eBay has pledged to blur the line between online and in-store shopping, and a new experiment in New York City offers shoppers a glimpse at what happens when those two worlds collide.
Unveiled last Saturday, shoppers are able to select and buy fashion merchandise via interactive storefront windows set up around Manhattan. Using any one of four 24-hour Windows Shops, people can pick the items they want through a touch screen, schedule a one-hour delivery to any location in the city, and then pay for the products through eBay’s online and mobile payment platform, PayPal.
In a post on the company’s blog, eBay described the project as “a month-long experiment,” open through July 6, which eBay has been testing in San Jose, the company headquarters. The shoppable windows are a display of how the limits of a traditional brick-and-mortar store can vanish with the help of virtual technology, eBay said.
The interactive window shops will, for now, sell only a couple dozen items from Kate Spade Saturday, a new line of clothes by the designer.
“Our partnership brings the best of online shopping into the physical world, and rolls mobile technology, same-day delivery, and seamless digital payments into one end-to-end customer experience,” the blog said.
The company added that “In the future, we see commerce as both local and global, online and offline, where big and small players can succeed with each other, not in spite of each other.”
New York City is one of a handful of markets where the company is testing its one-hour delivery service, eBay Now. The service is also in San Francisco and San Jose, and is expanding to Chicago and Dallas this summer. CEO John Donahoe told this newspaper in April that the delivery service was about “less about getting it in an hour and more about getting it when (consumers) want it.”
Donahoe has pledged to create a new world of commerce where brick and mortar, online and mobile merge to create a retail world where consumers can shop, pay and receive their purchases through any combination of online, mobile and in-store interactions. Given Donahoe’s mission, the shoppable windows are the natural progression for eBay, and one of the snazziest new technologies the company has launched lately. eBay has also recently launched products such as localized apps to help people find deals at their neighborhood boutique shops and scanning apps to find the best price for an item among the stores in an area, and services such as in-store pickup and free online marketplace listings for eBay sellers.