Tesco trials virtual grocery shopping at Gatwick Airport

Images: Gatwick Airport

By Louise Driscoll, Terminal U

Tesco wants travellers to have mobile shopping, rather than passports on their minds at the airport. The supermarket chain is experimenting with a virtual store at Gatwick’s North Terminal. Tesco predicts it could be “the future of shopping.” And travellers are now getting a taste of it.

The supermarket giant has opened the UK’s first virtual grocery ‘store’ at London Gatwick airport to bring its products to smartphone users in the hope that it can convert waiting passengers into shoppers.

Holidaymakers passing through Gatwick’s North Terminal can scan everyday Tesco items on new wall-sized tablets by scanning bar codes beside each product using their smartphones. They can then pay for their goods, and arrange for home delivery when they return from holiday.

The virtual store is limited to 80 everyday items and those who use the service will need to be registered with Tesco.com and download its app from the App Store to be able to scan the product barcodes. Tesco is trialling the service until August 19th before deciding whether it will expand the virtual store to other crowded public spaces.

The UK’s biggest supermarket chain has already seen success with the idea overseas. Tesco’s Korean affiliate, ‘Home Plus’ has created virtual storefronts on walls in subways stations in South Korea, allowing commuters to shop with their smartphones and have their food delivered to their door when they get home. Shoppers scan a product’s QR code with their smartphone and the item is instantly added to their basket.

Whether holidaymakers will warm to the idea at an airport remains to be seen.

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