Digital Storefronts and Shoppable Windows

With the holidays coming up, everyone’s looking for time to shop so they can get all their gifts. Ideally, they’d like to avoid the mad rush of other people doing their last-minute shopping.

Now eBay has combined the use of some pretty awesome technology and people’s need for simplicity. As of right now, they’re debuting the concept only in San Francisco, but we can hope the company will be rolling out all over the country eventually.

What is it?

Imagine walking up to a large window that is actually a touch-screen, where you can view and order products, and it can also take your payments. That is pretty much what eBay launched in San Francisco for patrons of Sony, TOMS, and Rebecca Minkoff.

This is essentially a futuristic look at shopping. They are taking the term “window shopping” to a whole new level.

eBay is particularly interested in this venture because businesses still do the majority of their sales in-store. Even though the Internet is a great asset for many companies, most shoppers still hit the pavement and go to a physical outlet. So the new technique is an interesting combination of in-store shopping and cutting-edge technology.

How long will it last?

The San Francisco experiment will run for only about two months, and the storefronts will be active from November 20th to January 12th. This is peak holiday season, obviously, with a little time left over for people to go out and spend their holiday cash or gift cards.

A similar experiment has been conducted in New York, where several storefronts employed similar technology and got pretty stable success rates. An important thing to note is that the screens are not just sitting there, stagnant and waiting for someone to come up. The screens actually monitor how many people are walking by; they can scan up to 15 feet away.

This helps the storefront analysts decide how many people are actually coming up versus walking past, so they can decide how to make the storefronts more appealing in the future.

This isn’t the first time that eBay has tried to integrate their services with in-store options. The company has worked with Toys”R”Us in the past and installed screens in the aisles where customers could search for what they needed. Then the program would pull up the best-selling items that were in stock with a map of where to find them in the store, and even any coupons associated with that item.

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Osho is Tech blogger. He contributes to the Blogging, Gadgets, Social Media and Tech News section on TecheHow.