by Miryam Muller in ,

Looking a hell lot like Tesco's "Virtual Subway Station Supermarket" that we had posted an infinity ago, now Peapod, the online grocery retail and delivery partner of Giant Foods America, started its very own first virtual grocery store on rail platforms in the US!

In a campaign in subway stations across the country, Peapod has placed 100 large billboards that mimic grocery store aisles. Each features about 50 items from Peapod’s roughly 11,000-item inventory. And with a smartphone, shoppers can scan the barcode of any item to add it to their grocery list. It’s the actual grocery store shopping experience, half-digitally, half-physically inserted into a commuter’s lifestyle.



“It grabs potential customers in a way that a direct mail piece can’t do,” explains Peg Merzbacher, director of marketing, “and it’s a repetitive message that they see every day. We think it may be the best possible way to get people to check out our app.”

So yes, it’s an advertisement, but that ad is in itself designed around a totally natural interaction model--a casual experience that the core Peapod customer (who spends over an hour in public transit each day) has needed to eschew in the interest of efficiency. And unlike your normal “virtual shopping” gimmicks on websites, Peapod’s ad isn’t a time-sink destination, but an actionable chunk of mortar in the cracks of someone’s life, a means to kill a few minutes while waiting for the train--and hey--I needed milk!

“Realistically, our app provides the best functionality,” Merzbacher admits, “but the transit signs are a great way to let customers know that grocery shopping anywhere is a reality for anyone with a smartphone. Even when they are commuting they can get grocery shopping done easily.”