Ebay app bridges online, in-store selling for retailers
EBay introduced a mobile application it says will enable sales clerks at stores to use web-grade analytics to personalize customer interaction and boost sales. No retailer is actually using the technology just yet, but eBay’s retail partners — including Aeropostale, Macy’s, Toys ‘R’ Us and Urban Outfitters — say they will be adopting it soon.
Ebay says this so-called Retail Associate Platform can identify a customer, call up a review of the shopper’s preferences and suggest merchandise from the current inventory. “With more-traditional retail models, if a customer walks in and doesn’t buy, the retailer has no idea they even exist,” said David Geisinger, head of retail business strategy at eBay Enterprise, in a press release. “Even if they do buy with a credit card, the information they have is very minimal. With this new technology, retailers will be able to gather more detail that can help them understand the customer and compete in a crowded commerce landscape.”
Customers who have opted for the service could enter a store and have the clerks use Bluetooth technology to compile a profile. The customer may check in by means of eBay’s PayPal app, or else by eBay’s or the individual retailer’s proprietary app. Geisinger said at a press even that customers have become comfortable with sharing their data, as long as they perceive that they receive value in return. And the “opt in” nature of the platform negates any privacy concerns, he says.
The app will reveal a customer’s name, photograph, previous purchases, online browsing history, and even size and color preferences. The sales associates may even be able to see products that these shoppers have expressed interest in but not actually purchased. With enough data from social media and other websites, the service can also make recommendations based on personal details of a shopper’s upcoming events such as anniversaries.
EBay has been cozying up to brick-and-mortar retailers for some time, starting with mom-and-pop shops and adding special stores for the likes of Toys ‘R’ Us to its website. PayPal is providing free processing of credit and debit cards and checks through the end of this year to any retailer willing to adopt the PayPal Here system.