This morning, online retailer eBay opened the doors to its first high street shop. It will remain open for just five days and, unlike conventional shops, there’s no till and you won’t leave with the goods you’ve bought.
So, eBay’s shop contains 350 products for you to handle, and should you want to buy one of them you can open up eBay app on your smartphone, scan the QR code on the label and make the purchase.
If you don’t have an eBay account, well then eBay’s staff will help you set one up. And if you don’t have a smartphone you can just use one of the shop’s own tablets.
I decided to pop down to eBay’s first high street store, not only to speak to eBay’s director of retail, Angus McCarey, but also to shoppers. Does eBay’s shop represent the future of shopping – here’s what its customers, and Suzi Perry of The Gadget Show, had to say:
Molly the serial mobile shopper
‘I still like the experience of going to the shops to have a look around and this combines them both – you can come down and do your browsing, but still buy on your phone to get the best deals.’
Troy likes the convenience factor
‘I’m one of those consumers who leaves Christmas shopping until the very last second. However, I’ve been tempted to purchase something here so I don’t have to carry it to work and then carry it home – I can just have it delivered.
‘It would be nice to have it as an option, say on a widescreen TV, where I can walk in, click and purchase it without having to walk out the door with it and put it on a bus or in a car.’
James Beardon from Which?
‘I don’t see this as the best of both worlds, I see it as the worst of both worlds. I only go through the hassle of visiting a shop if I absolutely need something immediately, whereas if I can wait, I shop online from home.
‘eBay’s solution mixes the hassle of going to a shop with the hassle of having to wait for a product to be delivered – and it’s not as if you can even try the clothes on. Novelty value should keep the shop busy for five days.’
Darren thinks it’s a revolution
‘It’s the mixture of two things and there are some really good brands here, which is encouraging.
‘Bringing the Ebay shop to the high street is pretty unique.’
Suzi Perry, The Gadget Show presenter
‘I think what’s great about it is that you can physically handle the goods that you’re buying and then there’s no queuing to pay and there’s no hassle. You just go home and they get delivered to you so you’re not wandering around with loads of bags.
‘You get that combination of using technology to buy and having the physical experience of actually holding the product.’
Do you think eBay’s shop, where you browse, scan, order online and wait for delivery, is the future of high street shopping?