EBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) has announced that it will begin an e-commerce experiment in New York City this month that will allow shoppers to browse and buy items from fashion brand Kate Spade Saturday using giant touchscreens located at four different locations in Manhattan.
The interactive “shoppable windows” will allow customers to shop for items in the Kate Spade Saturday collection via touch-screen. The windows will be open 24 hours a day from June 8 through July 7 at 4 busy intersections in the city. EBay has been testing the windows at its headquarters in San Jose, California, for the past few months to get them ready for the unveiling in NYC.
Shoppers will use the 9-foot long, 2-foot high screens to purchase items from Kate Spade Saturday, a new fashion brand launched recently by apparel retailer Fifth and Pacific Cos. (NYSE:FNP). The products purchased will be delivered for free within an hour to any location in the city via a courier service. The service will accept payment on delivery using eBay’s PayPal Here mobile card reading service.
EBay has been trying to help large retailers reach more online and mobile shoppers. The company has attracted Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT) to its online market place and is in the process of developing mobile shopping technology for other large retailers, including Macy’s Inc. (NYSE:M).
“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,” said Steve Yankovich, head of eBay’s Innovation and New Ventures group, which developed the technology.
Fifth & Pacific is using the windows to launch Kate Spade Saturday without having to open stores initially. The company also said it plans to use the windows in existing stores of its other brands, including Kate Spade New York and Juicy Couture. The company’s Chief Executive Officer William McComb seemed excited about the possibilities offered by the new technology. ”This gives us the ability to produce more from our retail space,” McComb said. “My nickname for it is the Wall as a Mall.” The screens will be useful in smaller stores, where they will offer a bigger selection if something a customer is looking for isn’t on the shelf.
McComb said the company can also use the windows to sell things like home furnishings, which normally would take up a lot of room in a store. ”We would never be able to fit all those products in a store in the traditional way,” McComb said. “These things would typically require an extra 10,000 square feet of store space. But through partnerships like this eBay one, we could do this through stores that are 2,000 square feet.”
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