Yihaodian is an online grocery shop in China (Wikipedia).

It is quite popular amongst the busy white- collar workers who like their groceries be delivered to their home on.

However most people still used to and prefer to shop in traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

Steal customers from the much bigger brick- and-mortar super store like Tesco, Metro and Carrefour.

We opened 1,000 stores in China’s most strategic locations. And we opened them overnight. Those stores were made of pixels and bytes and accessible with a smartphone. Shoppers downloaded a location based (LBS) augmented reality (AR) app and followed these steps:

Each store measured 40 x 40 meters. The 1000 stores covered an aera of 1.6 million square meters. We placed the stores around China’s first and second tier cities on high-traffic locations such as the Central Business District, large residential condominium compounds and near subway stations. This gave us far more commercial real estate than all of our competitors have.

First we spread the word with our fans on Weibo, Chinese version of Twitter.

Then we launched a promotional video on Youku and Tudou, Chinese versions of Youtube.

Also we held a press conference and sent a press release.

The combination of online shopping and traditional in-store shopping hit a nerve with consumers in China and Yihaodian's revenue increased 17% over a 3 months period.

The promotional video got around 2 million views across several video sharing sites. (Watch original video here http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNDYxOTAyODEy.html)

Hundreds of media covered the idea including highly influential local titles like China Daily and people.com.cn and international media like Wired, Bloomberg, FastCompany and others. The campaign generated an estimated 2 million USD media coverage.

Its an interesting concept, fusing the best of online shopping (…) with the best of the relatively normal act of walking around a store. … think of it as e-commerce but where the 'e' also means excercise.

yahoo news

The idea of using dead urban spaces as retail areas, while avoiding any building and personnel costs sounds like a promising one. In space-challenged China, the stores have another benefit: they could reduce urban sprawl by replacing real stores with virtual ones.