Jun 12 2013

Shopping 2.0: N.Y. Retailer Deploys Touch-Screen “Wall as a Mall”

Kate Spade and eBay have teamed up to provide a unique shopping experience that brings online and offline worlds together.

The rise of eCommerce has meant, in some ways, a shift away from traditional brick-and-mortar retail shopping. According to recent research from Rakuten, 63 percent of retailers expect sales in brick-and-mortar stores to decrease this year.

But the decline in physical retail sales doesn’t present the whole story of the ongoing evolution in the industry. According to a report from Computerworld, survey data from 2012 shows that while many consumers deemed online shopping “convenient” and their “favorite” way to shop, brick-and-mortar shopping was also seen as the most “reliable” and “safe” way to shop.

In an attempt to reinvent the shopping experience, eBay has partnered with fashion retailer Kate Spade for a series of touch-screen interactive storefronts for its Kate Spade Saturday brand.

Customers will be able to browse the designer’s collection through the interactive storefront and place an order for same-day delivery. In a post on its official blog, eBay announced the partnership and elaborated on the collaboration:

Each interactive storefront allows shoppers to select and order merchandise from Kate Spade Saturday, Kate Spade’s new weekender line, on a touchscreen, schedule a free one-hour delivery to anywhere in the city, and pay with PayPal Here upon delivery.

Our partnership brings the best of online shopping into the physical world, and rolls mobile technology, same-day delivery, and seamless digital payments into one end-to-end customer experience.

eBay’s “shoppable window” extends the boundary of the store, said Steve Yankovich, head of the company’s Innovation and New Ventures group, which developed the technology.

William McComb, CEO of Kate Spade’s parent company Fifth & Pacific, told Reuters, “My nickname for it is the Wall as a Mall.” He also pointed out that it gives the retailer the ability to do more with limited space.

The campaign is set to run in New York City from June 8 through July 7.

There’s no word on the possibility of extending the campaign if it proves successful, but the experiment serves as an interesting middle ground between physical and online retail experiences. Perhaps online shopping doesn’t have to replace in-store completely. Maybe there’s room for a best-of-both-worlds experience.

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