November 18, 2014
eBay recently tied up with the fashion brand Rebecca Minkoff to deliver a unique retail experience at one of the brand’s stores in New York. It basically involves a dressing room featuring a computerized mirror display. The important part is that eBay is using this display to drive the use of its mobile payment platform PayPal.
Speaking of the customer experience, the ‘smart dressing room’ recognizes the product you pick from the shelves, recommends other items in the store to pair with it with and sends instructions about size, color, etc. to the sales clerk. The computerized mirror display gives the customer an option to check out then and there. Now this is something that customers would want to get a first-hand experience of.
eBay is leveraging this experience to push PayPal which is the only mobile payment method which the smart dressing room accepts. Customers who have the PayPal app on their phones can check-in when they enter the store and can simply use the mirror display when they want to pay. If eBay does provide a frictionless payment experience with this right kind of retail experience, then it gets the opportunity to better access the physical retail market which is ten times that of its traditional e-commerce market.
This is indeed an opportunity but it’s not like there is no competition. The fashion brand Prada had spent millions in digitizing its stores back in 2000. Macy’s recently rolled out the smart dressing room experience across five of its stores. Macy’s has linked up with Apple Pay for a frictionless checkout process. Apple Pay’s current performance shows it can give a tough fight to PayPal even in the physical retail space.
Overall, we should not ignore the fact that there’s real potential for adoption of mobile payments in retail. PayPal must continue to be aggressive to make its mobile payment systems more relevant in the retail space. eBay is clearly looking to expand the use of its computerized mirror displays. Rob Veres, senior director of innovation at eBay, said to VentureBeat that the company is focusing on other partnerships for the digital display and will be rolling out new products later.