I recently stumbled upon an interesting concept that’s currently in play in London that had me pondering: digital grocery shopping at the airport.
At the moment, Supermarket giant Tesco and the north terminal departure lounge at London’s Gatwick Airport are in the middle of a 2-week trial allowing travelers to use digital booths to shop for grocery items (such as bread, milk, etc), which would be delievered to them at home on the day that they return.
The booths contain large digital screens whereby the traveler can browse and purchase groceries simply by scanning the item’s barcode with a smartphone using the Tesco app. Travelers can then pay for their shopping order right there through the application and set a delivery date.
This launch was inspired by Tesco’s successful virtual supermarket model in South Korea where commuters have the ability to buy groceries in subways and at bus stops throughout Seoul simply by pointing their smartphones at billboards.
Personally, while grocery shopping is one of the last things on my mind when I’m just about to hop on a plane, seeing this statistic ties it all together: the average passenger spends about 70 minutes sitting at the terminal waiting to board their flight.
Some people might find grocery shopping to be a productive way to pass the time, eliminating the stress of having to worry about restocking the fridge after traveling.
However, here are some rhetorical questions that ran through my stream of thought:
- How much does this service cost? I can imagine a hefty “convenience” fee. From what I know, home delivery is never really a free service. Would the fee off-set the cost of the grocery items?
- What if your return flight is substantially delayed or canceled, leaving you unable to receive the home grocery delivery? Is there a way for Tesco to be communicated that information? Is there a way to attach your return flight information to your order?
Feel free to share your thoughts. Is this something you’d see in the future of our airports? Would you utilize this service?