Chinese Retailer Yihaodian Launches 1,000 'Stores' Overnight

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virtual grocery store

Chinese retailer Yihaodian takes its battle for customers to the real world, with a clever guerilla stunt by Ogilvy & Mather. The company "launched" 1,000 stores seemingly overnight, located in front of Chinese landmarks, and in some cases, in front of brick-and-mortar supermarkets.

The catch: They aren't real. They exist only in the virtual world, and consumers can see, visit or shop at them using an app ( while they are physically present at the "location."

"We want to create buzz and raise awareness of Yihaodian's more convenient shopping offer. While traditional offline retailers are desperately trying to move their businesses online, we thought we'd do just the opposite ... and give the game an interesting twist," said Ogilvy Shanghai managing director Yuan Yong in a statement.

The store works somewhat like a traditional supermarket. The augmented reality buildings are accessible via the app, which can tell whether you're actually "there" or not. Customers can browse the aisles and check out -- the goods will be delivered directly to them.

If you know Mandarin, check out a promo video for the stunt on Youku.

The stunt is the latest of Yihaodian's digital moves. It was the first of a handful of retailers who co-opted Cheil's celebrated idea of shoppable virtual store aisles. Check out the idea -- and its copycats -- on Creativity, and follow @creativitymag on Twitter for more great work.

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