This is page 2 of:

Debenhams Gets Clever About Mobile Invisible Pop-Up Stores

November 2nd, 2011

If the customer has a friend with her, the customer can try and step into the dress so her friend can take a picture of the customer in that outfit.

“Shoppers will be able to view 10 party dresses, only available at the location, virtually try them on, order them and get the garment delivered to an address of their choice,” a Debenhams’ statement said, adding that participants would also get 20 percent off discount coupons for anything at the chain’s E-Commerce site.

Back in New York, eBay has deployed its own virtual store, but at least it has a bit more physicality to it. It looks like a series of department store window displays, with lots of QR codes. Products are on display. But there’s no physical store anywhere nearby.

Department stores are often described as showrooms for Amazon. In this case, eBay is taking the phrase literally, using the windows—and just the windows—to create a showroom for online purchases. (Flash: A retailer figures out a way to use windows without crashing. But seriously ladies and germs.)

For a 20 percent discount and a very small selection of dresses, it’s not clear that the incentive to travel to these locations would be that high. The intent of the Debenhams’ trial, though, was that customers wouldn’t have to go out of their way. The chain selected high-traffic locations and intended this trial only for consumers who would be at those locations anyway, perhaps because they work or live near them or because they are popular tourist spots.

There is nothing physical at all at the locations, in the sense of no projectors or monitors. Therefore, these virtual stores could be created on-the-fly virtually anywhere: In the middle of Times Square on New Year’s Eve, at the White House after an inauguration, in the middle of a sports arena, etc. Want to get creative and customized? What about placing it in the front yard (you’ll want satellite line-of-sight) of the customer? Want to get nasty? Have your ghostly products only available outside the complaint desk office door of your largest rival.

This idea is a gimmick now, but the idea of being able to place virtual products at any coordinate you can think up has huge possibilities. Also, the absence of the need for physical hardware at the site means it could be created within seconds to accommodate a very short-duration opportunity. Instant demos for customers, but demos that will only last 10 minutes? That gives people a reason to engage at a very specific moment. Maybe one out of every 10 of the images will have a virtual 80 percent coupon? Or a $200 giftcard? Suddenly, a 21st Century take on a treasure hunt starts to sound interesting again.


Comments are closed.


StorefrontBacktalk delivers the latest retail technology news & analysis. Join more than 60,000 retail IT leaders who subscribe to our free weekly email. Sign up today!

Most Recent Comments

Why Did Gonzales Hackers Like European Cards So Much Better?

I am still unclear about the core point here-- why higher value of European cards. Supply and demand, yes, makes sense. But the fact that the cards were chip and pin (EMV) should make them less valuable because that demonstrably reduces the ability to use them fraudulently. Did the author mean that the chip and pin cards could be used in a country where EMV is not implemented--the US--and this mis-match make it easier to us them since the issuing banks may not have as robust anti-fraud controls as non-EMV banks because they assumed EMV would do the fraud prevention for them Read more...
Two possible reasons that I can think of and have seen in the past - 1) Cards issued by European banks when used online cross border don't usually support AVS checks. So, when a European card is used with a billing address that's in the US, an ecom merchant wouldn't necessarily know that the shipping zip code doesn't match the billing code. 2) Also, in offline chip countries the card determines whether or not a transaction is approved, not the issuer. In my experience, European issuers haven't developed the same checks on authorization requests as US issuers. So, these cards might be more valuable because they are more likely to get approved. Read more...
A smart card slot in terminals doesn't mean there is a reader or that the reader is activated. Then, activated reader or not, the U.S. processors don't have apps certified or ready to load into those terminals to accept and process smart card transactions just yet. Don't get your card(t) before the terminal (horse). Read more...
The marketplace does speak. More fraud capacity translates to higher value for the stolen data. Because nearly 100% of all US transactions are authorized online in real time, we have less fraud regardless of whether the card is Magstripe only or chip and PIn. Hence, $10 prices for US cards vs $25 for the European counterparts. Read more...
@David True. The European cards have both an EMV chip AND a mag stripe. Europeans may generally use the chip for their transactions, but the insecure stripe remains vulnerable to skimming, whether it be from a false front on an ATM or a dishonest waiter with a handheld skimmer. If their stripe is skimmed, the track data can still be cloned and used fraudulently in the United States. If European banks only detect fraud from 9-5 GMT, that might explain why American criminals prefer them over American bank issued cards, who have fraud detection in place 24x7. Read more...

Our apologies. Due to legal and security copyright issues, we can't facilitate the printing of Premium Content. If you absolutely need a hard copy, please contact customer service.