British supermarket chain Tesco has started a trial where consumers can do their groceries in a virtual store and have them delivered at home when they return from holiday. In the departure lounge of Gatwick Airport in London, there are now 10 interactive screens with four slides displaying 80 products. There's a special app to scan each product's barcode. According to the marketing manager for Tesco.com, Mandy Minichiello, the company is pretty serious about the experiment:
We don't think it's a gimmick, it's a taste of the future. In 2016, about 90 percent of all mobiles will be smartphones. We're doing this as a trial to try to get some customer feedback. We're keen to make customers lives as easy as possible. Increasingly, they want to shop on the go.
Because mobile devices are becoming a greater part of our lives every day, companies are trying to find new ways to get a share in the mobile retail market. Mobile commerce is not entirely new to Tesco though, because the company already serves more than one million online customers. In South Korea, Tesco held a similar experiment with interactive billboards at bus stops and subways, which became a success and is now a permanent part of the company's retail strategy in the Asian country.
The trial runs from 6 to 19 August, the airport's busiest two weeks of the year. If you don't own a smartphone however, you could also buy some food in advance at your local grocery store.