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Tesco launches UK's first virtual supermarket at Gatwick airport

Tesco has launched the UK's first virtual supermarket at Gatwick airport in the hope bored holidaymakers waiting for their flights will want to order a delivery for when they return.

The country's biggest supermarket chain wants to cash in on the rise of smartphone users and has set up 10 screens in the airport's departure lounge with images of its most popular products. Customers can then scan the items with their phone to create a virtual shopping list and order a delivery for shortly after they arrive back home following their break.

Currently, nearly one in seven online grocery orders involve the use of a smartphone – such as an iPhone or Android device – in an overall market worth an estimated £4.5bn. Tesco controls around half of all online grocery orders.

Showing off the new screens at Gatwick's north terminal, where they will be for a two-week trial, internet retailing director Ken Towle said a similar scheme launched last year in South Korea for commuters to order groceries at railway and bus stations had been a huge success.

He said: "We got a lot of interest in our Korean sites and it went viral, so we wanted to see if customers would use this, with a view to launching at more airports."

Around 50% of the population have a smartphone and this is set to increase to 90% within five years.

Tesco relaunched its website this year and said online orders account for "high-single digits" of total revenues, thought to be around £5bn a year.

On Monday morning not everyone at Gatwick was impressed. Lisa McDougall, 42, who was travelling to Spain with her young family, said: "I do a lot of online shopping but wouldn't do it at the airport. I couldn't see myself doing the shopping when I'm in holiday mode."

Mike Cameron, 50, travelling to Edinburgh agreed. He said: "The last thing you want to do when you're going on holiday is start thinking about coming back."

Source : Simon Neville -

08 August 2012
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