Shopping at the eBay Christmas Boutique

By Dan Wilson November 29, 2011 - 3:02 pm

This afternoon, I popped into eBay’s Christmas Boutique on Dean Street in London’s Soho. It will be open from the 1st to the 5th December and if you are in the vicinity then do pop by and see what’s going on because it’s cute. But I do expect it to be packed.

So what’s the deal? eBay are essentially showcasing goods from eBay in a real life shop. All the gift ideas have QR barcodes and you can use your phone (or one of the big HTC tablets) to scan that and examine the item on eBay and presumably buy it there and then.

The selection of goods is Daily Deals in the flesh. All the usual stuff from the usual sellers. They were a bit cagey about how many sellers were represented and how they were chosen, but the chances are that you aren’t in the shop. I spotted JJB Sports, Zavvi Outlet, Office, Littlewoods Clearance and eBuyer Express amongst others.

But this is great PR. Putting eBay front and centre in advance of the busiest weekend of the ecommerce year is exactly what they should do and this was grabbing the media attention.

eBay execs in charge of Fashion and Mobile (who rushed off before your intrepid Tamebay reporter could ask any questions!) were being interviewed, filmed and snapped by plenty of hacks. And outside it was genuinely creating a buzz: people were interested and wanted to go in only to be stopped by a heavy. As a bit of publicity froth (and let’s not knock that) this is a triumph. But it’s nothing more substantial than that.

  • 6 years ago

    Well it sure beats the Train station Christmas trees of yesteryear.

    eBay are you taking on Argos as the new way of ‘non virtual’ High Street shopping?

    Got to say I’m brassed off at the fact I’m not in London over the next week, I would have relished a visit to that shop even if only for the Social Media check-ins.

    Well done eBay +1 … can we have one a bit further north next year please (yes I’ll man the shop for a pick of one of the tablets on display) and open for a little longer maybe?

  • TheShopkeeper
    6 years ago

    Those are the worst merchandising displays I have ever seen – if those pics are the inside of the shop? They look more like someone’s living room and bedroom that hasn’t been tidied for a while.

    I’m sorry to have to disagree with you Dan but if that’s what that shop looks like then all it’s going to do is reinforce people’s view on ebay as a marketplace full of cheap tat. I can’t see anything positive coming out of this.

    Why do something like this if they’re not going to do it properly. And please don’t tell me my fees have gone on some retail consultant to put that together.

    I am lost for words – and that doesn’t happen very often! 🙂

    • JD
      6 years ago

      Surely value aka ‘cheap’ is what eBay sets out to portray?

      Cos with Dan’s list of high street names on show if there was no ‘value’ then buyers would just go to Oxford St.?

    • Gary
      6 years ago

      “Those are the worst merchandising displays I have ever seen”

      On the contrary looking at the pictures I think eBay have done an excellent job with the displays and I would applaud the originality. Even the shop front has a look of a charity shop.

      It all seems to be in keeping with the original spirit of eBay. Its a real shame that in practice eBay have moved on and away from this but we are where we are.

    • TheShopkeeper
      6 years ago

      There are plenty of shops who offer value without the need to look cheap. The two are not synonymous with one another.

      I’d also argue that eBay and their introduction of DSR’s shows they’re not after the cheap tag any more or there’d be a DSR’S for price.

      eBay has to offer more than price to tempt buyers and if anyone thinks everyone just buys on price then you should do some reading. 🙂

    • TheShopkeeper
      6 years ago

      PS. eBay themselves have called this a boutique. That doesn’t look like a boutique to me.

    • 6 years ago

      Certainly not the Champs Elysee. But par for the course in London or Brighton trendy boutique places, for my money. Again I say, I wanted to see more in the way of originality.

  • 6 years ago

    I would have thought that creating this on a smaller scale in other cities would be both effective and inexpensive. But quitr a lot of work.

  • 6 years ago

    The Shopkeeper,

    Lost for words? I have 124 on the word count. ;o)

    Yes, it is rather like a home and my pictures don’t show it off at all well. It looked good to me. That’s my fault not theirs.

