EBay transforms Westfield SF Mall with digital storefronts

EBay unveiled digital storefronts in a San Francisco mall on Wednesday, giving holiday shoppers a glimpse of the latest innovation in high-tech commerce and a chance to shop from giant touchscreen glass windows.

The partnership between eBay and Westfield Labs, the tech arm of the Westfield group that operates 39 malls in the U.S., is eBay’s latest splashy display of fusing e-commerce innovation with traditional brick-and-mortar retail. EBay used connected glass panels, mobile technology and digital payments to transform the storefronts of three retailers at Westfield San Francisco Center into interactive shopping experiences. Shoppers can browse store inventory and select the items they want to buy by touching the large touchscreen glass panels in front of Sony, TOMS and Rebecca Minkoff stores.

“Shoppers can browse from roughly 100 products on the digital displays and then make a purchase by entering their phone number. They complete the transaction on their smartphone,” according to an eBay blog post.

After selecting their items from the digital windows, shoppers enter a text message or URL code on their phone to make the purchase. They can pay with a debit or credit card or, of course, eBay’s payment system PayPal. Shoppers can arrange for free home delivery from all three retailers, and have the option to pick up of merchandise at the Sony Gallery inside the mall.

The retailers will also be able to collect data such as popular products, peak purchase times and consumers’ digital shopping habits. Uri Minkoff, chief executive of fashion brand Rebecca Minkoff, said in a news release that the digital storefront gives the retailer the ‘opportunity to enhance and tailor the shopping experience for our consumer in the digital age.”

The digital storefronts — which are all located on the fourth floor of the mall — will be installed through Jan. 12. They are based on the interactive touchscreens eBay placed around New York City in June as part of a Kate Spade collaboration, a month-long experiment to see how consumers would respond to digital storefronts. Those 24-hour storefronts sold only a couple dozen items from Kate Spade Saturday, a new line of clothes by the designer.

And according to Steve Yankovich, eBay’s head of Innovation and New Ventures, Westfield San Francisco is just the beginning. The company plans to put the shoppable windows inside physical stores and it has filed several patents covering this new technology.

“This is not a pilot for us,” he said. “This is a thing we’re going to scale.”

Photo provided by eBay


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