back to article Tesco helps high flyers avoid actual shops

UK grocery giant Tesco has devised a new way to ensure people don't actually have to enter its many stores – by setting up a glowing virtual shop slab at the airport. Woman uses Tesco virtual shop Customers making their way through London Gatwick's Airport can now distract themselves from bickering and boozy fellow …


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  1. Christoph

    What could possibly go wrong?

    "Please deliver this in two weeks time as I'm off on holiday and my house will be empty until then."

    1. Fibbles

      Re: What could possibly go wrong?

      That would make sense if:

      1) You were required to inform Tesco of your planned activities in between your order date and delivery date.

      2) Tesco were known for opportunistic burglary.

      I admit that it's asking for trouble to announce on Facebook that you will be out of the country for 2 weeks leaving your home unattended but shopping online at Tesco is hardly the same.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tesco fail

    Yeah, Tesco are really good with IT security:

    1. mark 63 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Tesco fail

      Hey , thanks , er , i didnt get your name,

      Thats an entertaining and informative read.

  3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    If the virtual shop is airside, will your shopping be supplied tax-free?

  4. mark 63 Silver badge

    i dont get it

    That looks like a giant plastic website.

    we already have phones and computers for looking at websites

    Ironically the woman in the pic seems to be using a phone to look at the thing.

    Why dosent she just go to the bar get a pint of lager and do the shopping from there on her phone?

    1. Spotfist

      Re: i dont get it

      Too bloody right, no doubt she has an hour wait regardless of which way she is going (boarding time, waiting for staff to steal your luggage)

      If it's advertising and they are promoting there specials then doesn't it actually defeat the point of specials as the shop'ee is no longer going into the shop to buy over priced tat by mistake... Who get's off the plain and goes, "OMFGpop we need to get pickle as we have none at home Lolcats!?!?!"??? Who are these people????

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Why dosent she just go to the bar get a pint of lager and do the shopping from there on her phone?"

      the government has watch lists for people like you

  5. JetSetJim

    Err - tesco website?

    You can already do this on their website without the need for a booth, unless the point is you pay no tax if you also scan your ticket/boarding pass to demonstrate you're shopping out of the country..

    1. Ian Michael Gumby
      Thumb Up

      Re: Err - tesco website?

      Try surfing the web with your iPhone or other smart phone.

      Its a pain in the ass.

      Why the thumbs up?


      Its a fairly cheap way to get some potential customers. For the cost of a relatively small kiosk, you serve two purposes.

      1) Its advertising.

      2) Its an additional point of capture of new orders.

      You're killing two birds with 1 stone.

      You've got to admit its pretty brilliant when you consider its functional advertising.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You've got to admit its pretty brilliant when you consider its functional advertising.

        Well its nice to finally get some recognition. Thank you!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    W O W, people will buy into any ole sh te!

  7. Andy 115

    Any joined up thinking....

    Like supplying your return flight number so that the delivery can be dynamically re-scheduled should you be delayed?

    Hmmm Let this be a record of my dibs on that idea :-)

    1. Jerome 0

      Re: Any joined up thinking....

      I'm not sure that an El Reg comment constitutes a patent. Although it would be pretty nifty if it did...

      Hmmm, let this be a record of my dibs on that idea.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm, home delivery

    That's where you get all the nearly out of date shite they can't shift.

    WTF am I supposed to do with two four packs of yoghurt that go out of date tomorrow?

    1. The Alpha Klutz

      WTF am I supposed to do with two four packs of yoghurt that go out of date tomorrow?

      funnel yoghurt into balloon and slap local tesco manager on head with it till it bursts.

      1. Magnus Ramage

        Re: WTF am I supposed to do with two four packs of yoghurt that go out of date tomorrow?

        "funnel yoghurt into balloon..."

        Don't suggest that on Twitter, you'll get the full weight of the CPS landing on you.

    2. Elmer Phud

      Re: Hmm, home delivery

      You assume that you'd get yoghurt.

