Tesco trials 'virtual fridges' at Gatwick Airport

Tesco: installs a virtual fridge at Gatwick
Tesco: installs a virtual fridge at Gatwick

Tesco is trialling "virtual fridges" in Gatwick Airport that allow travellers to order essentials to be delivered to their home for when they return from holiday.

The two-week trial follows on from Tesco’s South Korean business launching a "virtual store" allowing customers to buy products on their mobiles from billboards at subways and bus stops.

Passengers at Gatwick’s North Terminal can scan up to 80 barcodes for products pictured on the virtual fridges and have them delivered to their homes up to three weeks later.

Ken Towle, director for internet retailing at Tesco, said that customers will be able to contact Tesco if their journey is delayed to change delivery times and Tesco "will find a way of sorting it out".

Towle dismissed the notion the Gatwick activity, which runs until 19 August, is a PR stunt and insists the initiative was launched to serve customer needs.

A further roll-out will depend on the success of the trial, but no targets have been publicised for the success of the initiative because of its pioneering nature.

If successful, Tesco is likely to extend the Gatwick trial into commuting hotspots because it has found traffic to its grocery site has two peaks in the day, which occur during the way to and away from work.

Towle told Marketing that the supermarket giant is not yet in talks with Transport for London about emulating its South Korean business by introducing the virtual stores to underground platforms, but added "that’s the kind of place we could imagine it to emerge".

Tesco claims its virtual stores in South Korea have generated 25 milllion online posts, with Towle adding that what began as trial but is still being maintained beyond the trial phase and has now reached 55,000 customers.

Passengers using the virtual fridges have to download the Tesco app onto their smartphones and register on the Tesco.com grocery site to process their orders.

Towle said: "This isn’t about moving customers from one channel to another – it’s about incremental new business."

Tesco has installed ten of the virtual fridges at Gatwick, which will be supported by three staff who will help with the scanning and ordering process.

The decision to extend the trial will be based on feedback from the staff and data based on the amount of people who have touched and interacted with the screens.

Tesco's outgoing ad agency The Red Brick Road is claiming credit for the idea while mobile agency Ribot, media agency Initiative and outdoor specialist Rapport have helped deliver the project.

The virtual fridges are adapted advertising screens sold by outdoor media owner Eye.


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message
Lynx unleashes £9m 'Peace invasion' campaign
Social Brands 100 Youth: Pizza Hut most social youth brand in UK
Cheryl Cole is wild and arresting in new L'Oreal work
Morrisons told not to show alcohol ads during YouTube nursery rhymes
O2 head of brand Shadi Halliwell departs after 23 years at company in restructure
Tesco hit by further sales decline as it turns to digital Clubcard and social network
Branding guru Wally Olins dies aged 83
Duracell short film captures epic Transatlantic voyage
Ash runs Tinder experiment to show smokers are less desirable to opposite sex
British Airways teams up with Gerry Cottle Jnr for summer of rooftop film screenings
Arklu says 'girls can be superheroes too' with doll design competition
Coke enters squash market with Oasis Mighty Drops
Virgin Galactic signs up Land Rover as space flight sponsor
Motorola marketer Andrew Morley departs as Google gears up for sale to Lenovo
US Airways apologises after tweeting obscene image at a customer
Mumsnet admits users' emails and passwords accessed via Heartbleed bug
Thetrainline.com backs 'rubbish' mobile app with TV ad