From South Korea to Sydney, and perhaps soon Brisbane, web design is further changing the way we shop. Woolworth’s new ‘Virtual Supermarket’ opened this weekend in Sydney’s busiest train station and will be watched closely by web designers home and abroad as to whether the concept catches on. Tjeerd Jegen, Woolworth’s director of supermarkets said the walls of the Town Hall Station have been converted into a virtual supermarket feature over 120 of Woolworth’s best selling products plus fruit and vegetables. “Sydney commuters going through Town Hall station will be the first in Australia to experience the cutting edge of supermarket innovation.”
The virtual walls, which look like a photographed image of a supermarket shelf, when coupled with the Woolworths App, demonstrates just how simple mobile shopping is in five steps:
Of course online shopping, even grocery shopping, isn’t exactly new, and the virtual supermarket has copped some critism for the fact that if you are going to be physically going to a location to physically browse through aisles, then why not go to a real supermarket and be able to walk out with the products in hand, rather than waiting a couple days for delivery?
However the virtual supermarket certainly has its advantages. For one it doesn’t require much physical floor space so can be installed in much smaller locations, or locations that serve other functions such as train station concourses etc. . They can also stock the same selection of products in a smaller space as they technically only need to display one of each product, not shelves and shelves of each product in order to meet demand. The virtual supermarket is also theoretically much cheaper to run, with much less staff, and physical space and associated costs required to stock the same amount of produce.
The virtual supermarket is currently being trialed in South Korea by British grocery and general merchandise retailer Tesco. South Korea is considered one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, and what catches on in South Korea may not also work elsewhere in the world, so the Sydney trial is very exciting for a lot of Brisbane web designers.