Peapod unveils virtual grocery store aisle at CTA State/Lake tunnel

Robert Channick:

A Chicago “L” station is about the last place you would think of to pick up a carton of milk.

But online grocer Peapod has turned a busy CTA station at State and Lake streets into a virtual supermarket aisle, enabling commuters to use their smartphones to scan and buy any of 70 items.

Appearing overnight on once-barren walls, 7-foot-tall virtual shelves line both sides of a 60-foot tunnel, filled with everything from paper towels and diapers to fresh produce. Android and iPhone users can download a free Peapod mobile app to load up their electronic grocery carts for delivery the next day.

Chicago, Peapod’s largest market, is the second U.S. city to roll out the interactive supermarket shelves, which first appeared last month at Philadelphia train stations. Other Chicago locations might be added, as well as locations in other cities, depending on what happens during a 12-week run at the station, which averages 17,640 commuters each weekday.