Procter & Gamble has become the latest global giant to roll out a virtual store for customers, in a glimpse of a potential future bypassing traditional retail.

The virtual drugstore allows consumers to buy products, using smartphones and QR codes, with the promise of a free, second day delivery to their home or office.The tie up between P&G and MALL.CZ, the biggest online store in the Czech Republic, has set up virtual stores set up in four of the city's busiest underground stations.

The FMCG company follows in the footsteps of Tesco, which launched a virtual store in Korea in June, also in the underground, and has been exploring the possibility of more widespread use of the technology, along with other retailers and suppliers.P&G's "stores", in the Czech capital, Prague, use oversized wallpaper or posters with product pictures and prices, simulating the look of real products on shelves.

Consumers point their mobile phone at the QR code of desired products and it automatically submits the order to the online store.P&G intends to run the trial until the end of the year and the vast majority of products at the stores are its own products, including the likes of Ariel, Pampers, Pantene and Gillette.

However, it is also talking to other suppliers about adding other products, including small electric items, pet food, tea, coffee, and toys, in the run up to Christmas.A P&G spokesman said: "This takes us one step ahead of our competition and brings something new and innovative to the market. We believe this breakthrough shopping concept will be successful in today's busy world and modern technologies."

There are signs the subway-shopping concept may take off more widely, with the Far East leading much of the development. Following Tesco's move in Korea, Chinese retailer recently installed virtual supermarkets in 15 metro stations around Shanghai.