First virtual store from Ocado opens in London

First virtual store from Ocado opens in London
The Ocado window shopping experience at One New Change

By Jon Whiteaker - 09:51AM - Thu 25th August 2011

UK-based online grocer Ocado has opened a ground breaking store concept at the One New Change shopping centre in central London this morning.

Using an innovative integrated window display, the ‘virtual pop-up shop’ allows customers to browse through products in-store, scan their barcode and then get them delivered to their door.

Although Ocado is still strictly an online-only business, this venture into physical is backed by the growing popularity of smartphones among its customers.

The retailer has reported that as of this May mobile devices were used in a staggering 15 per cent of Ocado checkouts via its On The Go application, the world’s first transactional supermarket app when it was first launched in 2009.

Jason Gissing, Ocado co-founder, said: “The virtual shop window is a bold move for Ocado and something we are very excited about.

“We hope this trial is a hit, and based on its success, we’ll be looking at options around continuing this ‘virtual window shopping’ approach in other locations UK-wide.”

The trial is running until the end of the month at the City of London site and will be accessible 24 hours a day.

To window shop at the virtual store all customers need is an iPhone or Android device which supports barcode scanning and the Ocado On The Go app which is available for free from the App Store or Android Market.

Ocado reported its first pre-tax profits in half-year results at the beginning of the summer and has also confirmed an extension of its delivery area and a new partnership with French supermarket Carrefour in recent months.

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