Another way of online shopping – “Virtual grocery shopping”

Last week we talked a lot in class about buying clothes, goods, services, and many more things online. Today, when I was surfing on YouTube, I discovered a whole new kind of purchasing goods. I guess we all know about the fact that you can purchase your groceries online. In the past few years, many big supermarkets worldwide, such as Walmart (US) and Tesco (UK) (and Albert Heijn in the Netherlands), are offering these services of grocery shopping online. But online grocery shopping is nothing new, it was already introduced by Peapod (US) in 1989 (Ahold,, that’s already more than two decades ago! In these past years, online shopping was getting more easier and quicker, and now the third-largest retailer worldwide, Tesco, came up with a new idea to make online grocery shopping even more attractive. Tesco created a new kind of ‘space’ where people can now virtually buy their groceries. We all kill our useless time with our smartphones (and tabloids) during traveling time. If you look around you in the subway or at the train-station whilst waiting, more than half of the people are doing ‘things’ with their gadgets. Therefore, Tesco came up with the idea to actually shop your groceries while you are waiting. Take a look at this video by Tesco (‘Home Plus’):


Tesco introduced this concept in Seoul (South Korea) in the fall of 2011. Tesco is trying to creatively transform the traditional retail business-model by changing space and time. The idea is easy: you have to install the application on your smartphone, whilst waiting scan the QR codes of the groceries you would like to buy, confirm your list and the groceries will be delivered within the day at your home. So you do not have to go to the ‘offline’ supermarkets anymore.

I am a bit skeptical about this virtual grocery shopping, however I must say it is a brilliant marketing idea: posters have a real and useful function now, you don’t have to stand in queues in the supermarket, you are doing something with your useless time, you save time by not going to an actual ‘offline’ supermarket anymore etc.

However, there are also some problems concerning this idea: you are not able to choose all your groceries while waiting on a busy platform with many people scanning products (especially in the busy subways of Seoul), the subway is too small to project all products of a supermarket, people have to deal with high delivery costs, you are not aware of the freshness of products when scanning a product (meat, fish, vegetables, fruit etc.), people will become very lazy in the future etc.

I think the idea is quite interesting, but definitely needs more investigation before implementing in more cities worldwide. Why don’t they just open an application with all available products online? So when you are actually sitting in the subway waiting for your stop, you can click easier on all the groceries (by selecting) and confirm your order (e.g.).

Apparently, the idea by Tesco is working, and a month ago, in Augustus 2012, Tesco opened their first interactive virtual grocery store in Gatwick’s North Terminal (in the UK).


We will see how it will develop in the UK, and maybe in the future we will all use our smartphone to scan groceries/products.(Source:

Isabel Beijers – 335155


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