November 25th, 2011

Tesco offers “try before you buy” with aug­men­ted reality

Tesco Augmented Reality TrialThe super­mar­ket chain Tesco is tri­al­ling aug­men­ted real­ity tech­no­logy in the UK, both in-​store and online, to allow cus­tom­ers to “try before they buy” and offer bulkier products without sac­ri­fi­cing shelf space.

Cus­tom­ers can use the tech­no­logy to gen­er­ate a 3D hologram-​style image of product, which they can spin around to see all sides and get an idea of its size and fea­tures, by hold­ing a product key or Tesco Dir­ect cata­logue up to a webcam.

Cus­tom­ers can then either buy the product in-​store or have it delivered to their homes via Tesco Direct.

There are cur­rently seven Tesco stores with the aug­men­ted real­ity ter­min­als in the enter­tain­ment sec­tion and five in the elec­tron­ics sec­tion, cov­er­ing around 40 products includ­ing tele­vi­sions and ‘Pir­ates of the Carib­bean’ Lego. Loc­a­tions include Wemb­ley, Milton Keynes and Bore­ham Wood.

Using the tech­no­logy online requires the cus­tomer to hold up the Tesco Dir­ect cata­logue to their web­cams, after installing an aug­men­ted real­ity plug-​in. Tesco have pub­lished details on a ded­ic­ated webpage: http://​dir​ect​.tesco​.com/​p​/​i​n​c​/​s​p​e​c​i​a​l​s​/​ar/

The super­mar­ket chain hopes the use of aug­men­ted real­ity online will reduce the num­ber of returns, as cus­tom­ers can get a bet­ter idea of the size of the product before ordering.

Tesco has also been tri­al­ling the use of wi-​fi in some of its stores, which it claims has been a suc­cess and is expec­ted to be rolled-​out further.

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