/ Shopping, Technology

Holographic supermarket assistants? Err no

Do you like to be greeted when you go to a supermarket? Perhaps by a friendly shop assistant handing you a basket? How about by a hologram who informs you of the store’s special offers?

We’ve talked about sat navs guiding you round the aisles, and self-service checkouts that we all love to hate! But now virtual shop assistants could be on the horizon.

Asda has just completed its trial of virtual assistants ‘working’ in its Milton Keynes store – the hologram (I’m not sure if it was given a name badge) was positioned at the entrance to welcome shoppers.

The supermarket giant hailed the trial a success, which presumably means that its customers responded positively, while the hologram itself didn’t call in sick.

Holograms everywhere

I didn’t visit Asda’s hologram in person, but I was at University College London Hospital recently when a strange sight caught my eye. I had to rub that eye a couple of times to make sure I was seeing clearly… yes there was a holographic nurse!

She looked a little bit strange, but her message was significant – good hand hygiene is important to fight against infection. Overall, I think she was successful in getting her point across to me (and you can see this virtual nurse in action in this video).

But a hologram in a supermarket? I’m not so sure. The hologram’s developers say it could be used to give you extra information, such as telling you about a particular bottle of wine and what food it would match with. Although that doesn’t sound too bad, I don’t think I like the idea of a virtual assistant popping up in various aisles telling me what to buy!

Do you think a hologram in a supermarket could be useful, or fun? Can you think of any other places where a hologram might be welcome?

Would a supermarket hologram enhance your shopping experience?

No - it's a stupid idea (79%, 59 Votes)

Maybe - if it's not too intrusive (16%, 12 Votes)

Yes - I could see it being useful (5%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 75

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This was an interesting novelty when I first saw a hologram in a museum, explaining a bit of history. There may be a future or the whole idea of using holograms could be ridiculed. A lot will depend on what happens in the next year or two. I am not convinced that holograms popping up in every supermarket will do much to make them a success, but they could have an educational value.

I’ll take along my holographic shopper assistant and he can stand chatting to the supermarket hologram while I go about my shopping.

Do me a favour!!!

Greeted by holo’ hula clad dancing girls, twirling and singing lilting welcomes, yes I could go for that.
But a pixelating Mr. Kipling espousing the virtues of his cherry bakewells on special offer this week..no thank you.

par ailleurs says:
13 May 2012

I bet there’ll be a nanny type at the self serve checkout saying “unexpected item in the bagging tray.” Now we’ll have to look at them as well as listen to them. God help us!

Jayfell says:
17 May 2012

Just another way to cut down on the real staff. They won’t employ anyone to REALLY work in the store.

shoppernewsnlog says:
29 May 2012

Very interesting post Chris! Thx for sharing. I used it as input for my recently published article “Changing The Way Women Shop For Fashion – 5 Technologies That Will Change Shopper Marketing” http://wp.me/2lLHI.

Looking forward to hearing from you!