Supermarket giant Tesco yesterday launched the UK’s first interactive virtual grocery store in Gatwick’s North Terminal, it has been announced.
Following last year’s successful virtual store in South Korea, which saw the retailer trial the concept before extending it across 20 bus stops around the country, the grocer has now improved the offering and included digital displays to entice holidaymakers.
Gatwick’s store will allow passengers to browse products before buying them online with the help of a barcode scanner before securing a home delivery.
Ken Towle, Internet Retailing Director at Tesco, said: “Our business in Korea is teaching us a lot about how customers and technology are transforming shopping.
“It gives us a unique window into the future and the chance to try out exciting new concepts. The virtual store blends clicks and bricks, bringing together our love of browsing with the convenience of online shopping.”
Last month, the London airport opened a restaurant facility by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, allowing visitors to enjoy a sit down dinner at Jamie’s Italian or merely ‘grab and graze’ at Jamie’s Bakery as it seeks to improve its food and retail offering.
Open during the busiest two weeks of the year as tourists flock to the UK for the London 2012 Olympic Games, the store will have staff on hand to aid customer purchases and help with ordering processes on smartphones.
Allowing customers to scroll through products on large virtual fridges, the concept also offers home delivery booking, meaning that passengers can arrange for items to be delivered when they return from holiday up to three weeks in advance.
Senior Marketing Manager for Tesco.com, Mandy Minichiello, explained that the store aims to reduce stress for busy consumers.
“As a busy working mum of two, I know that planning holidays can be stressful,” Minichiello said.
“The last thing you want is an empty fridge when you get back. When we came up with the idea for the virtual store at Gatwick, we really wanted to provide a helpful service for busy families.”