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McEwan enables virtual shopping with 3D technology

In Toronto online customers can virtually shop for groceries in the same way as in a real store for the first time. Canadian celebrity chef Mark McEwan has virtually recreated his flagship store in Toronto using 3D technology from Matterport. Via the portal of local delivery service Inabuggy, customers can navigate through shelves, take a closer look at products and place them in the shopping basket. The purchase is then assembled for collection by Inabuggy’s service staff or delivered to the customer’s home the next day.

The online assortment is curated by the retailer. Customers find items at the same place as in the physical store. Via the Inabuggy app or the online portal customers control their way along the shelves via mouse or touch screen. They can take a closer look at offerings by zooming in and selecting items with a click. They then receive detailed price and product information and can place an item in the shopping basket.

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An authentic shopping experience also online

In this way, online shopping becomes more like the real thing. Product search is more intuitive and impulse purchases are encouraged. Currently, also grocery retailers see the share of online business growing. Local retailers have to compete with powerful players such as Amazon. 3D technology can help them offering customers a more authentic shopping experience online.

British grocer Tesco had piloted a virtual 3D store already at the beginning of the last decade. However, technology was not yet fully developed at the time. Therefore, Tesco did not pursue the concept further. In the meantime, technology has matured. Comparable solutions can be seen shopping for furniture, for example. Virtual reality will play a far greater role in retail in the future — online and offline.

McEwan Fine Foods example highlights the fact that use of innovative technologies is not only reserved for large companies. For smaller budgets, these solutions were often out of reach. Nowadays, suppliers are increasingly providing cost-effective solutions. This allows local retailers to also implement their ideas and stand out from the competition.

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Joachim Pinhammer

Joachim Pinhammer supports retail and technology companies with consulting and marketing expertise. He was Senior Analyst and Research Director Retail Technology at the London-based analyst group Planet Retail. Prior to that, he was the global marketing director for the retail division of Wincor Nixdorf (now Diebold Nixdorf). Joachim Pinhammer is a regular speaker at events organised by Messe Düsseldorf (EuroShop and EuroCIS), the EHI and further industry conferences. His reports are regularly published by trade magazines and online retail industry media.

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