As Christmas Day draws nearer and the rush to get those last minute gifts is all around us, something else is within sight: touchscreen glass panels on shopfronts. The advent of this technology began in America this holiday season when eBay teamed up with Westfield Labs to launch a series of digital storefronts in San Fransisco. eBay’s Steve Yankovich described it as “bringing the best of online and new technologies to the physical world.”

Customers can walk up to a retailer and browse their entire catalogue with a simple swipe. Once they find what they’re looking for, they can tap the ‘order’ button and a link will be sent via SMS to their mobile phones. From that point, payment can either be through Paypal or with a debit or credit card.

Retailers utilizing the service so far include Sony, Rebecca Minkoff, and TOMS. Out of the three, Sony is the only one with a physical outlet in the Westfield San Fransisco Center.


Empty space will be a thing of the past. Yankovich further added that “The opportunity is for brands to expand their footprint by offering vertical shopping experiences. Connected glass doesn’t require a square footage retail space. Therefore, it allows retailers to have a presence in areas with heavy foot traffic, where square footage retail space wouldn’t be possible or affordable.” The benefits of quick browsing even extend to collection points and convenient same day deliveries.

Future-wise, the connected glass technology will possibly be featured in the unused surfaces of airports and train stations. Design outlet Kate Spade had collaborated with eBay to connect their digital storefront with an option akin to eBay’s same day delivery service, eBay Now. The rapid-fire system delivers items one hour after purchase.