Virtual supermarkets allow travelers to come home to fresh groceries

We all know the feeling. You arrive home late after a long trip, exhausted and hungry, to find the kitchen completely barren.

Well, here’s a novel solution. Gatwick airport in London has unveiled “virtual supermarkets” – touchscreen shopping terminals where departing passengers can order home-delivered groceries.

Virtual Store in Gatwick Airport

In partnership with Tesco, Britain’s largest retailer, Gatwick has installed the big touchscreens in various departure lounges. With a swipe of the hand, you can scroll through a list of around 80 items, including milk, bread, eggs, cheese, fruit and vegetables.

To buy, you can simply scans the bar code with the your smartphone. (You need the Tesco app first.) Payment is made electronically, and home delivery can be scheduled up to three weeks after purchase.

A similar concept is already in action in South Korea, where Tesco has installed grocery-ordering billboards in subway stations and bus stops.

Encouraged by the success of virtual supermarkets in Korea, Tesco clearly has big plans for Britain and the world beyond. According to Ken Towle, the company’s retail director, “Our business in Korea is teaching us a lot about how customers and technology are transforming shopping.”

We suspect it won’t be long until virtual supermarkets show up on our side of the pond. What’s your opinion – is this useful technology? Would you do your grocery shopping in an airport?

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