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Tesco Trials the UK's First Virtual Store

Published on Aug 7 2012 10:34 AM in Technology

Tesco Trials the UK's First Virtual Store

For the next two weeks, travellers at London's Gatwick airport can order groceries from Tesco for delivery on their return. The retailer's new interactive virtual store allows people to shop with their smartphones as they wait to board their flights.

'Come home to a full fridge' is Tesco's tagline for its two-week trial of what is being called the UK's first virtual grocery store. Located in the departure lounge at Gatwick's North Terminal, the 'store' comprises of four interactive screens that consumers touch to reveal shelves carrying 80 products. By scanning an item's barcode with their smartphones, customers can create a virtual shopping list and order groceries to be delivered when they get home from their holidays.

"It's all about trying to make busy people's lives that much easier" said Mandy Minichello, senior marketing manager for, "You can order your groceries before you go on holiday and have them delivered when you get back."

The project is similar to the retailer's trial of the world's first virtual grocery store in a South Korean train station last year. "We got a lot of interest in our Korean sites and it went viral, so we wanted to see if customers would use this, with a view to launching at more airports", Ken Towle, Tesco's internet retailing director said.

It has been announced that Tesco has a minority stake in a new chain of artisanal coffee shops being rolled out, named Harris and Hoole. The chain will be operated by the Australian siblings behind the Taylor Street coffee shop chain, but Jonathan Lloyd, Tesco company secretary, and project manager Michael Holmes are listed as directors of Harris and Hoole. The first branch is to open at the end of the month in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. (9 Aug)

© 2012 - ESM: European Supermarket Magazine

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