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On what many predict will be the busiest online shopping weekend of the year, eBay has opened a pop-up shop in London’s Covent Garden to promote itself as a destination for Christmas shopping.
The shop doesn’t have any products on show, but instead uses QR codes and augmented reality to links shoppers to product pages on eBay.
The idea is partly to give inspiration for Christmas gifts, but also to showcase eBay’s broad range of mobile apps.
Ebay expects a third of Christmas purchases to be made through mobile this year, though the percentage is predicted to be even higher than that for fashion and homewares.
Ebay predicts that Sunday will be the busiest online shopping day of 2012 and expects to receive around 6m visits to its website.
To put this in context, eBay normally receives around 17m unique visitors per month.
And the retailer isn’t alone in predicting a surge in online shopping this weekend, fuelled in part by the fact that most consumers will have just been paid.
Experian Hitwise predicts that on Monday 3 December the UK will make 115m visits to retail websites, an uplift of 36% from 2011.
The first Monday in December last year saw the UK make 84.6m visits to online retail sites, with Amazon and eBay attracting 28% of those visits.
Ebay opened a similar pop-up shop near Oxford Street around the same time last year, however that one was in an actual store while the new pop-up shop is in a purpose-built unit in Covent Garden.
Also, in 2011 the shop contained real products, though shoppers had to scan QR codes in order to purchase them from eBay.co.uk.
Head of buyer experience Carrie Bienkowski said the company didn’t want to do another actual shop, but still wanted to be in the heart of London’s shopping district.
Last year was more about showcasing the brands that we partner with, but this year we want to show people that they can shop anywhere, anyhow. It’s really about demoing the power of mobile.
There’s also a big emphasis on social shopping. On of the ‘zones’ includes a Twitter Barometer that displays the top 10 most popular gifts based on sentiment analysis from the social network.
Unsurprisingly Justin Bieber was atop the list this morning, with other items including the iPad, iPod and digital cameras. The idea is that shoppers then scan a QR code and buy the items on eBay.
Other zones in the pop-up shop include ‘Top Toys & Tech’ which uses AR to bring to life a number of toys and gadgets - including a Furby and Spiderman - and a fashion area that displays a live feed of Instagram images taken by eBay’s fashion bloggers.
Shoppers can also scan different winter fabrics using eBay’s fashion app, which pulls up product ideas using image recognition.
The pop-up shop is open for three days from now until Sunday, and eBay expects to welcome around 3,000 shoppers through its doors.