Every generation needs a new revolution.
— Thomas Jefferson
Eastern medical traditions have truly become a mainstay as the limitations of western medicine become increasingly apparent. In much the same way, the East might provide a cure for the post-GFC hangover as western corporations continue to flounder.

Consider South Korea, comparable in size to Iceland yet precariously placed between China and Japan. Nonetheless it has quickly grown into one of the world’s largest economies elevating South Korea to one of the Four Asian Tiger economies alongside Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong. It’s capital, Seoul, is the world’s second largest metropolitan city hosting over 10 million hard-working residents. So hard-working in fact, that the hassle of grocery shopping is getting in the way of everyday life. 

South Korean marketplaces sometimes resemble a post-Christmas sale as consumers clamber over basic necessities. The problem in this case not being limited supply of goods but time. Nonetheless most South Korean’s accept this as an inconvenient yet necessary hassle of life.

UK based retailing giant Tesco might seem out of place in this environment yet has a firm goal to become the No.1 retailer in South Korea. The retailing giant posts a $90 million in revenue from its global grocery and general merchandise business. It is second only to Wal-Mart with operations in 14 countries and nearly half a million staff. Tesco ambitious goals to become No.1 in South Korea are supported with a corporate culture for innovation and creativity that has fast tracked its success.

Currently South Korea’s second largest retailer, Tesco commissioned cultural/social profiling of the local market to find that South Koreans are the second hardest working community in the world. More importantly this scientific research offered not only answers, but opportunity. Recognising that people struggled to visit their store, Tesco brought the store to the people. Expanding In addition to the usual online shopping portal, Tesco posted supermarket style posters in subway stations allowing South Koreans to do their virtual shopping literally on the way home. 

Two dimensional QR barcodes, like the one pictured left, are displayed on each grocery item and using a smart phone, shoppers simply scan what they require into a e-shopping cart. The shopper is then free to continue on their journey where their home delivered groceries will be waiting for them. Online shopping has become ‘so 2010’, this new user-centric experience is the future of everyday shopping.

For Tesco, this new addition to their online shopping portfolio has lead to to 130% growth whilst also strengthening the regular retail channel. The valuable lesson Tesco have learned from culturally diverse marketing is available to us all for free. Firstly identify and remove your own cultural blind spots to truly understand the target market needs and nuances. Then fire up innovation and creativity to develop a unique solution that will propel you to greatness.