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


Oasis #springasmile digital campaign gets people doing good deeds
Coca-Cola: 'Don't approach bloggers with a fait accompli'
Tesco CMO Matt Atkinson: 'It is so important not to stereotype mothers'
McDonald's gives Ronald a new look ahead of global 'Fun times' social media push
In pictures: BrewDog opens first craft beer shop BottleDog for 'beer aficionados'
Facebook ad revenue leaps $1bn as it invests in targeting
Malteser or Maltesers? Mars takes Hershey trademark dispute to court
Apple Q2 profits top $10bn as iPhone sales soar
Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers