“Browse in-store and buy online” has become something of a mantra for contemporary shoppers, resulting in woe for major brick-and-mortar retailers. Now eBay is hoping to help them play catch-up, today introducing a tablet platform outfitted with tools for retail associates.
“The idea is to save the sale,” David Geisinger, head of retail business strategy and innovation for eBay, told Women’s Wear Daily. “Imagine you walk into Nine West and see a pair of boots but they don’t have your size. Traditionally, the process to get the boots in the right size has been complicated.” With eBay’s new platform, an associate can see matches at all the retailer’s locations, across its entire inventory, in real time, and potentially close the deal right then and there.
In addition to omnichannel inventory access, the platform serves as a point of sale and tracks data on store performance and consumers’ purchase history. So far 1,500 store locations are using one or more of the platform’s tools, including stores owned by Nine West, DSW, and Aéropostale.
The rollout comes amid a time of change in retail–and at eBay. Online and offline retailers are going head-to-head for consumer spending on household staples and groceries, with Amazon introducing one-hour delivery for Prime members in Manhattan and Walmart testing drive-through grocery pickup in Arkansas. EBay’s own same-day delivery service has struggled to gain traction; last year the company folded the eBay Now app into its general mobile app and scaled back regional expansion plans.
At the moment eBay is at a crossroads, with PayPal’s spin-out looming and a slew of senior executives preparing to depart. Retail partnerships have been an area of growth for the company since its 2011 acquisition of e-commerce platform Magento for $180 million, which bodes well for the new platform.