You Can Now Buy Comptoir des Cotonniers Directly From Ads on Bus Shelters

Fast Retailing's latest move to revolutionize shopping? Opening 10,000 Comptoir des Cotonniers "storefronts" in one day.
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Dhani Mau
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Fast Retailing's latest move to revolutionize shopping? Opening 10,000 Comptoir des Cotonniers "storefronts" in one day.

We've heard of fast food, fast fashion, and now, apparently, there's fast shopping.

Comptoir des Cotonniers, the Paris-based and French-inspired casual retail chain owned by the same parent company as Uniqlo, announced Wednesday that it has launched a new concept that allows shoppers to purchase an item in 20 seconds from 10,000 "locations" in France.

The concept is similar to shopping from QR codes, which allow consumers to scan a square barcode on a magazine ad or billboard with their phones to learn more about a brand and potentially get directed to a website to purchase. But there are differences. First, you have to download a specific app to scan and buy the item: PowaTag, developed by London-based firm Powa Technologies. Once you do -- and store your payment and shipping details within -- you can scan and buy an item in as little as 20 seconds.

Currently, there are 10,000 points from which people can see a CdC product and purchase it, including bus shelters, café tables, Uber cars, magazines, t-shirts and tote bags.The new concept has a snappy name -- "fast shopping" (presumably inspired by Fast Retailing, CdC's parent company). It's all explained in a fun, animated way in the above video.

PowaTag, available for iOS and  Android, launched in March with nearly $100 million in funding, and according to its website, it uses Bluetooth technology, as well as QR codes and even audio sensors (depending on the environment) to determine what you're trying to buy, and stores your payment details so you can checkout quickly right then and there. CdC says you'll receive your goods within 48 hours.

At the moment, you can only "fast shop" in France and with CdC, but given that Fast Retailing is testing it, there's a good shot that if it catches on, the concept will roll out to other markets and its other brands, like Uniqlo.