    There were lots of items on display, about 200 apparently. Some cheap, others not. A sound selection but I would have welcomed more originiality though.

    I can’t emphasise enough that when I was there, there were loads of journos and media types there conducting interviews… publicity IS a good thing. And that is one bit of the marketing of your eBay sales that you leave to them. So I think that isn’t to be sniffed at.

    I think if you want to criticise the layout, merchandising etc that you should go and base your views on first hand experience, not my snap happy pics.

    • TheShopkeeper
      6 years ago

      Only 124? My whining standards are slipping… 😉

      I’d agree that any publicity is good publicity – I just think a better job could have been done with merchandising. For someone visiting that shop who’s never shopped on eBay before why woud they buy on eBay rather than Amazon based on the ebay ‘charity shop’ they’re seeing?

      No, I can’t think of a reason either.

    • 6 years ago

      This time around, eBay trump Amazon on novelty. Lots of people on the street walking by thought this was a hoot. This won’t move the earth but it is lovely froth.

  • Chris
    6 years ago

    Surely the most important result of this or indeed any form of Publicity is extra exposure and will there be extra buyers logging on. Obviously we will only know when probably after Christmas we all look back on our results. If we have sold more and ebays figures show a significant increase in visitors to the site then we will all be happy. If the figures are down but not as much as Retailing in general then maybe there will be a claim that such as the ebay boutique has helped to reduce the potential loss of business.

    Whatever the result no doubt it will be claimed as a success. Lets hope that ebay learns from it and 2012 Christmas will improve and again for Christmas 2013. And yes perhaps do something in other towns and cities across the country(after all there are plenty of closed shops around the Country that could be rented for a week or so). But while we are often scathing about ebay perhaps we should praise them this time for at least trying something.

  • 6 years ago

    It does not look to bad .
    Good Luck eBay .x

  • I think I may have to have a word with ebay for nicking my name!

  • 6 years ago

    Nice innovation. Good for them for trying something new and critically assessing its success.

    Did they really have a big bloke stopping people going inside? Was his name Trust And Safety?

    • 6 years ago


      Tristan Safety.

      But yes, wasn’t open to the public yesterday. But I suspect it will cause such a buzz that people will be lining up to get in. It’s not huge.

  • Jinbo
    6 years ago

    Was there fake silver from China on display?

    Was there a locked back room, which you couldn’t view, crammed full of great offerings from small independet traders.

    • The Shopkeeper
      6 years ago


  • dave loves ebay
    6 years ago

    Does the shop have TRS status ?

  • 6 years ago

    Going by the photo’s eBay’s Christmas Boutique looks like a charity shop, where is eBay’s brand?

  • Gary
    6 years ago

    To the left of “Christmas”?

    • 6 years ago

      I was commenting on the in store display!

  • 6 years ago

    There’s a video of the store online at

    The front of the store looks bright and modern, the rest is a bit thrifty and charity shop style!

    I do like the concept a lot though.

  • 6 years ago

    Evening All,

    I popped into the store on Friday afternoon with my family and I have to say that it is very well done. Sellers on eBay should have no fears of misrepresentation at all.

    Yes the focus is very much upon new items at fixed prices, but the range of items on display (clothing, toys, furniture, music, gadgets, books, and much more) is huge and the general atmosphere is very convivial.

    It’s very much a PR stunt – I QR’d the odd item but only to see if it works – but a good one and it was promising to see eBay staff taking at least 2 journalists through the store when I was in there.

    Enjoy it for what is is. A fluffy, unusual way of promoting the eBay marketplace in the run up to Xmas.

  • 6 years ago

    You do know that for most of today pictures are not showing on eBay listings .
    A Great advert for the eBay Boutique don’t you think ?

  • ncb
    6 years ago

    In my view any publicity for eBay is good however I’m baffled as to why they are only openning the store for 5 days.

    To me that makes its a pointless excercise as by the time the PR mill kicks into gear it will be closed and gone.

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