Australia’s Co-op Bookshop has been selling textbooks to students for 54 years and now has 41 stores across the country. However, the bookstore decided to now go digital by coming up with a virtual shop window, allowing customers to buy books using their mobile phones.
Co-op has put up a pilot virtual shop on the window of its Macquarie University store. This window shop, measuring 15 meters long and two meters high, displays or features 36 textbooks used in the top 25 course subjects for second and third year students.
Each of the book images on display is accompanied by a QR code, which, when scanned using a smartphone equipped with a QR code reader app, will allow students to purchase it without having to go inside the store and line up to pay at the cashier.
According to Greg Smith, Co-op’s chief customer officer, this window shop is their attempt at giving customers a new retail experience as well as a part of their strategic expansion model. This virtual shopping wall combines traditional with mobile and digital initiatives. Smith also acknowledges new multi-channel technologies in helping the company grow, just when others in the same business are already closing their doors and shutting down.
And aside from trying to market Co-op as a multi-channel vendor, Smith reveals that there are also plans for the company to offer tablet devices – like the upcoming Apple iPad3 and Samsung tablet – that can accommodate its digital products. It plans to carry the iPad 3 when Apple releases and to make it available to education vendors at a discount price.
In addition, Smith says that he had just signed off on Co-op’s mobile apps. These apps, which include a quick response code reader, will be available to the market within these coming months.
Co-op is planning to deploy the same virtual shopping walls in its other stores around the country.
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