Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/08/07/tesco_virtual_grocery_shoppingt/

Tesco helps high flyers avoid actual shops

Bored airport punters can pluck fruit from 'virtual fridges' for delivery

By Brid-Aine Parnell

Posted in CIO, 7th August 2012 11:02 GMT

UK grocery giant Tesco has devised a new way to ensure people don't actually have to enter its many stores – by setting up a glowing virtual shop slab at the airport.

Woman uses Tesco virtual shop

Customers making their way through London Gatwick's Airport can now distract themselves from bickering and boozy fellow passengers when flights are delayed by doing a spot of grocery shopping at a virtual kiosk. The goods can be delivered to their homes upon their return.

Tesco reckons the experience in the airport's North Terminal will combine actually browsing with the convenience of online shopping. (The main reason to actually go shopping these days is to try to ensure that the food that gets delivered isn't just about to go off, but Tesco didn't mention anything about virtually squeezing fruit or virtually smelling meat.)

To use the virtual shopping pillar, customers will whip out their smartphones and scan the barcodes of their products into their online baskets, then book a delivery slot and checkout. In other words, it's precisely like shopping online, except you'll be able to look like you're from the future as you wave your phone over the bright and shiny pictures.

Tesco has already dabbled in virtual shopping in South Korea, which allowed commuters to shop with their phones from billboards in subways and bus stops. ®