EBay To Offer Actual Window Shopping On Vacant NYC Storefronts

The online retailer is going even more mobile by setting up shop at vacant storefronts.

Starting June 8, people walking down certain streets in New York City will be able to stop, turn and start window shopping.

“Hey,” you’re thinking, “can’t people do that already?” Yeah sure, but it’s not an eBay window! Derp. What does that even mean? It means every gimmick has a chance when it’s artfully done.

EBay is taking over four empty storefronts across downtown Manhattan on which people will be able to purchase any or all of 30 items presented from the new Kate Spade Saturday line. This is happening until July 7.

For eBay, it’s a new way to work more closely with retailers. The plan is to eventually take the technology and place it in existing stores. So it’s kind of like “The Mousetrap”  “play within a play” idea from Hamlet; you can buy stuff within a place where you’re already buying stuff.

“EBay’s ‘shoppable windows’ are an extension of the shift to mobile shopping, according to Steve Yankovich, head of the company’s Innovation and New Ventures group, which developed the technology,” Reuters reports.

“This gives us the ability to produce more from our retail space. My nickname for it is the Wall as a Mall,” added William McComb, CEO of Fifth & Pacific, the company behind Kate Spade Saturday. “Wall as a Mall” or “play within a play.” You know… whatever.

This is basically a convoluted way of giving people more chances to shop on the go; to be claustrophobically surrounded — or pleasantly surprised — by the presence of a brand when you least expect it. It once seemed crazy to see those Best Buy vending machines selling Apple products in airports. Now it’s absurd to think that we can’t get a new iPhone while we walk to the gate. If you’re hungry, there’s a food truck on the corner waiting to serve you a gourmet Korean-style taco. It’s not enough to be able to whip out your mobile device anywhere and buy anything you want. You have to whip it out to complete your eBay wall/vacant storefront transaction using PayPal Here.

“Hey,” you’re thinking again, “but can’t I just shop on eBay from my smartphone already, from the comfort of my bed?” Ebay’s not taking any questions.

(BTW, yes, it’s me. Your previous editor Tonya Garcia. I’ll be writing a few posts a week for PRNewser again, starting now. It’s good to be back.)