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Posted by Adam Silverman on February 6, 2014
Looking back at 2013, it’s easy to see all of the great innovation occurring within the digital store. Most retailers focused on omnichannel fulfillment, whether it was click-and-collect or ship-from-store. Some retailers like B&Q in the U.K. began to experiment with dynamic pricing in-store. If 2013 was about launching new services, 2014 will be about shedding light on the actual performance of these initiatives.
One example of new digital store technology is eBay’s digital storefronts. Last year in June, eBay made a splash by deploying a digital storefront for Kate Spade, allowing customers to browse and buy products from a giant digital screen strategically placed over a vacant physical storefront. This digital storefront replaces the static posters that mall operators use to cover up vacant stores. This past holiday season, eBay expanded the pilot and deployed a series of digital storefronts in a popular San Francisco mall. These new digital storefronts are a few blocks from the Forrester offices, and I capitalized on the close proximity to conduct some research on how the technology was being used and received. eBay launched three digital storefronts: a small format Rebecca Minkoff storefront, a small format TOMS storefront, and a large Sony storefront in front of an escalator exit.
In mid December, I spent two hours observing customer interactions with the digital storefronts (some might even call it lurking). After an informal assessment of almost 500 shoppers who passed by these digital storefronts, I came to the following conclusions:
I applaud eBay for continually innovating around the digital store, and can only imagine the insights they are learning from these trials as well as future iterations that build on this early deployment. However, in its current state, the digital storefronts did not add sufficient value to shoppers in the Age of the Customer compared to physical stores.
Over the next few months, I’ll be releasing a series of research around the digital store including an overview on beacons and location analytics. In the meantime, I’d like to hear your thoughts on digital storefronts and the digital store in general. Please feel free to schedule an inquiry or briefing with me to discuss this topic in greater detail.
Sony digital storefront:
TOMS digtial storefront:
Rebecca Minkoff digital storefront:
Celestine SF - control store located across from the digital storefronts