Tesco launches virtual vending machine at Gatwick Airport

Coming home to find an empty fridge is just one of the many disappointments that can trigger the post-holiday blues. However, Tesco believe they may have devised an innovative new product that could solve the problem.

The supermarket giants have launched a virtual grocery store at Gatwick Airport to ease returning holidaymakers back to home life. Over the next two weeks a virtual vending machine will be on trial at the departure lounge at Gatwick Airport. The interactive device features four touch screens, which you can slide your hand across to reveal “shop” style shelves.

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Once shoppers have found what they are looking for from the assortment of 80 products, they can scan the product bar code with their smartphone device and pay via Tesco.com. The concept aims to ensure that the basket of essentials is delivered on the day that holidaymakers return home.

The virtual supermarket is being trialled at Gatwick North Terminal during one of the busiest periods of the year for the airport. Gatwick Airport predicts Friday, August 17 to be their busiest day with around 138,000 passengers expected. As tens of thousands of passengers will be passing through the terminal, Tesco is eager to take advantage of a captive audience.

Mandy Minichiello, marketing manager for Tesco.com, commented: “We don’t think it’s a gimmick – it’s a taste of the future.

“In 2016, about 90 per cent of all mobiles will be smartphones. We’re doing this as a trial to try to get some customer feedback. We’re keen to make customers lives as easy as possible.”

The virtual supermarket is said to be the future of grocery shopping as retailers continue to find innovative ways to catch up with the rapid growth of smartphones and on-the-go shopping.

“Increasingly, they want to shop on the go,” Minichiello added.

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