Photos: Tesco pilots 'virtual store' for Gatwick airport travellers

Photos: Tesco pilots 'virtual store' for Gatwick airport travellers

Summary: The supermarket has set up virtual fridges and cupboards around the airport to let travellers browse and buy using a smartphone app, then have the food delivered the day they return


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  • Shoppers need to go to to download the app for iPhone and Android handsets.

    The app allows people to add products to an online basket, book a delivery slot and make a payment. Delivery dates are limited to a maximum of three weeks from booking.

    The shopping baskets are processed in the same way as on the site.

    The supermarket said it had decided to have customers order via screens rather than directly via the app to make sure they bought everything they needed.

    "The browsing means that people are reminded of other things they need as they search the fridge and cupboard shelves, as they would do in a real store." Tesco told ZDNet.

    "This also is likely to target a younger audience, as in Korea, the 'digital natives' who see little difference between stores and websites," it added.

    Image credit: Tesco

  • Tesco developed the smartphone app in-house. Its mobile engineering team used the iPhone SDK and Objective C for the Apple handset, and the Android SDK.

    Other British supermarkets have come out with grocery shopping apps, though none has set up interactive displays. Most do not use barcode scanning, apart from online grocer Ocado, which has an Android app with barcode scanner for home use.

    Image credit: Tesco

  • The displays have 70-inch interactive screens capable of touch, mobile and augmented-reality interaction, according to Tesco.

    The 6-feet-tall displays feature Eye's Interactive Digital Eyelites, which run on software and analytics developed by Monster Media.

    Image credit: Tesco

Topics: Mobility, Apps, Smartphones

Tom Espiner

About Tom Espiner

Tom is a technology reporter for He covers the security beat, writing about everything from hacking and cybercrime to threats and mitigation. He also focuses on open source and emerging technologies, all the while trying to cut through greenwash.

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  • Why So Many Screens?

    I don't understand why they actually need the big screens. Since they need a smartphone app anyway, why can't it do the display of the goods as well?

    I mean, one machine displaying information on a screen that another machine then has to read?
  • Better app

    Big screens in the airport or supermarkets are just visual pollution especially if they are built with blindingly bright lights. Better if they create a smart TV app for my LG smart TV or a better smartphone iPhone app which could be a preferred way of grocery shopping.