Better known for its presence online, eBay has now opened its first physical shop in London’s West End.
Just in time for Christmas, the pop-up store is open for five days and features over 200 new items. But there are no tills and no queues. Shoppers simply scan the item they want using QR technology, pay for it online and wait for it to be delivered to their home.
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“I still go to the shops a lot for browsing. So I go to get all my ideas, but then, in order to get the best deals and discounts, I tend to buy it all online.”
eBay may have begun its business as an online auction site, selling other people’s stuff. But it’s grown into one of the UK’s largest shopping destinations, with many retailers setting up virtual stores on its site.
Miriam Lahage is eBay’s Global Head of Fashion…
“Sixty percent of our merchandise is new, and 60% of the merchandise is at fixed price. So you can buy things, have it delivered in just a matter of days, and you’re all ready for Christmas – no queues, no lines, no stress.”
eBay isn’t the only firm to take advantage of the smartphone shopping boom.
Both Tesco and Ocado have trialed virtual shopping “walls,” where shoppers can browse and order groceries using mobile phone apps.
It’s a trend that looks set to stay, according to Natalie Berg from Planet Retail…
“It’s putting a lot of pressure on retailers to make sure that they’re offering low prices in stores. And some retailers are succumbing to this trend towards price transparency. John Lewis, for example, recently implemented Wi-Fi in its stores. So I think retailers have to recognize that shoppers are very savvy. They will use their smartphones to check prices. The risk, of course, for the high street retailers, is that their stores can essentially be turned into show rooms as shoppers look online for the better deal.”
eBay’s Christmas Boutique may be just an experiment, but as more and more people switch to mobile technology, the line between online and high street is becoming increasingly blurred.
Bottom line: Online auction giant, eBay, is taking on traditional retailers as Christmas approaches, launching a pop-up shop in London, which stocks the website’s 200 bestselling items.