eBay has gone physical with a pop-up Christmas boutique in London’s West End. It’s a hands-off, shopper-powered setup – no tills, no queues, just an array of products with QR codes that consumers can scan with their smartphones to buy from the eBay website, delivered in time for Christmas.
The store is experimental, but this feels like a case of surprising with the obvious, possibly the first indicator of a mega-trend in reverse: once the web was an extension of retailers’ physical presence; here the physical presence becomes an extension of the web as the primary “store”.
Is it a sign of things to come? Maybe. But there will always be a place for the full-service shopping trip where grand masters of retail surprise and delight and the shopper is hero. It’s vintage AND AND – it’s more likely that eBay’s sideways shuffle will spark more deeply integrated physical and online offerings, providing richer shopping experiences everywhere. Where you want to shop doesn’t matter – the only thing that matters is that you can, when you want to, how you want to.