Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Malls of the future: touchscreen store windows made from 'connected glass'

This Christmas, eBay has teamed up with three retailers in the Westfield San Francisco Center to launch a series of 'digital storefronts'. This online/offline shopping experience could revolutionize the way we shop. This Christmas, eBay has teamed up with three retailers in the Westfield San Francisco Center to launch a series of 'digital storefronts'. This online/offline shopping experience could revolutionize the way we shop.
HIDE CAPTION
Mall of the future?
Sony touchscreen window
Hybrid experience
Connected Glass
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • eBay introduces digital storefronts that converge online and offline shopping
  • Giant touchscreen windows installed in Westfield San Francisco Center
  • Shoppers can browse products, order and have them delivered to their door for free

(CNN) -- Think back to that prehistoric era before the internet existed. Around this time every year the dreadful reality of Christmas shopping would dawn: you would soon have no choice but to face the music and that music would be none other than a hypnotic rendition of Jingle Bells following you into every store, turning you into yet another mall zombie like the rest of them.

Today, with the modern miracle that is e-commerce, most of us buy many of our gifts via computer without a single festive melody or human interaction. It may be a welcome modernization for consumers, but does it take a little magic out of the whole experience?

Read: What does the piano of the future look like?

Can foldable wheels transform mobility?
Recycling water as you shower

Now, with an innovative new hybrid shopping concept, we'll be able to enjoy aspects of both worlds. This season sees the advent of 'digital storefronts', giant touchscreen store windows where customers can browse through a retailer's items with a single swipe. Once they find something they can hit the 'order' button and a link will be sent to their mobile phone, allowing them to pay through PayPal or with a credit or debit card.

"(It) brings the best of online and new technologies to the physical world," says Steve Yankovich, vice president of innovation and new ventures at eBay, who have recently partnered with retail experience firm Westfield Labs to launch a series of digital storefronts at the Westfield San Francisco Center.

Retailers Sony, TOMS and Rebecca Minkoff have all set up 'Connected Glass' points in the mall, which provide customers with a virtual shop within a real mall. Of the three, only Sony has a physical outlet there.

"The Digital Storefronts in Westfield San Francisco Centre are a great alternative to empty spaces in the mall. 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 a square footage retail space wouldn't be possible or affordable," said Yankovich.

Read: London Museum acquires world's first 3D-printed gun

It brings the best of online and new technologies to the physical world
Steve Yankovich, eBay vice president of innovation

Of course, with digital storefronts you still have to make the time to visit, but once you do you get all the benefits of quick browsing and purchasing that are often lacking in a traditional store. This way, shoppers can scroll through goods and have them sent to a pick-up point or delivered to their door, mostly with free delivery and in some cases on the same day.

New York design outfit Kate Spade also recently collaborated with the online retailer, to connect their digital storefront to an option similar to eBay's same day delivery service, eBay Now, which delivers items in about an hour from the time of purchase.

The company's 'Connected Glass' technology could be widely installed on unused surfaces in the future, particularly in busy airports and train stations.

Monday this week was 'Green Monday,' normally eBay's busiest sales day of the year.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Liquidity lightbulbs at the Milan Furniture Show 2012
See the full coverage of CNN's Blueprint -- a new series exploring the very latest design and technology trends.
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 1901 GMT (0301 HKT)
A swat team assess risk before raiding a building
A baseball-sized shock absorbent camera that can be thrown into a disaster zone to assess risks posed to rescuers.
November 11, 2013 -- Updated 1951 GMT (0351 HKT)
Astronauts wash and drink from the same continuously recycled source for years. So why do we not do the same on Earth?
October 25, 2013 -- Updated 0946 GMT (1746 HKT)
The Titan Arm
A new strap-on external bicep called the Titan Arm allows humans to lift very heavy objects by giving them instant super strength.
October 11, 2013 -- Updated 1256 GMT (2056 HKT)
See the origami kayak take shape in our 40-second time lapse video.
September 27, 2013 -- Updated 1335 GMT (2135 HKT)
The Seaboard is a musical instrument like a keyboard that allows you to bend the pitch and volume of each note.
The 'Seaboard keyboard' is a tech forward interpretation of the piano, that reimagines what a keyboard can do.
September 19, 2013 -- Updated 1856 GMT (0256 HKT)
Phonebloks smartphone
What if you could build your own smartphone that would last you for the rest of your life?
September 17, 2013 -- Updated 0849 GMT (1649 HKT)
3D printed gun
Why did the Victoria and Albert Museum in London acquire two models of the world's first 3D-printed gun?
September 13, 2013 -- Updated 1009 GMT (1809 HKT)
It looks like a regular bike light, but one day Emily Brooke's Blaze light could save your life.
September 10, 2013 -- Updated 1001 GMT (1801 HKT)
After months of hype and speculation, the Samsung Galaxy Gear smart watch arrived this week with a bang... followed by a whimper.
September 2, 2013 -- Updated 1616 GMT (0016 HKT)
ARMAR is the ultimate sous chef. He'll bring you ingredients from the fridge and after you've made lots of mess he'll load the dishwasher and clean the surfaces. He's just one of a growing army of robo-chefs that are shaping the future of our kitchens.
Your cooking partner is a robot, your fridge can talk, and your plate is your own personal dietician. This is the kitchen of the future
August 21, 2013 -- Updated 1327 GMT (2127 HKT)
Sound on Intution: sensors attach to your hands,feet and heart to produce music that responds to movement
August 15, 2013 -- Updated 1027 GMT (1827 HKT)
Not only did Unger have to contend with the typical design challenges of aesthetics and manufacturability, she also needed to become an expert in the reproductive habits of flies.
In 2050, when nine billion people are living on Earth, will high-protein insects be a part of our staple diet?
August 13, 2013 -- Updated 1301 GMT (2101 HKT)
He's invented breathable food, flavor clouds and olfactory telephones. Now David Edwards is bringing edible food-packaging to the table.
August 13, 2013 -- Updated 1031 GMT (1831 HKT)
ASAP is a solar-powered life-saving machine that's cheaper, greener and more efficient than a traditional Jet Ski
August 5, 2013 -- Updated 1057 GMT (1857 HKT)
Transparent dresses, vacuum shoes, shark-proof wetsuits and more. We imagine a day in the life of a wearable technology user in the year 2015.
July 29, 2013 -- Updated 1723 GMT (0123 HKT)
Europe spends $13 billion annually on fueling street lights. With a new system called 'Tvilight', streetlamps can sense the arrival of a person.
August 5, 2013 -- Updated 0919 GMT (1719 HKT)
The earthquake-proof table can combat a ton of falling debris and provides reliable protection for people taking shelter during an earthquake
ADVERTISEMENT