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Tesco installs window QR codes for interactive shopping

UK grocer Tesco has set up QR and augmented reality codes in the windows of 11 of its Metro stores across the country, giving passers-by the chance to order and pay for goods on their mobile devices without entering the physical shop.

In what is turning out to be a month of technological experimentation at the UK's largest retailer, it was announced today that the supermarket group is using new technologies to allow customers to find out more information about the products displayed in the virtual shop window.

Products featured will include Christmas gift ideas such as children's bikes, best-selling toys and Tesco's new homeware range. Once the code is scanned, the product comes to life using augmented reality on the customer’s smartphone, and then they can arrange to click & collect from the same store within 24 hours.  

Already this month Tesco has introduced electronic shelf labels in one of its stores and a mobile app specifically for its employees, which can be used on the company's own hudl tablet and other smartphones and mobile devices. Last week Tesco opened a tech-focused distribution centre in Erith, which will support the business's growing online operations.

All of this innovation comes at a time when the company is looking to establish itself as a multichannel leader, while it struggles for like-for-like sales growth in all of its global markets. In a third-quarter results announcement last Wednesday, comparable sales in the UK were down 1.5% on the same period one year before.

Introducing new ideas and innovations is viewed as an essential part of the retailer's strategy as it looks to attract customers in a hugely competitive UK grocery market, and another example of this arrived on Saturday 7 December with the unveiling of a new high street Christmas window at its Regent Street Metro store.

A 6-foot biscuit house has taken centre stage at the Regent Street store, framed in a distinctive Christmassy Scandi style snow setting. Tesco's finest food range is displayed, along with gifts and decorations. All product and decorations on show are available at Tesco.com, but the Regent Street store is not using QR code technology.

Robert Folly, store manager at Tesco Metro Regent Street, commented: "The team and I were so excited to be chosen for the first Tesco Christmas window display.

"We hope that our customers enjoy it, the biscuit house looks good enough to eat so we may have to keep an eye on keeping the windows and doors intact until the big day."

The stores where Tesco is trialling the use of QR codes on windows are, as follows:

Augmented reality will be in the following locations:

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