eBay’s “Connected Technologies”: Innovating Customer Engagement in the Retail Industry Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

eBay has introduced “connected technologies” in 2013 and 2014, which included the various sets of large, interactive touch screens and related technologies that were deployed in shopping malls and retail stores. This advancements not only proved to be in favor of the retailer, but it also benefited many shoppers.

For a new fashion brand, Kate Spade, the screen served as “digital storefronts” in four different locations all over the New York City. These screens made easy the evaluation of any product for the shoppers, and after evaluation they could purchase the product through their smartphone.

In the first application, these screens were used by the company to launch its product in New York, and to determine the most appropriate location for a physical store. Vacant storefronts were filled by the installation of these large screens. The sensors along with providing the information and opportunities to buy, it also gathers the data regarding the flow of people near to the screen which helps the various stores and mall in their short term strategies.

The data, gathered by sensors, include the magnitude of traffic passed the screen, looked at it, stopped at it, and interacted with it to buy that particular product which quite resembles to the online advertising, where the viewer of the page are counted, but there is no way of ensuring whether the person noticed the advertisement carefully.

In the second case, this application involved the browsing and selection of items to be taken to a fitting room, by the Rebecca Minkoff’s, the U.S. first retail stores that adopted these large touchscreens. To ease the access of shopper with a sales associate evaluate multiple colors, and view the appropriate selection in different lighting styles, the fitting room mirror was also made a touch screen.

These innovations have ensured the growth of retailing business in future. This case asks students to determine the ways that could help eBay to monetize these innovations, how the collected data could be utilized in a better way, and it also describes the implications of eBay’s vision for the future of retailing business.

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