As the holiday season approaches, many retailers have been coming up with new and improved ways to make shopping fun again during these tough financial times. Online auction site and webstore, eBay, is at the helm of these new innovations with its brand new line of mobile boutiques. Like a little store on wheels, eBay has stocked these retail trailers with a wide assortment of items offered on the site—from fashion to toys to electronics—and is set to unveil them throughout 13 cities in the U.S. over the next couple months, starting incidentally, with Chicago. eBay also has plans to open up a pop up shop, the first official retail space for the company, in New York City from November 20th to 29th.
For the official unveiling of Chicago's mobile boutique yesterday (parked in front of the Wrigley building on Michigan Avenue next to the Chicago River), I had the special treat of speaking with ebay's style director, Constance White. Constance was kind enough to lead me through the set up of the trailer. The carefully chosen selection of items within the mobile boutique was divided into sections of interest
to allow for an easier perusing
process. Customers could check out featured items such as L.A.M.B.
shoes for a 'Fashionista', a high tech cell phone 'Urbanite', or a
new controller for a 'Gamer'. The eBay prices of each item were also
listed to compare to the regular retail value and, sure enough, it was
an impressive difference! The trailer also came equipped with computers for guests to find the items they already saw on the eBay site. Throughout the holiday season, the company plans to feature online specials such as 'Daily Deals' where popular items are showcased for less, and 'Stocking Stuffer Mondays' which will feature an item specially priced at under $10 with free shipping. Eager to find out more, I wasted little time in asking Constance how these ideas all came to fruition.
SCS: This year, more and more retailers, from designer labels to fast fashion, have been using pop up shops and other temporary retail outposts for exclusive access to their products. Why did eBay decide to get on board for the holidays?
CW: Well, as an online shopping site we really wanted to bring our products to the customers and show the depth and the breadth of our selection. Any given day, we have literally millions of listings, so we thought it would be important to take a sample of the incredible variety of items that we offer and bring it to the consumers for them to see and touch and experience. Our products range from new to gently used to vintage so we really feel like we have something for everyone this holiday season.
SCS: Where did the idea come from to divide the selection of products into specific areas of interest?
CW: Well, we realized that most people this year are going to be looking for gift giving ideas that really emphasize value, instead of cost. eBay actually conducted a survey to a random number of consumers about holiday gift giving ideas and the majority said that it's not as important to buy something expensive, as it is to find something with meaning and personal value. So our focus for this year's gift selection is really on the receiver. Who is this person you're shopping for? What types of things do they like? Sometime our selection can be overwhelming so we've actually made it easy to answer those questions through these little categories: Styleista, Fashionista, Urbanite, Kid or even Kid at Heart for our great selection of toys! This way at least there's a wealth of options in figuring out what to choose that's meaningful, affordable, and something that the person you're shopping for will truly enjoy.
SCS: Now that we are officially transitioning into the fall and winter wardrobe months, what fashion pieces have you found that you think have the most mileage between now and when the temperatures really start to drop!?
CW: I LOVE the boyfriend blazer these days, I think it's really the best transition piece this year because it serves just as well as a layering piece for the office and going out, as it does as outerwear (motions to her boyfriend blazer worn as a jacket) for these fall days that aren't quite freezing yet! I think that any piece for women that has its foundations in menswear are going to be more versatile to use. Another great transition piece, that's also a fabulous gift, is the fur vest. It's got that bohemian mix of glamor and luxury that's so hot right now, but it's also very utilitarian. You can just throw it on, and it works for just about any occasion. And my Christmas present to myself this year, will be a pair of those sky high over the knee boots! I love the look of them, the drama, and how they can be paired with jeans or worn on their own. And I especially love that there's really a range of brands that are doing the high boot well, so you don't necessarily have to opt for the designer option to get a good looking style.
SCS: You mentioned some good gift ideas in your favorite items for fall. For anyone afraid to buy apparel for their loved ones, do you have any other stylish gift-giving options?
CW: Something that a stylish woman will always appreciate is a bold cuff, dramatic necklace, or some other piece of statement-making jewelry. Also, a new handbag is a great option, especially because there seems to be no real 'It' bag this season so there's a lot more fun options. For a man, you can never go wrong with stylish sunglasses, like the Tom Ford aviators that are so hot right now. We also have a ton of stylish, eco-friendly options now in our 'World of Good' program. It highlights our selection of green products which has recently grown significantly.
SCS: Do you think more people are buying eco-friendly products these days with the growing trend of using sustainable materials?
CW: I think our 'World of Good' products have always done well but what's changing is that we are broadening the program by offering more in the ways of eco-friendly fashion.
SCS: Finally, I noticed that eBay would be working with a number of different charities in their holiday season plans. What are the details about this project?
CW: Every year eBay does work with different charities but this year it joined up with 13 cha
rities in its donating project. We had a committee choose the 13 charities involved and wanted them each
to reflect a major cause that people really care about such as
children's health, cancer, and AIDS. When you shop on eBay, you have the option to donate to a specific charity of your choice. This year, eBay plans to match each dollar donated up to $200,000. It's very exciting to know that all these worthy causes will be receiving this funding for the holidays.
SCS: That's so wonderful! Thank you so much for speaking with me and for being here for this special event!
CW: Thank you!
Photo Source: Second City Style
Tags: 13 cities in the U.S, ahndbags, ALai Rajput, Alia Rajput, aviators, boyfriend blazer, Constance White, eBay, eco-friendly products, electronics, fashion, fur vest, glamor, great bag, home goods, L.A.M.B., luxury, mobile boutiques, over-the-knee boots, pop up shop, pumps, shoes, sky high, style, sunglasses, Tom Ford, toys, World of Good'