Woolworths trials virtual supermarket

Woolworths trials virtual supermarket

Summary: Woolworths has opened two virtual supermarkets, one in Sydney and one in Melbourne, in a bid to plug its mobile shopping application.


Woolworths has opened two virtual supermarkets, one in Sydney and one in Melbourne, in a bid to plug its mobile shopping application.

The virtual supermarket
(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

Users of the Woolworths app for iOS and Android can go to Sydney's Town Hall station or Melbourne's Flinders Street Station where they will find 120 barcodes underneath pictures of the products on the wall, arranged like a supermarket shelf. From there, users can use the app to scan the products they want to purchase and have them shipped to a nominated address for a fee.

Users looking to use the new virtual shop space will need to be quick, however, after the supermarket's innovation program manager, Has Fakira, told ZDNet Australia that it will only be around for a week.

Fakira said that the stores would be manned by Woolworths' staff, who will assist users with their purchases and gather feedback on the virtual supermarket. From there, the initiative will be assessed on the information gathered from user surveys, iTunes reviews, social media comments and feedback into the supermarket's dedicated online shopping call centre.

"The beauty of the whole mobile initiative was based on customer feedback. We look at focus groups, how people are using the app and how they would like to, and we change it. We need to listen to our customers, they're finding ways of using technology that will help them with their lives, and we want to be there with them," Fakira said.

While Woolworths' new digital initiative still sees the company using a physical presence to plug an online store by putting up barcodes in train stations, Coles, via its Coles Express outlets in Melbourne, trialled temporary storage fridges that would hold groceries purchased by online users until they could be picked up by their owners.

Fakira said that Woolworths didn't need to consider a similar initiative thanks to extended courier hours and its click-and-collect program.

"The mobile shopping service offers you a range of delivery windows, which you can select from between 8am to 10pm. We have an option at a selected number of areas in Sydney where you can click and collect from supermarkets," he said.

Topics: Apple, E-Commerce, iPhone, Mobility

Luke Hopewell

About Luke Hopewell

A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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  • I personally don't see the point in this kind of super market if the food is being shipped, because there are many food stores and super markets that give customers the ability to shop online and get the food shipped to their house. So if they have the option of staying in their home and getting their food shipped to them or going to this virtual store most people would choose to stay home. But if the virtual store had their grocery list being prepared as they were scanning the items, then I would kind of see the point.
    • I think Claudia is right, but what I got from the article is that this is a 1 week publicity stunt that lets Woolies collect peoples opinions on on-line shopping. I don' think they see this as a serious format for permanent use.
  • Rather than go down this track what they could do is set up a real supermarket for a night then using tech like googles street view create a virtual image of the entire supermarket, this can be then accessed on line using the street view type application to VIRTUALLY walk up and down the aisle, when you find a product that you want use the zoom function to highlight it then either a mouse click or finger on the product would add it to the cart.
    • lol wtf? That's a ridiculous idea. That would just make online shopping a pain in the a**.
  • Actually, this isn't a ridiculous idea. It has already been implemented in other countries around the world, and this concept has been brought here by the new director of supermarkets from Tesco.