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eBay to open first UK physical pop-up

Online marketplace eBay is to open a pop-up concept store – its first in the UK – in Wolverhampton. The mixed-use store, located in the centre of the city, will offer 40 local businesses the chance to showcase and sell their products, over one month.

Experiential specialist agency Sense has designed the pop-up format for the online giant. The physical space has been based on a ‘Home Grown by Wolverhampton’ theme. Described as a place where ‘botanical garden meets first class retail space,’ the store seeks to be a physical symbol of the importance of home grown businesses to communities, according to eBay.

The store will also act as a physical retail experiment, using QR codes for purchases and tracking a number of sales and customer traffic metrics. The brand is seeking to better understand the interaction between physical and online retail, and the role that stores play in driving increased online sales.

A series of interactive events and workshops will be hosted in the store, including a ‘meet and greet’ event with reptiles from pet supply store Hugglepets, and a cruelty-free make-up tutorial from Second Glance Cosmetics.

Opening the pop-up is eBay’s latest commitment to its year-long Retail Revival pilot scheme, which sees it working with 64 local businesses to help them maximise sales, and to drive a combined physical and online approach. The initiative was launched last year in partnership with the City of Wolverhampton, after research found that a quarter of small UK retailers lack an online presence.

The selection of local businesses participating in the store will change each week. They include Tony’s Deli, a local delicatessen which sells food hampers online, local window blinds group HomeSmart Blinds, and local illustration company White B Gifts.

“The small retailers taking part in Wolverhampton’s Retail Revival have already shown that physical and online retail can survive – and thrive – together. They have achieved more than £2 million in sales as of March and many have employed more staff as a direct result of the partnership,” says eBay UK vice president Rob Hattrell.

“This pop-up store aims to take that growth, and the value of this programme, to the next level. It will explore how stores of the future could combine technology with that vital human connection to powerful effect – whatever the size of the business.”

“This concept store shows yet again the strong commitment eBay has made to the City of Wolverhampton. The Retail Revival scheme is making a real difference to the participating businesses and the pop-up store will help give them an even bigger profile. Other businesses will also be encouraged to take advantage of the free, interactive workshops and training seminars on offer,” says City of Wolverhampton Council deputy managing director Mark Taylor.

“We very much value the presence of these independent businesses in our city and the creative local people behind them. They help give City of Wolverhampton its own identity and character and, in this challenging retail climate, they need all the support they can get.”