Online shopping is being used in many countries around the world and its use is becoming more widespread each year. In emerging countries such as India, the e-commerce market is growing rapidly with over three thousand e-commerce centers found online. Recently, businesses in South Korea have taken online shopping to the next level by allowing people to shop in virtual supermarkets with their smartphone.

In popular transit locations, businesses in South Korea have built electronic billboards that resemble advertisements with hundreds of pictures of food and beverages. However, these pictures are not advertisements. They are products that are being sold by virtual grocery stores and can be bought directly from your smartphone using a simple application. The smartphone scans the picture of the desired grocery item on the billboard and then takes you to a screen that allows you to select the quantity of the product at the given price. The order is then delivered to your residence that same evening.

Earlier this year, the number of smartphone subscribers in South Korea passed 10 million, up from a few hundred thousand in 2009. Many South Koreans are quick to adapt to new technology making the virtual grocery stores very successful thus far. Companies in South Korea are already planning to introduce this business model in other countries as well. While these virtual supermarkets won’t replace physical grocery stores, they will offer a new business model that grant consumers more shopping opportunities.

The shopping by phone business model can also be applied to other business types and strategies. For example, international businesses can market their products abroad by simply constructing the electronic billboards designed to allow people to purchase products directly from their phone. These electronic product postings can be updated online to show which items are currently being offered by the company. With this model in place, businesses can reach many more local, regional, or even international markets if the supply chain permits. There are many implications for the shopping by phone business model and it will definitely be interesting to see future applications of this new business strategy.

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