Consumer Psychology for a Digital Age

Ebay’s London Pop-up Shop: A Vision of Social Commerce Tomorrow?

So you know the first rule of commerce (whether e-commerce or traditional retail): If it has a universal product code, Amazon will kill you. But what then? Ebay has provided us with a vision of the future of commerce, with a distinctly social flavour with its seasonal pop-up store in London’s Covent Garden in the West End.

Housed in a container box (a la BoxPark – the world’s first pop-up mall) that has temporarily landed in the busy Covent Garden shopping area (strategically next to the Apple Store), the eBay pop-up social commerce store is best described as a “dynamic virtual store“. It combines the new trend in virtual stores (no products,  just images of products projected or postered onto walls – each with scannable buy codes) and Amazon-style recommendations based on what’s popular now – brought in from social network chatter.  The result is a dynamic virtual store showing and selling popular seasonal gifts to smartphone wielding consumers.

Additional eye-candy is offered through augmented reality, point your smartphone at an image, and see a 3D overlay of the product. And polish your halo with extra info on how eBay purchases have a social conscience – your eBay purchases help the social enterprise give back to the community.

In truth, the eBay pop-up store works more as a concept and vision – rather than efficient shopping tool (it required an additional app download triggered by the eBay app, that stubbornly refused to download).  But we like it because it outlines what an Amazon-proof retail strategy of the future could look like

  • Event based – opportunistic, temporary pop-up around a popular shopping/calendar event
  • Experiential – re-imagines sensorial shopping in a fun interactive way with technology consumers know and love
  • Efficient – or ‘asset-light‘ in Mary Meeker Speak – low cost retail solution that bridges the artificial online/offline shopping divide
Of course, it’s missing the other big E of Amazon-proof retail. Exclusives.  But add ‘not-available-on-Amazon’ exclusives into the mix, and the eBay’s dynamic virtual pop-up store starts to look Amazon-proof. Maybe it’s time to love eBay again?
Social Virtual Stores – the Future of Social Commerce? (Dynamic Product Displays + Pop-up Retail)

Comments (8):

  1. inSparq

    December 5, 2012 at 18:23

    eBay has the right idea. The pop-up store, with its Amazon-style recommendations, is ripe for tech such as ours, particularly our Pinboard. Consumsers are still making buying decisions from social chatter in their network, despite the numbers on a recent report saying otherwise.

    Social commerce is still in its infancy, and though consumers aren’t directly buying via social networks (at least not yet), they still seek advice for purchases.

  2. Roman

    December 6, 2012 at 19:26

    Nice idea, especially during holiday season! This really brings cross-channel commerce to life and lets offline retailers sell their products offline.

  3. ab1design

    April 24, 2013 at 12:06

    Yesterday evening, I went to a talk in central London given by a man called Sarwant Singh and he talked about Ai Pop up stores in great detail. It was intriguing. The concept and technology has so many possibilities.

  4. Paul Marsden

    April 24, 2013 at 16:52

    Thanks Alex, interesting – is Sarwant’s the talk online? – would love to hear it…


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