Visit eBay’s Social Shopping this weekend

Today I zipped up to London to see the eBay Christmas Social Shopping experience in Covent Garden. It’s a high tech operation, albeit in a couple of low tech shipping containers.

You’re greeted at the door with a set of QR code displays for the four categories eBay are growing the fastest – Tech, Fashion, Home and Garden and of course Toys. There’s also a fifth display for eBay for Charity. I was surprised by the number of people wandering in who were saying they’d never used eBay before – Looks like eBay may have some new buyers this Christmas and there’s staff on hand to introduce visitors to eBay for the first time.

eBay’s third wave technology on display

As you progress around the experience you’ll want your mobile phone with you. There’s pillars with images on the top which spring to augmented reality life when you view them with the eBay Social Shopping Experience App (If you visit check out the cute Furby pillar!). Turn around 90 degrees and point your smart phone at the tech wall and it turns into a snowy display with tech products appearing as you walk around a mountain scene. At any point that you see an item you want you can simply click to purchase from eBay.

Moving across to the fashion wall you’ll be able to use eBay’s new swatch technology. When you scan an image eBay will find similar items on the site for you and another wall has curated collections from eBay’s fashion editors. Here there’s yet another QR code to enable visitors to download eBay’s Fashion app to their own smart phone while they’re on site.

eBay Social Shopping Experience

There’s also Instagram and Facebook feeds along with a live Twitter feed display showing the the UK’s most talked about gifts for 2012. Sadly Justin Bieber is right at the top and number six is “Direction”, from which I guess One Direction’s X-Factor success is still as strong as ever.

Unsurprisingly iPhones, iPads and iPods feature in the list along with cameras and that perennial favourite for the man in your life – socks!

There’s also an eBay for charity wall and Nectar are on hand to sign you up for a Nectar card if you don’t already have one. Someone that visits eBay this weekend will be winning a million Nectar points (That’s five grand in real money) and you’ve got to be in it to win it so make sure your name’s in the draw.

eBay have been acting as personal shoppers on Facebook all day with gift recommendations for the woman in your life. If you’re looking for something for your man then visit Facebook on Saturday when they’ll be fielding gift questions for men.

Honestly… who is it for?

If you are in London this weekend then it’s for you! Don’t miss out on the chance to pop along and view the latest and greatest tech that’s coming to online shopping. It’s a real life live demonstration which every online retailer should take the opportunity to see if they’re already in town.

Consumers are lapping it up and I’ve no doubt that eBay will get thousands of visitors through the doors visiting the social shopping experience this weekend, but that hardly justifies the expense. However what I’m expecting to happen is that the media will visit and that will be worthwhile.

This isn’t just about getting a few extra shoppers on eBay this weekend, it’s a showcase to buyers, to the media and to the country to demonstrate where eBay is today and what technology is just around the corner. As a PR exercise this is a truly impressive showing by eBay and that is the real win.

Visit on Saturday 1st December and Sunday 2nd December

If you’re in London this weekend make sure you visit the eBay social shopping experience, it’s not only pretty interesting but also they’ve got some rather yummy eBay/Nectar bars of Belgium chocolate to give away and something that’ll last a little longer – “From eBay with love” Christmas tree baubles.

They’re pretty popular with visitors fighting through the crowds to grab them, someone even returned a bauble while I was there with apologies that they had broken it and could they swap it for another. Something to cherish for years to come each Christmas, or failing that something that’s sure to be a good seller if you want to list it on eBay, and deliveries to replenish the stock appear to be arriving pretty frequently!