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No more empty fridges after travel, Tesco launches virtual grocery shopping at Gatwick

Aug 07, 2012 6:10 pm

Skift Take

The future of airport/travel is in making your in-market experience better, and Gatwick is a strategic local airport choice.

— Rafat Ali

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Tesco says holidaymakers need not come home to an empty fridge any more, as they can order products at the airport before flying out and have them delivered when they return.

Tesco has come up with a solution to the problem of getting home from your holiday and finding the fridge empty.

The supermarket has unveiled the UK’s first interactive virtual grocery store at Gatwick Airport, enabling outbound travellers to choose products and book a home delivery slot for their return.

Customers will be able to view a range of items by scrolling through moving screens on large virtual fridges.

By scanning the barcodes with their smartphones, they can add products to their online baskets.

The interactive store has opened at Gatwick’s North Terminal for the two busiest flying weeks of the year, this week and next.

The supermarket suggests that passengers could use their average 70 minutes of downtime while waiting for flights constructively by shopping for groceries.

The opening follows Tesco’s launch of the world’s first virtual store in South Korea last year, which allowed commuters to shop in subways and at bus stops by pointing their mobile phones at billboards.

Ken Towle, Tesco’s internet retailing director, 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.”

In April, Tesco announced its first fall in domestic profits for at least 25 years.

The retailer suffered from a major loss of customers in the UK over Christmas as they defected to rival chains, prompting a major profit warning in January.

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