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:

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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