Asda is considering unleashing an army of virtual store assistants on shoppers after trialling a hologram ‘colleague’ at its Milton Keynes store.
During the trial, which took place in January, a female virtual assistant greeted shoppers and provided details of Asda’s 10% price guarantee.
An Asda spokeswoman claimed the trial had been “very successful and popular with customers.”
The retailer was very interested in the technology, she added, although there were no firm plans as yet for a nationwide roll-out.
Developed by queue specialist Tensator, which trialled them in airports to greet passengers at check-in, the hologram assistants would soon become a familiar sight in supermarkets, predicted Tensator media product development manager Ajay Joshi.
Retailers could use them to inform and entertain shoppers, he suggested. “Imagine having a virtual assistant in the wine aisle. You could have a virtual sommelier in the aisle 24/7,” he said.
“Customers could scan a bottle and be told all about the wine, or food it would be ideal with. Or a customer could tap in what they were planning to serve and the virtual assistant could suggest a suitable bottle from the aisle, or maybe highlight what was on promotion that week. There are myriad possibilities for supermarkets.”
The virtual assistants are already proving popular in the US. New York pharmacy chain Duane Reade, a subsidiary of supermarket Walgreens, became the first retailer to roll out the holograms last summer.
“It offers the store a wow factor,” said a Duane Reade spokesman. “The virtual assistant is so compelling, shoppers are receptive to the wealth of information she provides, enabling them to get the big picture of everything the store offers in a very personal and exciting way.”