New virtual grocery store at London's Gatwick Airport

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.

Source: BBC | Images via Gizmodo.co.uk

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7 Comments

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Even in a virtual store it is hard to get things from the top shelves. How do you expect those girls to get that pineapple?

FMH said,
Even in a virtual store it is hard to get things from the top shelves. How do you expect those girls to get that pineapple?

pineapplesareyummy

I have always enjoyed, okay, USUALLY enjoyed grocery shopping. That said, we have been using Fresh Direct here in NYC for 5+ years and love it. There are a handful of issues with FD, but it can be great to watch tv and grocery shop at our leisure. Everywhere we go people want this option and I have a feeling that Amazon will be going into this market.

Amazon?!

I shop online for food at supermarkets I would normally go to because I consider their products to be good - mainly applicable for fresh foods such as veg & meat.

Personally speaking I wouldn't give a company like Amazon a go as they work out of warehouses shipping electronics etc, they don't have a background of food transport or sourcing. People may go for it though as they are a household name.

MothBox said,
Amazon?!

I shop online for food at supermarkets I would normally go to because I consider their products to be good - mainly applicable for fresh foods such as veg & meat.

Personally speaking I wouldn't give a company like Amazon a go as they work out of warehouses shipping electronics etc, they don't have a background of food transport or sourcing. People may go for it though as they are a household name.

Fresh Direct is a warehouse based company with no physical storefront and the food is fresh, and it should be noted that the food that is in basically all grocery stores comes from a central warehouse before it hits the shelves.

I think that you are correct in that there will be some (lots?) of skepticism with Amazon doing grocery, but then they already do some.

Just my prediction.

We've started online grocery shopping recently.

I have to say, there is something about physically walking around a shop and picking up items that I prefer (aside when super markets decide to move things around for no reason... well, to disrupt your usual habits really). You get to know the store layout and items which you're not specifically looking for, say a new product or a luxury item stands out. I'm not saying impulse items but we usually buy some different stuff every week at our house.

I know it's a corny concept but It'd be nice if the big online supermarkets had an optional virtual store with stuff laid out in 3D as though it was a supermarket. There's something about spatially remembering a layout of items, over simply remembering a list of things. Sure, there are certain items you want to buy every week, which is usually just a copy and paste job/a saved shopping cart, but after that, it feels more arduous to find anything else online, vs actually going into a shop.

This virtual store in the article is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. Pages and pages of items with no related theme. Even when you do a search for an item, you get bombarded with a slew of irrelevant items mixed with what you want. That's unless you always go with the same brand and search for EXACTLY what you want.

Interesting comment, I'm inclined to agree. I actually rather enjoy food shopping - especially seeing and smelling fresh fruit and vegetables.