In 1999 I contributed to an article about the “for and against” of the internet. My job was to write the “for” – saying why the internet was not just a fad. At the time, the internet was basically the world wide web and email but I argued that, in future, the internet would underpin everything we do – that it would allow us to use phones for doing more than calling people, that it would allow greater use of remote applications and more.

In 1999, more people were worried about shopping online than about whether their privacy was being breached, and the idea of using a mobile phone to pay for things was laughable. Nowadays you can download an app from Argos, Tesco or another large shop and order items over the phone, but Tesco Homeplus in Korea has taken retailing full circle with a new virtual shop that is all internet driven.

Tesco Home Plus virtual shop in Seolleung subway station in southern Seoul, Korea

There is no SEO reason for me writing about this, and no real social media angle that is pertinent to Vertical Leap’s content marketing strategy. It’s just a great technology story that demonstrates how far commerce and ecommerce is changing. It also shows how important mobile devices are becoming as a feature of our daily lives.

At the Tesco Homeplus virtual store (pictured above) in Seoulleung underground station in Seoul, Korea, customers can scan the QR codes of products using the Homeplus app on their smart phone, then the items will be delivered to their home or office later.

There is a role for online web marketing to play as retailing evolves. If it becomes easier to order what you want from an app, more people will be using the internet to search for information about products before they buy, looking for consumer recommendations and social popularity, so brand awareness and visibility is going to become an ever more vital requirement for businesses.