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Have you ever seen something advertised on a bus stop or subway billboard and thought to yourself “I want one of those right now”?
While the days of the object of your desire materializing in your hands right then and there are still the stuff of science fiction, a recently announced joint venture between Walmart, Proctor & Gamble and the City of Toronto is moving us one step closer to this instant gratification, on-demand reality with some mobile-enabled, high tech advertising.
Spendthrift shoppers who thought they were safe from impulse buying once they were out of the actual confines of the brick and mortar store will have to think again. Bus riders (or anyone walking past a bus stop) in Toronto will soon be able to scan QR codes from their mobile devices that will enable them to immediately purchase Proctor & Gamble household items including detergent, shampoo and toothpaste from over 50 bus stops around the metropolitan area and have the items shipped directly to their homes for free.
Commuters at a bus stop are certainly a captive audience and virtually everyone is on their mobile devices while they wait for transit anyway. Furthermore, these virtual stores are to be featured in densely-populated, urban locations where shoppers normally don’t have access to the large physical “big box” stores we all associate with Walmart and often complain of inflated prices at the retailers they do have access to.
Time will tell whether this four week trial run will be a success, but you can be sure other retailers will be monitoring it. Don’t be surprised to find companies like Target or Toys”R“Us following suit if it turns out to be another way to reach customers. It’s not hard to imagine a harried parent using a few precious minutes while waiting for the bus in the morning to do some Christmas shopping for their children without having to fight the crowds at an actual toy store. These kinds of ventures are a perfect example of how today’s mobile devices are putting the notion to rest that certain activities and habits must remain connected to “traditional” places and times.
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