Rebecca Minkoff and Toms Open Up Digital Storefronts

They're great for when you're in a hurry and/or don't really feel like going into a store and dealing with actual humans.
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Dhani Mau
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They're great for when you're in a hurry and/or don't really feel like going into a store and dealing with actual humans.
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This summer, Kate Spade Saturday made its NYC debut with a couple of cute and fun temporary "shoppable storefronts," as the brand dubbed them. Done in partnership with eBay, they were pretty much your standard retail windows, except you could browse and purchase items on a touch screen for delivery that same day (sort of like an apparel ATM, if you will).

In addition to giving new meaning to the term "window shopping," it's one of the latest instances of brands trying to bring e-commerce off the computer and into the real world. And the results must have been positive: eBay is sticking with the concept, and, in partnership with Westfield Labs, debuted three "digital storefronts" at the Westfield San Francisco Centre shopping mall last week. While eBay and Westfield are behind the retail technology, the goods on offer are from Sony, Toms and Rebecca Minkoff, who just never fails to be at the forefront of new technology.

To shop, you basically just walk up to the glass screen, browse products (Minkoff has about 40 available), select what you want and the complete the order through PayPal on your phone (presumable for security reasons). You can opt to either receive a text that walks you through checkout, or enter a URL into your smartphone. They'll be installed now through Jan. 12.

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It will be interesting to see if the concept catches on further. Sure, one can theoretically do the same thing on his or her computer, but the storefront is definitely eye-catching and the same-day delivery option is pretty awesome. When I came across one of the Kate Spade Saturday units this summer, I spent a good five minutes on it and almost considered purchasing something until I remembered I was really late getting somewhere. The technology is also really great for those shop-a-phobes who don't really feel like going into a store and dealing with actual humans.

And we can certainly see why retailers are attracted to the idea -- not only does it have that "real world" engagement, but it also encourages more people to get on board with mobile shopping. If all goes well at the Westfield mall, we wouldn't be surprised if these interactive storefronts turned into the new pop-up shops.

Photos: Courtesy eBay