Tuesday, October 18, 2011

NU6 by ML - A new way to shop using QR codes

A new way to shop for groceries: by ML

Many people are living very fast paced lifestyles that require them to take advantage of every waking moment in order to make the most out of their days. I would have to say that I am one of those people. I hate time wasters and I try to find more efficient ways to do my essential tasks. One of the most tiresome tasks for me is going grocery shopping. The entire process of going to the grocery, walking down numerous isles to search for the things I need, lining up by the cashier to pay for everything, and lugging my purchases to the car or taxi cab are so time consuming and tedious for me.

We can take advantage of QR codes, which most smart phones can read in order to make grocery shopping fast, easy, and effortless. QR codes are those two-dimensional visual codes with black and white matrix patterns. Here in the Philippines, they are usually posted on billboards and posters and used to link viewers to their promotional websites.

My idea is to create virtual grocery storefronts at places that people frequent like MRT stations, bus stations, malls, office buildings, basically any place where people are likely to pass by or hang out. These virtual grocery stores will be in the form of a huge billboard that will show a virtual display of grocery products each with a QR code at the bottom. These will work in conjunction with a mobile application created for iPhones, Android phones, Blackberry phones, and Windows phones, which are the most popular mobile phone operating systems nowadays.

The process of buying would be quick and simple... he would simply start the application on his mobile phone, scan the corresponding QR code using his phone's camera and enter how many units of the item he would like to buy. This is then saved to his virtual shopping basket and he can continue shopping by looking at the other products in the billboard and scanning the corresponding QR codes of the items he would also like to buy. After he is done shopping, he can save these purchases to his account which he can then review on his computer when he gets home or purchase them right then and there through his mobile phone, using a credit card preregistered to his secure account. No more fiddling with cash or credit card numbers. The grocery items are then delivered to his doorstep the following day. The virtual grocery store need not charge for delivery since it can offset its delivery costs with the eliminated costs of maintaining a huge grocery store and employing a lot of grocery attendants. Perhaps it can just impose a minimum purchase amount similar to what restaurants do when they deliver. Aside from this, they can charge merchants for premium product placement in its virtual grocery storefronts. This would create more passive income for the company.

I also have a few more ideas to enhance the mobile phone application to make it even easier for users to purchase items.
  • The ability to create offline shopping list
  • Location based reminders to notify the user when he is in the vicinity of a virtual grocery storefront
  • The ability to save previous purchases for easy one-click re-ordering
  • Promotional notifications sent to the user featuring discounted items and other promos
  • Recommendation services where users can post reviews of items they purchased and read reviews for items they are interested in purchasing
This process could essentially convert our weekly or monthly grocery chore into something we can accomplish within a few minutes. With this system, we can even transform our grocery shopping into something resembling a just in time practice, only buying things which we immediately need and eliminating waste related to buying in bulk. All in all, this system would make grocery shopping almost enjoyable and certainly not tiresome for me anymore. 4 Who wrote this please?