new ways to shop for essentials. In South Africa, Pick ‘n Pay and Woolworths both offer online shopping. In the United States, drive-through convenience stores are almost as common as drive-through takeaways. And Amazon styled stores have taken over the world.

The Koreans already have a virtual grocery store, operated by Tesco Homeplus. Commuters are able to shop and pay with their phone while waiting for the train. Orders are packaged and delivered after commuters return home in the evening (certainly a step up from South African online grocery delivery).

The difference between picking up your vegetables and meats on the subway, and ordering them online for home delivery is that commuters can actually make use of time spent in transit. That’s a big difference from taking time away from work to check your grocery list – or to leave early to receive your delivery.

The concept of essentials available in New York City cabs, an idea developed by business school students, may be a slightly more limited – simply based on size. Though it all depends on the range of products on offer. A full meat locker may not be possible, but a selection of newspapers, pain killers, condoms, and first aid kits conveniently located at your knees is certainly more useful than the advertising boards which usually occupy that space.

What’s the butterfly effect?

Mobile shopping certainly has benefits and that’s more than just convenience. Mobile shopping could have extended effects on the community and the environment.

As it stands now, most shopping is seen as a break from work, and something that’s proactively done to care for yourself, your family, and your home. Whether it’s ordering a toaster from Bid or Buy, or heading off to the local Spar for a tin of beans, shopping is time spent nurturing yourself. Rather than wasting time commuting, using this time for shopping means you can use the time to care for yourself. And that means there will be more time for friends and family – something just about everyone is looking for these days.

This may just be an incentive to for people using personal vehicles to make the switch to the train. If all public transport were to offer more than mere people moving, it could just encourage more people to make use of community resources. It is, after all a better use of time than simply sitting in your car wishing for a coffee.

The pioneers

Strangely enough, many of these new concepts have been developed by marketing and business students. Although linking with leading companies or competitions may be the only way to get these ideas into play, it does mean that pioneers in mobile shopping can emerge anywhere.

The global hot spots

Although only the Koreans have instituted mobile shopping, major cities with established public transport systems and cabs can expect this trend to take off – as long as security isn’t a concern, and mobile payment methods are flexible.

By: Katie Schenk

About Katie

KGB - Eastside

Katie is South African by choice, but she’s proud of being American too.  She’s a writer, a producer, and a momma.  If she can shut off – she sleeps.  Her interests include advertising, home economics, entrepreneurial processes, South African idiosyncrasies, and rugby.   (Really.)  She’s also a fan of Tudor history – but there’s nothing trendy (or trending) in that.

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