At fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff’s store in New York’s fashionable Soho district, a dressing room has a digital mirror that identifies garments, makes accessory recommendations and can summon sales associates to bring in that garment in alternative colors and sizes. But what makes this digital dressing room mirror different from most is that it allows the shopper to complete the purchase in the dressing room with one-click. That’s true as long as the customer is using PayPal and specifically PayPal’s mobile app. And yes, the mirror comes from current PayPal owner eBay.
If the shopper doesn’t happen to use PayPal, an associate will come to the dressing room with a tablet that has a card reader that can handle the usual card brands. But that’s not nearly as cool and quick as doing the Snow White magic mirror thing.
As a practical matter, it’s not clear whether the magic mirror effort would necessarily be faster even for shoppers willing to use PayPal’s app. Either way, the shopper needs to wait for a sales associate to come to the dressing room, which is rarely instantaneous, especially during the holidays. If the PayPal app is successfully used with the mirror, the associate has to arrive and pack up the purchases. If the shopper is waiting for that, they might not lose much time by swiping their card upon the associate’s arrival. And if the store is sufficiently crowded, it might even be faster to just grab the purchases and check out at the regular POS.
A reporter for VentureBeat went through a demo of the service. “I didn’t get a chance to make a purchase with PayPal’s app, so I can’t say whether it is as seamless as eBay’s PR team says it is. I only attended a demo, and the store won’t be payment-ready until Saturday when it officially opens,” the story said. “However, if it does provide that kind of frictionless payment experience for customers, it could help PayPal better access the physical retail market — a market ten times the size of the e-commerce space, according to Healey Cypher, head of retail innovation at eBay.”