Tesco Wants You to Do Your Shopping By Just Scanning Virtual Shelves With Your Phone

By Sam Gibbs on at

Grocery shopping's such a bore, but what if you could just whip out your smartphone, take pictures of what you want, and have it delivered direct to your humble abode. That's what Tesco wants you to do on your way through Gatwick.

The supermarket giant has set up the UK's first virtual grocery store with 10 screens in the North Terminal of Gatwick, each featuring some of its most popular items -- bananas and that kind of thing. Shoppers grab their iPhone or Android, fire up the Tesco app and blip away, adding what they want to their virtual basket. The idea is that you browse on the screens, scan what you need, and arrange delivery for when you get back home, when, of course, there's nothing left in the house that's edible after your excursion to the Sun.

Tesco first tried this last year in South Korea, lining bus and train stations with the world's first virtual shelves, where people went nuts for it. The screens will stay up and operational for a two-week trial in Gatwick to gauge Britain's interest, with a possible roll out to other travel hotspots, should it prove a success.

While it's certainly a novelty, it seems a bit too much of crummy gimmick for day-to-day real-life use. Surely this is going to take even longer than just online shopping from your phone? I guess it's more of a visual experience, combining browsing with online shopping, but what if Tesco doesn't shove up a picture of the quinoa or cayenne pepper you so desperately need for your post-holiday master cleanse? How could you cope?

Mind you, if Tesco roll this out to train stations, and manage same day delivery, you could do your shop on your daily commute while waiting for your forever-delayed train, and get it delivered when you got home in the evening -- that could be killer.