By Peter Alagos
Vodafone’s newly-launched virtual store experience has bolstered Qatar’s reputation as one of the countries that has the highest penetration of smart devices globally, a company official said on Sunday.
Vodafone Qatar head of Innovation Khalifa al-Haroon led the launching of Scan&Go – Qatar’s first virtual store experience after the opening of the ITU Telecom World 2014, which runs from December 7 to 10 at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC).
Al-Haroon explained that customers can use Scan&Go to browse, shop, and purchase the latest smartphones, subscribe to prepaid or postpaid plans, recharge prepaid credit, or get mobile Internet and international cards on a virtual wall, kiosk, or a pop-up store.
To use Scan&Go, customers must download any QR code reader app, which they could use to scan a code linked to any Vodafone product or pre-paid and post-paid services.
“We were the first in Qatar to offer this service, which fuses the physical and digital world. Customers can now shop for Vodafone products and services at the push of a button,” al-Haroon said.
He added, “Even if our shops are closed or even if customers are not physically present inside our stores, they can still enjoy retail convenience. With Scan&Go, we’re open even when we’re closed.”
Al-Haroon explained Scan&Go’s versatility: “We can convert a bus stop into a virtual store or project these virtual stores onto walls, even on the great pyramids of Giza, on top of a skyscraper, or in the middle of the desert.”
Customers also have the option to pick-up their purchases or home delivery, al-Haroon said. Payments via credit card are also accepted via Vodafone mobile shop as well as cash on delivery.
“For customers who are not comfortable paying with credit cards, they could always opt to pay in cash for both pick-up and home delivery,” he said.
According to al-Haroon, Scan&Go was showcased at ITU Telecom World 2014 as a proof of concept but will soon be rolled-out at key entertainment locations in Qatar by the middle of this month.
Citing the ICT Landscape 2014 report of ictQatar, al-Haroon said 92% of households in Qatar own smartphones, outranking Singapore with 83%, Sweden (81%), the UK (67%), UAE (77%), Saudi Arabia (74%), and Germany (61%).
Similarly, 69% of Qatar households own tablets while in Singapore only 42% have one. Figures for other countries like the UK, Germany, Sweden, South Korea, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia are below 30%.
“As phones get ‘smarter,’ they have increased functionality. Because Qatar has one of the highest smart devices penetration levels in the world, we, at Vodafone, decided to help customers turn their smart handset into a gateway to newer, exciting, and convenient experiences,” al-Haroon said.
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