Tesco Launches Augmented Reality Test
Tesco last week began a trial of augmented reality technology that allows shoppers to see 3D projections of products before they buy them, both in stores and online.
Large computer screens with embedded cameras have been set up in seven Tesco stores in the U.K. Shoppers scan QR codes taken from shelves or from a Tesco Direct catalog to display a 3D image and product information on screen. For instance, customers can spin the virtual TV around to see the connector points on the back and get an idea of the size of the television. The AR also lets consumers play virtually with onscreen LEGO sets. Customers can choose to buy the product in-store or, if it is out of stock, order it to be delivered to their homes via Tesco Direct.
Consumers can also tap the technology on a mobile device or on a desktop computer that contains a two-way camera after installing a browser plugin.
At the store level, the technology, powered by augmented reality firm Kishino, provides the ability to showcase more products than possible with limited shelf space. Online, Tesco is hoping augmented reality will reduce the number of returns since people can get an idea of the dimensions of products before ordering.
“We know our customers would prefer to see every product in a range for themselves before making a purchase,” Tesco said in a statement. “However it is not often not practically possible to display, for example, the more than 180 televisions that sell in a store. Through AR we are able to offer realistic and life size representations of what that product will look like within their homes or their local store.”
Only 40 products from the electronics and entertainment sections are currently supported in the trial, but Tesco says it is planning to make “a vast number” compatible with the system. The trial runs until the end of the year.
Mashable noted that Starbucks launched a holiday program this month that uses an iOS-based app to make its red holiday coffee cups project images of animated characters.
- Kishino Augmented Reality for Tesco – YouTube
- Welcome to Tesco Augmented Reality – Tesco
- Peering into Tesco’s augmented reality – zdnet.co.uk
- Tesco trialling augmented reality technology – Information Age
- Retail Chain Uses Augmented Reality to Render Catalog in 3D – Mashable
Discussion Questions: What do you see as the opportunity around augmented reality technology? Is there a bigger opportunity for the technology in stores or online?