HERTFORDSHIRE, England - Tesco wants to make sure busy travelers donï¿½ï¿½t come home to an empty fridge.
Last week at Gatwick Airport, Tesco revealed the U.K.ï¿½ï¿½s first interactive virtual grocery store in airportï¿½ï¿½s North Terminal. The Gatwick opening builds on Tescoï¿½ï¿½s launch of the worldï¿½ï¿½s first virtual store in South Korea last year, an innovation that generated 25 million online posts around the globe. The Korean virtual store allowed commuters to shop in subways and at bus stops by pointing their mobile phones at billboards. Tesco is now testing the concept for the first time in the U.K., but this time using interactive digital displays.
The Gatwick virtual store allows passengers passing through the North Terminal to combine browsing, as they would in a physical store, with the convenience of an online grocery shop and home delivery.
Customers can view a range of everyday products by scrolling through the unique moving screens on large virtual fridges. By scanning the barcodes with their smartphones they can add their chosen products to their online baskets, book a home delivery slot and checkout. Their shopping will then be delivered when they return from their travels.
About 30,000 people depart from Gatwickï¿½ï¿½s North Terminal each day and each has an average of 70 minutes of downtime while waiting for flights. They can now use this time to ensure they donï¿½ï¿½t have to make a trip to the shops on their way home.
The virtual store is open for business in Gatwick Airportï¿½ï¿½s North Terminal departure lounge until August 19. Staff is on hand to help customers with the scanning and ordering process on their smartphones
"The virtual store blends clicks and bricks, bringing together our love of browsing with the convenience of online shopping," said Ken Towle, Tescoï¿½ï¿½s Internet retailing director. "Itï¿½ï¿½s a chance to showcase what we can do to the 30,000 people a day who will depart from Gatwickï¿½ï¿½s North Terminal, many of whom will need to fill their fridges when they get home, and weï¿½ï¿½re looking forward to hearing what they think."
There are about 80 products featured in the virtual store, each chosen to enable customers to make a full shop (milk, eggs, bread, cheese, pasta, sauce, chicken, cereal, fruit, vegetables etc.). Prior to using the store, customers will need to download the Tesco app from the App Store, Google Play or Android Market to scan products using their smartphone, and they also need to register with Tesco.com for home delivery service.