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QR codes based market thrives in China

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A shopping experience that involves scanning barcodes to make a purchases has taken off.

The first QR code store in the Zhejiang province of China’s capital, Hangzhou, is proving to be an extremely profitable and popular experience, as consumers flock to shop in this unique shop.

The items in the store each have their own unique barcode that allows them to be purchased.

Each of the physical store’s display items has its own unique QR codes that consumers can scan so that they can order the products and then pay for them online. The items, themselves, are not taken home at that point, but will be shipped to the door of the consumer. These virtual stores are beginning to make their appearances as trials and in permanent locations, all over the world.

QR Codes vs NFCThe first store based on QR codes made its way into China two years ago.

In that case, it was a shop based in Shanghai called Yihaodian. It opened a virtual grocery store based on QR codes at that time and has gone on to create a number of other ones everywhere from shopping malls to subway platform walls. All that consumers needed to do in order to complete their grocery order was scan all of the appropriate barcodes as they waited for the next train to arrive.

Similar virtual grocery stores using QR codes have appeared in Korea, Sweden, Singapore, Japan, the United States, and many others. The shops are quick and easy to open as all they require is a space on a wall that is exposed to a large number of consumers – such as those in public transit. They have been tried out by a number of different companies and consumers have shown to be very interested in the format. A company called Well.ca opened a similar virtual store in Canada but for pharmacy products, that has drawn a considerable amount of attention.

When the Hangzhou store opened in China, analysts felt that this would increase the value of the market for Chinese QR codes to over 100 billion Yuan (approximately $16.34 billion) by the close of the year 2015. Only time will tell if those figures are accurate, or if these barcodes become even more popular than the analysts expected.

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