Tesco the UKs largest retailer has been showcasing a range of its latest interactive technology products at its company conference; the Virtual Mirror, the Endless Aisle and its Virtual Merchandising technology were available for attendees to try out.
The Virtual Mirror overlays a digital signage screen over a normal mirror. You see your reflection in the mirror and you can try on digital versions of in store products. You can mix and match the virtual product to see whether products will go together on you.
Mike McNamara, Chief Information Officer, runs technology for Tesco. He says that this interactive innovation will ‘transform retail over the next few years’. Tesco intends to install the Virtual Mirror in three of its stores.
The installations include a mirror in the section selling children's clothes. Kids will ‘love’ the Kinect Xbox- like experience according to McNamara.
The Endless Aisle will also be geared towards the persuasive power of a child when considering a purchase. The Aisle will be placed in the Toys section of the store. It is another form of digital signage with products that can be filtered by age, gender and price.
"With Christmas approaching, we’re sure plenty of children will be encouraging mum and dad to stop and have a look".
The 80 inch touch screen allows you to swipe to find the product you require, rotate the view by swiping across the screen and buy the product if you can not find it on the shelves.
You can purchase by using your device to scan a QR code on the screen, or by sending an SMS text message and receiving a web link.
Virtual Merchandising allows Tesco to build a 3D virtual representation of the store packed with virtual products onto virtual shelves.
The brand can try different combinations of products to see that they will look like in reality -- to make it as easy as possible for customers to purchase goods. This saves the effort of manually stacking shelves in different configurations to see what they will look like.
This is not the first time that Tesco has trialled virtual stores.
In August, Tesco trialled a virtual grocery store at London’s Gatwick Airport, Travellers could order products to be delivered the day that travellers returned from holiday.
The Gatwick Airport concept for airline passengers is the same as the virtual store created in South Korean subway stations.
In South Korea Tesco operates under its brand name Tesco Homeplus. Creating an opportunity to do online shopping in subway stations increased new registered members by 76 per cent and online sales by 130 per cent.
The displays looked exactly the same as at a real store, but instead of physically picking up the goods, smartphones and QR codes were used to put the product in to the online shopping cart. Groceries were delivered after the worker returned home – in minutes rather than in days.
Putting touch screens in physical stores and allowing shoppers to try on virtual clothes and purchase items not currently in stock captures all opportunities to buy.
Tesco’s UK General Merchandise Director, Neela Mukherjee, said:
“This giant screen makes use of a single section of the store to offer shoppers access to an enormous range of toys, like being able to stroll down the longest aisle in the world.
It’s also a really fun way to get a close look at what’s available and, with Christmas approaching, we’re sure plenty of children will be encouraging mum and dad to stop and have a look.”
The Endless Aisle will gives Tesco shoppers an immersive and engaging shopping experience.
Taking your kids to the supermarket will now bring an extra set of challenges as they find new ways to persuade you to spend your hard earned cash.