The online auction and sales platform provider recently opened pop-up stores in London and Berlin, where customers were able to make purchases using smartphones and also obtain advice and training on how to sell on eBay.


Though anyone can see that retailing is currently going through a turbulent phase and the multichannel approach might be seen as a must, how the future will look is nevertheless far from clear. A number of scenarios are possible. Among the initiatives that have been taken, we see traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers such as Carrefour enabling customers to shop on other channels and stores such as Mattel et Walmart joining forces to showcase their products on 3D walls where goods can be ordered by clicking on barcodes, just as PickBe  has done for five partner brands in Spain. We can also point to the increasing number of virtual stores along the lines of Kaviari, a purveyor of specialised foodstuffs, which sells its wares only during particular periods and at special events. In the other direction, an increasing number of former online ‘pure players’, such as  Pixmania, are now going into stationary stores.  At the crossroads of all these initiatives, eBay,  decided to try out a pop-up store format showcasing new technology and providing advice and training on sales, where all purchases are made virtually using a mobile device.

Raising awareness among m-commerce players

The first pop-up store opened in Covent Garden, London on 30 November and ran until 2 December and a second was to be found in Berlin’s Mitte district from 6-16 December, these two cities being the capitals of the largest eBay markets in Europe. At each store the basic aim was to raise awareness among not only the general public but also trade players, offering a smooth shopping experience while also focusing on the development of new gateway technologies for buying and selling on the platform. QR Codes were posted beside each of the 150 products on display at the two stores. Customers used their smartphones to make the purchases and the items were then delivered directly to their homes. “The aim was to focus on the relationship between buyer and seller, as we see that the buying and selling experience has changed in line with the evolution in retailing,” Nathalie Touzain, Head of Corporate Communications at eBay France, explained to L'Atelier.

Will eBay pop up again?

“Today there is a rich and wide-ranging variety of shopping experiences open to the customer,”underlined Ms Touzain, pointing out that the emergence of mobile technology has changed the landscape for both customers and online pure players. It therefore makes sense for such companies to base their strategy on mobile technology, as illustrated by the fact that “eBay has been recording one purchase per second from smartphones.”  Does that mean that eBay will be repeating the pop-up store initiative?“We may well use the same idea next Christmas season,” confides Nathalie Touzain, but there is no suggestion that there will ever be a bricks-and-mortar store. “If we do decide to repeat the experience,we’ll work along the same lines, but we would try to do more with the technologies that will be available then,” she revealed, and “in any case, in the  e-commerce world, ‘vision’ often only means six months ahead,” stressed the eBay Corporate Communications Director.