Health product retailer Vitalife Health are set to launch several innovative new â€˜virtual shops’ across the UK during August and throughout the remainder of 2014 using Near Field Communication (NFC) and Quick Response (QR) Codes.
They are the first retailer in the UK to adopt NFC and QR technology in this way — giving consumers the ability to browse and shop for products digitally using their mobile phones, but in a physical shop-like setting.
The stores will be in train stations, airports, and bus stops and will use traditional billboard space to display rows of shelving with price tickets and products sitting on the shelves, just like a real high-street shop — but on a board with no shop assistant.
Supermarket giant Tesco trialled a similar concept in South Korea, where busy commuters could order their groceries using just QR technology whilst waiting for the train, to have them delivered at their home the same evening. As a result, Tesco’s South Korean sales rose by 130% in just 3 months.
Vitalife Health’s projections for sales growth from their virtual stores are a little more reserved than Tesco’s, given the level of smartphone uptake in the UK is not as high as South Korea, and the average UK consumer is yet to become properly familiarised with QR and NFC technology, but they still have high hopes for the concept.
â€˜We’ll be trialling the concept initially in Sheffield, Leeds, and Manchester Piccadilly train stations towards the end of August, and the stores will be here for a minimum of 8 weeks’ explained Vitalife’s CEO Gavin Edley, â€˜but we’re really excited to see the results from these stores, and then we’ll look towards rolling the concept out Nationwide later in 2014, targeting other commuting environments like airports and bus stops too’.
Customers wanting to use the new stores will have to own an NFC enabled smartphone device, or have a QR code app installed in order to â€˜tap’ or â€˜scan’ products from Vitalife’s shelves into their online baskets.
The concept was developed by Vitalife in partnership with QR and NFC specialist Linktagger, after they realised the limitations and financial hurdles involved in opening traditional â€˜bricks and mortar’ stores on the high street.
â€˜We are a small company, with limited funding and big ambitions, so we have to be smart about the way we try to grow and develop’ said Edley, â€˜so we thought, how can we compete with the big players in the health product retail market without millions of pounds to throw at opening new stores? The answer is to be smarter about approaching our customers, and connect with them in new, innovative, and more cost-effective ways — with virtual stores being one of these approaches’.
More information can be found about Vitalife Health at www.vitalifehealth.com
Press contact: Gavin Edley
Email: [email protected]