Online auction giant eBay makes its first move offline in the UK with a pop-up ‘eBay Christmas Boutique’.
The eBay store has opened in London’s West End just in time for what is expected to be the five busiest days for online shopping in the run-up to Christmas. For the next five days the temporary store in Soho will feature 350 items, all on offer from the online site. There are no tills in store – each item is connected to a QR code that can be scanned by smartphone or the HTC tablets provided. This takes customers straight to the eBay check-out site and their purchase will be delivered to their home the next day.
‘We wanted to bring the excitement of online and mobile shopping to offline because the lines are blurring,’ explains eBay director Miriam Lahage. With no tills or check-outs, consumers can avoid the queuing and bag carrying that can make Christmas shopping such an ordeal. Three dedicated rooms – a ‘girlie boutique’, ‘boys den’ and ‘child’s Christmas play room’ – give consumers a relaxed shopping journey and makes target buying easy to locate.
Consumer Insights: eBay has traditionally been identified as an online auction site for second-hand products, despite the growing popularity of its fixed-price ‘buy it now’ options and its listings of brand new items. The physical store highlights these attributes of the website and challenges consumers to reconsider their preconceptions of eBay.
Brand take-away: Showing that online commerce does not have to mean the death of the High Street, eBay illustrates the trend towards greater integration between physical and digital retailing. In part this reflects the need of online stores to reach busy consumers in the right place at the right time. Like Tesco’s QR storefront on the Seoul subway in South Korea and Net-a-Porter’s augmented reality Shop Window installation during London Fashion Week, eBay is bringing the store to the consumer at a key moment.