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On the subject of eBay

Martina Martina

November 17th, 2011.

Pop-up shops & binary code: The future of high street shopping?


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One of my colleagues here at Datadial talked about the peculiar QR code and its uses previously on this blog. Fast forward to now and it seems to have evolved (or caught up with Japan who created them, since technically we live in the stone ages in comparison).

eBay are getting in on the act…


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A post from the good folks at Econsultancy informs us of a new-age phenomenon set up by eBay, that will see customers sent online to buy goods only after scanning their bar codes with QR compatible devices.

After reading it,  I started thinking about the future of shopping as a whole, with Google taking over the virtual world and taking on everyone from Apple (with Google Music) to Facebook (with Google+) are we living in a world where soon instead of buying food in-store we will be asked to produce our phones first, to then scan a code, pay online and wait for said food to be delivered? Could it become as outrageous as to be used in convenience stores for quick snacks like a chocolate bar or a packet of crisps?

If this is the present already, what does the future hold…?

Both funny and annoyingly true right? …and that’s just online shopping. If we are entering into a world of offline/online mergers what else could happen? I mean sure, in theory there are many problems it could solve:

  • Store space would no longer be an issue (just like it no longer was for Cassette’s, CD’s and vinyl after iTunes was born)
  • No heavy bags to carry home
  • Lesser feelings of guilt because money becomes virtual too; if we can’t see it disappear from our purses then we might forget what we spent
  • Scheduling goods to arrive at a time that works best for us

However, what if the downfalls included…

  • The wrong item turning up at the door
  • The annoyance of having to exchange an item and there being no store front to take it to (or in-store employee to blame for the journey)
  • No bag to carry (everybody enjoys a little logo-bragging from time to time)
  • That silly little “sorry, you were out when we called” card that the postman surely writes before he even knocks the door in anticipation of you taking longer than he’d like to walk down the stairs & answer it…

To conclude, I agree that this pop-up store (due to launch near Oxford Street, London on Dec 1st) is a great PR stunt for eBay, but is there any real use for the QR code if most people are happy just Googling a URL? – Or perhaps it’s just me that really dislikes the matrix-esque appearance of those ugly squares being forced on the nation…

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