eBay Gets Literal With Window Shopping In The Form Of Touchscreen Storefronts

Not one of the new windows, mind you. (erikg)

Not one of the new windows, mind you. (erikg)

The thing about the phrase “window shopping” as we know it, is it really should be called “window browsing.” Because unless you’re in the market for new fenestration, you’re not really window shopping. But now eBay is making that literal move to turn the term into a truthy one, with virtual stores called “shoppable windows at storefronts in New York City.

In the hopes of stirring up some buzz to help retailers in their existing network of physical stores, eBay’s push for touchscreen window shopping will start with the first screens opening from June 8 through July 7 in the busiest parts of the Big Apple, reports Reuters.

Users won’t be able to buy anything their heart desires on the screens (or actually go into the closed stores themselves), but will feature a number of items from brands like Kate Spade Saturday. Once you’ve found what you want to buy, you simply place your order on the screen and the item will be delivered to wherever you designate within the hour, via courier.

Payment will be processed through PayPal Here, an eBay mobile payment service.

So does this make it a move back toward brick-and-mortar stores, or an extra push toward the mobile? Kinda both, but more of an online-while-you’re-outside thing, says Steve Yankovich, head of eBay’s Innovation and New Ventures group, which developed the technology.

“This extends the boundary of the store. Suddenly the physical store, by virtue of online technology, extends to any space that’s interesting to use,” Yankovich told Reuters.

While the windows are being used right now to help launch the new Kate Spade brand without the bother of opening new stores, eventually the company wants to use the technology in its existing stores like Juicy Couture, says Chief Executive William McComb.


“This gives us the ability to produce more from our retail space,” McComb said. “My nickname for it is the Wall as a Mall.”

EBay to open ‘shoppable windows’ in New York [Reuters]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.