      Two four packs -- that makes eight.

      You get eight lumps of cheese instead - a simple dairy product substitution.

  9. The Alpha Klutz

    that is so...................


  10. Richard Cartledge

    If this is airside and tax free, why didn't any of us think of that?

    Knowing TESCO, I bet they do that surreptitiously, but charge the same price and pocket the VAT windfall.

  11. thejackle

    Not the biggest flaw in this idea, but...

    ...why is there two of everything on display?

    1. Kevin Johnston

      Re: Not the biggest flaw in this idea, but...

      It's a subliminal way of saying BOGOF

    2. Jerome 0

      Re: Not the biggest flaw in this idea, but...

      It looks like they've allocated the same amount of space for each product regardless of size, probably to have a nice clean layout (or because their devs are lazy). Hence there's only one each of the larger items, but multiples of the smaller ones to fill up the space.

      I expect some UX guru told them it looked more like a supermarket shelf that way, and took home six figures for the insight.

  12. stu 4

    Retina display

    I just assumed it was a picture of the new larger iPad with true retina display.

  13. Tezfair

    Is it me...

    Or has anyone actually ever seen someone hold up a device to scan something? I never have despite seeing QR etc codes everywhere.

  14. mark 63 Silver badge

    and you need a smartphone and the tesco app?

    just what the hell is the point?

    For the life of me i cannot imagine what was said at the stroky beard meeting that gave birth to that thing!

    Its basically a glorified poster advert

    1. The Alpha Klutz

      "i cannot imagine what was said at the stroky beard meeting that gave birth to that thing!"

      "gregory my daughter needs another pony, are you quite sure the dairy farmers are dying?"

      call me G sir, yes quite sure sir

      "well get the money from someone else, who's next on the suckers list? ah.... airport users"

  15. Andres

    No thanks

    Not sure I want everyone in Departures seeing which brand of toilet paper or fungal cream I want to order, or wondering why I need 8 cans of squirty cream, 2 large cucumbers and a head scarf.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    They've had positive press for this from almost every major news outlet, and even the Reg too.

    For Tesco positive press is unbelievably hard at the moment, so it's done it's job even if they don't even shift a loss-leading pint of milk through it.

  17. RIchard Olds

    Tesco at Gatwick Airport may not be the first virtual grocery store in the UK – Waitrose and others have already dabbled with differing levels of success – but it is certainly one of the more high profile.

    From a user perspective, why shouldn’t it work? After all, while you’ve nothing better to do waiting for your flight, why not solve the age-old problem of having no fresh bread and milk when you get home after a long and tiring journey back. It’s quick, simple and uses technology that’s second nature to most of us.

    By bringing together retail and bring your own device (BYOD) technologies, the retailer too avoids many traditional in-store costs, as the customer’s smartphone acts as a fast checkout device, EPOS solution and trolley collection agent. All in all, by putting the store where you are, as a more convenient form of online shopping it looks a winner.

    So does this signal the end of retail as we know it? I don’t think so. Manchester’s Arndale and Stratford’s Westfield won’t be shutting up shop just yet, as consumers of all ages continue to prefer the impulsive touchy-feely in-store experience for many of their purchases. Equally, retail chains won’t be rushing to throw away huge levels of infrastructure investment.

    But could it happen? Certainly from an IT perspective, pushing the reliance on robust technologies from today’s checkout to a web server further back up the distribution chain should not prove an insurmountable hurdle. And when shopping is a chore, it will appeal to customers too.

    So, in years to come, you may well be able to buy groceries at the bus stop or railway station as well as the airport. But for those already writing the high street’s obituary, just remember: convenience isn’t the only attribute on the consumer’s shopping list.

    - Richard Olds, CEO, Vista Support

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Richard Olds

      "From a user perspective, why shouldn’t it work?"

      Are you aware how terrible Tesco are at security? How Stupid they are, arguing that they know what they're doing when clearly they don't? How poor they are at protecting their customers information?

      Also, read (and understand) the comments section.

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