eBay To Make True Window Shopping A Reality With New NYC Virtual Retail Stores

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eBay is debuting new “shoppable window” virtual stores over the course of this month and next (via Reuters), to help retailer Fifth & Pacific Companies Inc. sell its new line of Kate Spade Saturday clothing on window display screens measuring 9 feet by 2 feet, which cover the windows of closed stores and allow passers-by to browse and order a catalog of 30 items for same-day delivery.

The screens will resemble the window display put up by eBay back in 2011 in NYC, but these only offered QR codes that customers could scan that would take them to the eBay store on their mobile device to complete the purchase. The new interactive displays offer the full purchase experience, and result in a product being shipped to the customer within an hour by courier, says Reuters, with payment being accepted by the courier using PayPal Here, which is the Square competitor from PayPal parent company eBay.

For eBay, the move is a logical one given its attempts to bring more retailers on board with its existing services, and to become essentially a way for retailers to bridge the gap between brick and mortar and online sales in increasingly innovative ways. The project has the potential to extend to other brands within the Fifth & Pacific brand, its Chief Executive William McComb told Reutuers, with plans in place to add shoppable windows to Juicy Couture and Kate Spade New York locations if things pan out.

McComb told Reuters that this is interesting to retailers since it allows stores to offer selections well beyond what they’re capable of holding in terms of in-store inventory. It’s a little like the catalogue retail counters that were more popular in the 1980s, but with a blend of a true retail shop and an extended, virtual online presence.

eBay has been in the process of pivoting from a simple online marketplace into an e-commerce platform since at least last year. Mobile and local personalization are priorities of the re-focus, as Leena noted in October, and this fits in with those goals. Plus, it’s an olive branch to retailers that might be feeling the pinch of Amazon acquiring more and more influence via its online store, which continues to grow in power each year.