Inabuggy, McEwan Launch Virtual Grocery Store

Customers can virtually tour the Toronto store's shoppable grocery store aisles.

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Need to Know

  • Shoppers using online grocery delivery service Inabuggy can virtually “walk through” McEwan Fine Foods in Don Mills, Toronto, Ontario.
  • The 3D grocery shopping experience allows shoppers to click on items in aisles, which will redirect them to a purchasing page displaying all items in that aisle’s category.
  • Inabuggy’s 3D grocery shopping experience is the first of its kind in Canada.

Analysis

As many Canadian consumers continue to prefer grocery shopping online, Canadian grocery delivery company Inabuggy has launched a new 3D experience that lets shoppers “walk through” one of its grocery stores from the comfort of their homes.

The 3D feature is available from McEwan Fine Foods, the gourmet grocery store owned by Canadian celebrity chef Mark McEwan, which is located in Toronto’s Don Mills neighborhood. Shoppers who visit McEwan’s 3D portal on Inabuggy are able to walk through the store, viewing products from pantry staples to prepared foods. If a shopper wants to buy something they see, they simply click on a green dot that’s visible over product groupings—such as sandwiches, pasta sauces, or cereals—and they will be redirected towards the product page for that category of items.

What it looks like to virtually walk through McEwan’s grocery store.

“Our first-of-its-kind virtual shopping portal piloted with McEwan Don Mills is offering customers a glimpse into the online grocery shopping experience of the future,” said Julian Gleizer, CEO and founder of Inabuggy. “This premium experience enhances both customer engagement and convenience, and lets customers get a close-up view of store items within each aisle, letting them feel like they are physically in the store.”

McEwan said he was “thrilled” to launch the 3D feature with Inabuggy, adding that the new tool will “allow our guests to discover our offerings from the comfort of their homes, making it even easier to eat well.”

Inabuggy, which was founded in 2015, offers delivery from more than 50 retail partners in Canada, including Costco, Canadian Tire, and Walmart, plus a number of smaller, independent grocers and markets such as McEwan. The company currently serves more than 200 regions with Canada, and stocks more than 700,000 SKUs.

Virtual shopping has been on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic, as more retailers look for new ways to creatively engage a customer base that has pivoted strongly towards e-commerce. Livestream shopping, a model that is well-established in China and other Asian markets, has been adopted by a number of brands in 2020, including Levi’s, Hilfiger, L’Oreal, and Swarovski. E-comm giant Shopify, meanwhile, partnered with Hero in July to offer virtual shopping, which allows Shopify merchants to assist customers via text, voice, or video, just as they would in-store.

A number of merchants have also added augmented reality features to their online platforms, allowing shoppers to see how items would look in their homes before purchasing. While this is different from virtual shopping, it also demonstrates how retailers are working to bring the online shopping experience to the material world for customers. This includes Amazon, which earlier this year expanded its Room Decorator tool, and Etsy, which allows users to see how art pieces would look on their walls before purchasing. AR is also used for virtual try-ons, by cosmetics companies such as L’Oreal, and apparel manufacturers such as Champs and Gucci.

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