eBay gives new meaning to the term ‘window shopping’

Consumers can buy from digital displays on three stores in a San Francisco mall.

Don Davis

Storefront windows are no longer just for looking at merchandise: Consumers can buy directly from the windows without entering the store, at least in the case of three storefronts at a San Francisco mall.

EBay Inc. announced today that it has created shoppable store windows for three retailers in the downtown Westfield San Francisco Centre mall, part of the Westfield Group of shopping centers. A shopper can walk up to the windows at the Sony, Toms and Rebecca Minkoff stores, touch her finger to the glass to browse through items as she would on a touchscreen and make a purchase by sending the order to her mobile phone.

She can enter her phone number and receive a text message on her phone, or enter in a short code URL and complete the order on her mobile device. All three retailers will deliver the goods for free to the shopper’s home, or she can pick up the items she orders in the Sony store. Payment is made through PayPal, which eBay owns, and a shopper without a PayPal account can pay as a guest with a credit or debit card.

EBay created a similar window earlier in the year for a New York store of apparel retailer Kate Spade, one of several examples of eBay collaborating with store-based retailers. For example, several retail chains are testing eBay Now, a service that provides one-hour deliveries of online orders from stores. EBay last month bought UK-based Shutl, a specialist in same-day delivery, to accelerate the rollout of eBay Now.

The digital store windows, which offer about 100 orders for sale, will be operational until Jan. 12, 2014, eBay says Steve Yankovich, eBay Inc.’s head of innovation and new ventures, according to an eBay blog.

“This is not a pilot for us,” Yankovich is quoted as saying on the blog. “This is a thing we’re going to scale.”

The San Francisco mall project was a collaboration between eBay and Westfield Labs, a technology development unit created last year by Westfield Group, the shopping mall operator says. The offices of Westfield Labs are one floor aboe the three storefronts with the digital windows.




e-payments, eBay, online marketplaces, PayPal, Rebecca Minkoff, San Francisco, Sony, Toms