Ebay, Kate Spade Plan A Giant Touch Window For New York Shoppers

Ebay (NASDAQ:EBAY) and retailer Kate Spade plan to create a pop-up store in New York this summer that will feature a gigantic touchscreen store window, eBay CEO John Donahoe told a conference audience on Tuesday (April 30).

Donahoe didn't give many details about the pop-up store, but he described the concept. "Here in New York, later on this summer, one of the retailers we're working with is going to do pop-up stores with a storefront in which the store window is a touchscreen, so both during the day and at night you can shop and you can engage with their inventory," he said. TechCrunch later learned that the retailer was Kate Spade on Saturday.

That fits in with Donahoe's notion of shopping that's tied in with a whole collection of screens ranging from smartphones to tablets and PCs to TVs and in-store screens. The idea of a giant touchscreen isn't new, but the definition of "giant" has changed just in the past several years, from a 42-inch touchscreen embedded in a seven-foot-tall kiosk at JCPenney (NYSE:JCP) in 2011 to entire shop windows today.

Another change is who can make use of that technology, which would have been out of reach of a small (82-store) apparel chain like Kate Spade until recently, even with help from a vendor as partner.

Of course, there's also a set of as-yet-unanswered questions raised by publicly accessible touchscreen front windows, and they have to do with security—and that doesn't just mean the risk of some New Yorker tossing a brick through a very expensive touchscreen. (That, of course, presumes the pop-up store is actually facing the street instead of in a mall.)

But if customers can "shop and engage with inventory," does that mean they can make e-commerce purchases through the giant touchscreen? If so, it's a very public place to be keying in a payment-card number on a virtual (and presumably not giant) PINpad.

For more:

- See this TechCrunch story

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