Tesco Looking to Augment Your Reality (Legally)

Tesco, Britain's leading retailer, is harnessing the power of interactive technology to give consumers a greater shopping experience. The company is bringing online shopping and augmented reality into its physical stores with its latest technology offerings - the Virtual Mirror, the Endless Aisle and Virtual Merchandising technology.

Virtual Mirror overlays a digital signage screen on top of a normal mirror, so you can see your reflection and then try on, mix and match digital versions of clothes and other in-store products to pick the combination that best suits your personal style and preferences.

The innovative interactive products were demonstrated by Tesco's CIO and technology chief Mike McNamara at a recent company conference. McNamara said these digital innovations would transform retail in the next couple of years. The Virtual Mirror will initially be installed in three stores, including a section selling children's clothes, as kids would love the "Kinect Xbox-like experience," McNamara said.

The Endless Aisle, another kind of digital signage, will be installed in the toy section and again bets on the persuasive power of kids to keep their mums and dads longer in the shop. It features one virtual screen where products can be scrolled up and down, viewed from different angles and filtered by age and price.

Virtual Merchandising allows the company to build a 3D virtual representation of the store, packed with virtual items on virtual shelves. Thus, Tesco can try different combinations of products to see how they will look in reality and make it as easy as possible for shoppers to buy goods.

This is not the first time that Tesco has tested virtual stores. In the summer it installed a virtual grocery outlet at London's Gatwick Airport, allowing buyers to purchase goods using their mobile phones and have them delivered to their homes. The company earlier introduced a similar system in South Korean tube stations.