By Aimee Chanthadavong

Following Sportsgirl’s introduction of its virtual window shop, Woolworths has joined the mobile shopping revolution with the launch of the country’s first virtual supermarket.

Being piloted for a week, the virtual supermarkets have taken over the walls in Sydney’s Town Hall and Melbourne’s Flinders Street station to mimic Woolworths’ supermarket shelves. Each will feature more than 120 of Woolworth’s most popular products across all product categories including its fresh food.

Speaking to RetailBiz, Woolworths’ innovations manager Has Fakira, said the launch comes following the update of the Woolworths’ App and the increasing consumer demand for convenient shopping.

“We launched our App last august and now have over 1.5 million users who have told us ‘we’re really busy and we can’t always get to doing that shopping list’ so we updated the App and we’ve taken it a step further with a virtual supermarket where you can use mobile shopping in an easy way,” he said.

The Woolworths App for iPhones and Android smartphones enable consumers to scan the barcodes of the products off the virtual supermarket, add the products to their shopping list and place and pay for the order before having the products delivered to their homes.

Fakira said the virtual supermarket is a visual cue for consumers and to help demonstrate how easy mobile shopping can be.

“What customers are telling us is that they’re very busy and the virtual supermarket is like having a pantry laid out in front of you where you can add the items to your shopping list, be on your way, get on the train and then put your order through to have it delivered to you,” he said.

“And if there’s something you need but it’s not available at the virtual supermarket, you can find the products via the App. So it’s not just limited to what’s just there.”

Given the virtual supermarket is only a trial, Fakira said Woolworths will examine the feedback received from its customers before making any further decisions about rolling the concept out.

“As we’re only in our trial period, we want to listen to our customers and receive feedback from what they want, which is particularly important to us. Obviously mobile shopping is a huge growth area and its fast pace and we want to work out how customers want to use it, what their problems and build our technology around it.”