1000 ‘Virtual Supermarkets’ To Open In China

[Updated:Clarifcation of the stores process has been listed below at the request of Yihoadian. Our original source incorrectly stated how the process works]

Chinese retailer Yihaodian is launching 1,000 supermarkets that will not supply items directly at their locations.

According to the company:

In a guerilla stunt, Yihaodian has just launched 1000 stores overnight. These stores are located at some of China’s most iconic landmark locations as well as directly in front of Yihaodian’s offline competitor brick mortar supermarket stores.

The interesting twist is that these Yihaodian stores are not real brick mortar stores. They are virtual 3D stores. Consumers can only see, visit and shop in them by using the Yihaodian Virtual Store App while being physically at one of the 1000 locations. The goods will then be paid for online and delivered immediately.

These location-tagged virtual stores have just launched in iconic areas of Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Each of the stores is packed with promotional discount coupons and high-value, free gift vouchers that are just waiting to be claimed by shoppers. We even have a store at Tiananmen Square…

After items are selected the customers purchase is delivered to the customers home later in the day.

While the “stores” will not actually stock products they won’t be small, featuring approximately 13,000 square feet of space at some of their historic locations, enough virtual space for upwards of 1,000 items.

According to Tencent Technology News these “Unlimited Yihaodian” stores will allow customers to avoid long wait lines in a country that is very familiar with overcrowding in its supermarkets.

virtual code shopping is already implemented at some Chinese subway stations and it is partially because of that virtual code success that the new program is launching.

The virtual supermarket is not a new concept,the UK supermarket chain Tesco implemented a similar program for its HomePlus brand. The Tesco program offered virtual shopping in subway stations throughout South Korea.

The Tesco program eventually went on to open a kiosk in Gatwick Airport which allows for delivery of goods at a later time.

In the United States customers have opted for a more direct approach, same-day shipping which is now being tested by both Amazon and Walmart.

Whether or not customers will be willing to pay additional fees to have items shipped to their home the same day is yet to be seen.

Do you like the idea of virtual supermarkets?