Going Mobile with Virtual Toy Stores

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In the busy holiday shopping season, consumers do not always have enough free time to go to stores and shop. How can companies help these harried shoppers? Instead of bringing consumers to the store, how can marketers bring the stores to the consumers? Easy – by using new technologies and mobile commerce.

Similar to the Tesco virtual store that was in a Seoul subway station last year, Canadian firm Wells.ca tested a similar QR-enabled store in a Toronto rail station earlier this year. By placing life-sized posters of products, along with prices and QR codes, consumers could easily shop as part of their daily work commute.

Wal-Mart is also testing a similar idea in Toronto as part of its partnership with Mattel toys. The two companies will have a pop-up virtual toy store for shoppers to buy Mattel brands such as Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-price, and more. Shoppers can scan a QR code by using their smart phones to purchase the toys.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

1. Divide students into groups. Have each group outline some of the issues that shoppers face in the holiday season. How can companies address these issues?
2. Show the video of virtual shopping in a Toronto subway station:
http://youtu.be/mxfzmMTAAmE
3. View the Wal-Mart 2012 toy selection video:
http://youtu.be/9klp0Vo1rFE
4. In groups, have students list some of the concerns and issues that need to be addressed for the virtual stores (ex: supply chain, stock, shipping, etc.)
5. Have students list other applications of the virtual stores.
6. Where could they be placed? What products or services could utilize the format?
7. How can use of this technology be integrated into marketing campaigns?

Source:  Brandchannel.com., 11/6/12, other news outlets

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