Tesco pop-up signals brave new world

With its London F&F pop-up, Tesco is using a traditional ‘bricks’ style store to boost its online ‘clicks’ business in a move that shows it has its eyes firmly on multi-channel as a driver of future growth.


As pop-ups go, Tesco’s F&F fashion store in Covent Garden is pretty good. It looks chic and has its fashion foot forward, but it’s also bursting at the seams with accessible technology.

The store offers free WiFi and a bank of iPads connect shoppers to Tesco’s online clothing store and all in-store purchases will be made online.

All products are labelled with a QR code that allows shoppers to use smartphones to click directly to the product page online to buy.

It also has a ‘virtual fitting room’ where shoppers can use Aurasma’s augmented reality app to ‘virtually try on’ clothes.

Free next day delivery can be arranged to three London metro stores, or to home addresses, meaning that it offers the utmost in convenience.

It’s an interesting way of using a physical shop to raise awareness of an online platform and demonstrates that Tesco is doing its utmost to make sure it’s on top of all the latest trends and technologies as part of its efforts to overcome its well documented struggles.

Emily Shappa, online director for Tesco clothing, says that the store is a way to test customers’ appetite for these technologies and proves how important online is to Tesco, in line with Philip Clarke’s comments earlier this year that bricks and clicks working together is the way forward.

She admitted however that the supermarket is “only scratching the surface” of what digital can do for the business.

She talked of the need for Tesco to “be brave” and see what works. if it doesn’t you move on. If it does – you roll it out across the business and reap the benefits. The point being that testing new ways to do business is the only way for a organisation to survive and remain relevant.

What was refreshing about how Shappa talks about this initiative and the way Tesco approached it, is that Tesco is not afraid of trying something new and getting it wrong. The pay off is that if and when Tesco trials something new and it works, it will have found a way to serve its customers better.

I expect to see many more trials of tech geekery from Tesco in the coming months as it looks to find ways to use technology to create a better shopping experience for its customers, be that in-store, on the move, online or any combination of the three.

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