Augmented reality

Tesco trials in-store and online augmented reality technology

Jenny Williams

Tesco is trialling augmented reality (AR) technology in-store and online to change how customers interact with products.

The technology, provided by Kishino, was piloted in selected Tesco stores in September 2011. Tesco will now trial the technology indefinitely in eight stores across the UK, including Wembley, Cheshunt, New Malden, Borehamwood, Hatfield and Milton Keynes.

Customers will initially be able to interact with 40 selected products by holding up the Tesco Direct catalogue or printed product information to a PC webcam in-store or online.

A Tesco spokesman said the augmented reality technology will enable customers to make more informed purchases as well as saving the retailer floor-space.

“Online, it should reduce the number of returns as customers can see the actual size and proportions of the product before they open the box. In-store, AR means less floor space is needed to store bulky electronics.”

Rob Salter, category director for media and entertainment at Tesco, said the AR units have been put into four stores so far. Salter expects customer use of technology to have a direct impact on sales.

“A large proportion of sales are impulse buys. Customers are less willing to buy products haven’t tried before. We hope AR will encourage more people to buy products,” said Salter.

The technology is only available via PCs with a webcam as the browser plugin for Safari on Apple Macs is not supported. 

Richard Corps, Kishino managing director, said: “Integrating AR into retail will take the technology to much bigger audiences than ever before.”

Tesco is working to expand its AR system to be compatible with the majority of its products. 


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