Inabuggy brings VR shopping to St. Lawrence Market

The grocery delivery service is building on learnings from a pilot at high-end grocery banners.

On-demand grocery and alcohol deliverer Inabuggy is giving users a new view of Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market, adding a 3D virtual shopping portal to its capabilities.

Torontonians can now do a “walk through” of the shops and stalls of the St. Lawrence Market, with which Inabuggy partnered in February of this year.

Now, however, users can virtually shop from 30 vendors in what Inabuggy says is a seamless market environment, giving users the opportunity to explore and see close-up views of the produce, meats, fish, grains, baked goods and dairy products.

Samantha Wiles, St Lawrence Market’s supervisor of marketing, communications and events, says that the move allows more people to access the Market’s different vendors in a new way – one that doesn’t expose them to crowds.

As reported in strategy, Inabuggy last year, as part of a test pilot with high end banner McEwan Fine Foods, it deployed tech that lets shoppers explore in store from the comfort of their homes.

“We were very excited to bring that to market,” says Akram Hasanov, Inabuggy Canada director of growth and strategy. “Even now, as stores are reopening and life is getting back to normal, people are used to on-demand service and the convenience factor.”

While he could not offer specifics for the McEwan pilot, he says a large number of its customer base switched to online virtual shopping. Since then, Inabuggy has been buoyed by consistent usage increases, even as most shoppers still prefer conventional online shopping through a “classic” store view of thumbnails.

“We’ve enabled customers to choose between the two on the website,” he says.

Hasanov says it’s seeing what it expected to see in terms of viewing habits: a lot of customer purchasing decisions are being made in-store. And it’s seeing similar trends on its platform too: when a customer is browsing virtual aisles, and they seen an item that really intrigue them, they end up adding it to their carts.

“It’s definitely a different way to shop, and we are hoping to bring it to more customers,” he says.