Today, eBay opened a brick and mortar concept store in the UK's Wolverhampton. The month-long retail experiment will offer wares from 40 small, local businesses and will host a series of free, interactive workshops. While eBay has opened pop-ups before, this is the first of its kind in the UK, and it's meant to test how physical and online retail might work together.
Rather than exchanging cash for goods, customers will make purchases by scanning QR codes. The products they buy will then be delivered, not carried out. The QR codes will help eBay track sales and traffic metrics, which could inform how physical stores can drive separate, online sales. The shop will "explore how stores of the future could combine technology with that vital human connection to powerful effect -- whatever the size of the business," said Rob Hattrell, vice president of eBay in the UK.
eBay's partnership with Wolverhampton came about last year, after research revealed that a quarter of the UK's small retailers don't have an online presence, and 71 percent of those had no plans of developing one. Of course, as companies like Amazon experiment with physical stores and cashless models, perhaps eBay is looking to head in that direction as well.