Coming home from holiday is bad enough, without the added hassle of returning to an empty fridge. Today at Gatwick Airport, Tesco is revealing a new solution, by opening the UK’s first interactive virtual grocery store in Gatwick’s North Terminal.
The Gatwick opening builds on Tesco’s launch of the world’s first virtual store in South Korea last year, an innovation which 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 trialling the concept for the first time in the UK, but this time using interactive digital displays.
The Gatwick virtual store will allow 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 will be able to 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 holiday with a delivery date bookable up to three weeks ahead.
There will be 4 interactive fridges in the virtual store pilot and 6 digital sites positioned around the departure lounge for passengers to use. Sliding screens on each ‘fridge’ (or cupboard) can be scrolled by hand. Customers can browse the products by touching the screens and then scan product barcodes to add them to their basket. There are around 80 products featured, carefully chosen to enable customers to make a full shop (milk, eggs, bread, cheese, pasta, sauce, chicken, cereal, fruit, vegetables etc). Customers need to download the Tesco app from the App Store, Google Play or Android Market to scan products using their smartphone. This takes around 2 minutes. They also need to register with Tesco.com.
Tesco is the first retailer to offer passengers a service of this kind. Around 30,000 people depart from Gatwick’s 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 don’t have to make a trip to the shops on their way home.
The virtual store will be open for business in Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal departure lounge during the two busiest weeks of the year, from 6th August – 19th August. Staff will be on hand to help customers with the scanning and ordering process on their smartphones*.