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Virtual store technology is just starting to gain some traction and has the potential to be the next “online shopping.” What started as a glorified QR code system is now becoming a full service system with practical use for retail sales and a data retrieval tool detailing consumer’s spending habits.

The process is rather simple; a patron downloads the particular shopping app, scans the barcodes of the products they need from the façade of a virtual store shelf with over 500 products, checks out through the smart phone app, and the order is placed to be delivered to their household by the end of the day.

As of now the concept is most widely being used for brand research. A virtual store “Allows marketers and retailers to test new products, packaging, pricing, displays, as well as product assortment, location and overall store layout.”

Companies starting to explore the virtual store concept as a market research, business development, and predictive tool are Procter & Gamble, and Kraft Foods Snacks & Confectioner. Even Wal-Mart announced plans to include “Virtual store environments as a component of its marketing research efforts.”

Overall, “Virtual store environments in the retail industry are being used to learn about shopper behavior; and that knowledge can translate into increased sales in the real world.”

Sources:

http://phys.org/news/2011-08-korea-chain-virtual-subway-station.html http://www.greenbookblog.org/2011/12/13/virtual-stores-drive-real-sales/

Written by Kyle Fisher, fall 2014 intern. 

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