eBay’s physical stores are giving it the jump on competitors this Christmas

While most retail businesses this year are pushing to get a bigger slice of the online shopping spend, eBay Inc. has turned the tables on its more-traditional competitors by opening up physical “pop-up” stores in New York, San Francisco and London.

Open for only five days (from 1 – 5 December) these stores will allow consumers to touch-and-feel products and purchase the product on the spot by using QR codes and scanning it in with their mobile phones.

Traditional shoppers who are not accustomed to buying their Christmas goods online may be tempted to try it out for themselves and experience the convenience of buying directly online and having the goods shipped directly to their homes.

This gives eBay Inc. a clear advantage; the fact that it’ll still arrange shipping for the consumer, so there’s no need to drag heavy shopping bags around with you while you’re out shopping.

Sky News reports that Londoners will spend an eye-watering £300 000 PER MINUTE on Manic Monday, the traditional day in the year when retailers offer holiday deals, with an estimated total of £424 million spent on Christmas Gifts and Toys throughout the day.

According to Business Week, the online retail space for the 3rd quarter could represent up to $59.5-billion, and while this may seem staggering, it’s important to understand that this figure is only about 15% of retail spend. Online spend currently only represents about 5% of retail market.

eBay Inc. clearly wants to increase this percentage — and the physical stores may just make people more comfortable with buying online if they have a store-clerk holding their hand during the transaction.

For many people the stress of Christmas shopping may be neatly negated if you could do all your Christmas shopping online, and eBay represents the best place for many shoppers as the variety of goods available is astonishing.

eBay can no longer be labelled as just an auction site, as many smaller retailers and manufacturers are using the platform to increase their sales.

While the physical stores may only be open for five days, the move could be seen as a toe in the water: Will eBay be able to convert the traditional shopper into an online shopper by physically guiding one through the process?

While the competition between online stores and retail stores will continue unabated for many years to come, the clear advantage is to the consumer, who wins all the way.



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