Tesco has begun a trial of augmented reality technology that allows shoppers to see 3D projections of products before they buy them, both in store and online.
The new system, based on technology from a UK company called Kishino, allows online shoppers to view 3D images of selected products by holding a QR code for the product up to their webcam. The QR codes are printed in Tesco’s product catalogues but shoppers can also print them off themselves.
The same technology is also being trialled in store. Tesco has installed large screens with embedded cameras in; Wembley, Borehamwood, Milton Keynes Kingston, Cheshunt, Hatfield and New Malden. Shoppers can use this equipment to view extra information about products or 3D visualisations of large products such as TVs which are not stocked on shelves."We know our customers would prefer to see every product in a range for themselves before making a purchasing," the company said in a statement. "However it is not often not practically possible to display for example the more than 180 televisions that sell in a store. Through AR we are able to offer realistic and life size representations of what that product will look like within their homes or their local store."
"Customers can interact with the products to see exactly where the features of a product are located, for example a TV may have 5 HDMI ports but it’s not clear where they are located on the TV, with AR the customer can turn the TV and physically see where the ports are.
Only 40 products are currently supported in the trial, but Tesco says it is planning to make "a vast number" compatibile with the system. The trial last run until the end of the year.
Kishino’s other clients include fashion label Tommy Hilfigger, which allows users of its Facebook app to see 3D models of products, and video game retailer Game, which is launching augmented reality kiosks in store next year.