Tesco Does M-Commerce On The Subway Wall--Literally

In an impressively creative mobile-payment deployment in South Korea, Tesco has embedded QR codes in actual huge pictures of its shelves and then pasted those photos onto subway walls. Customers use their phones to scan and pay for the captured images, thereby selecting their groceries while waiting for their trains. The groceries are then delivered by the time they return home. In South Korea, Tesco markets itself as Homeplus.

This approach is brilliant on so many levels. Not only is it replacing the cost of putting up new stores, but it addresses the relative smallness of images on a mobile phone. The images exist in these beautiful—and gigantic—high-resolution full-color pictures. All the phone's screen does is display the text and thumbnail of the purchased item. Signal repeaters guarantee excellent speed and connectivity. And Tesco, and its customers, is leveraging the dead time of waiting for a train and turning it into productive shopping time. True technology leaders merely deploy quickly. They think through how the technology could work. There's no rule that says mobile images must appear on the mobile screen.