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EBay interactive storefronts make it easy to donate via mobile

EBay has introduced two new interactive store windows with the aim of making it easy for holiday shoppers to donate toys by scanning a QR code.

The holiday storefronts are located in New York City and San Francisco and benefit the charity Toys for Tots. Shoppers can download the eBay mobile app to scan QR codes on virtual price tags next to toys that appear in the windows to make a donation.

“EBay teamed up with Toys for Tots to spread some holiday cheer this season and give people an innovative way to window shop for good,” said Amanda Miller, spokeswoman for eBay, San Jose, CA

“Powered by eBay mobile, the Give-A-Toy store brings to life our on-the-go shopping experience,” she said. “We know that consumers are more inclined to give to charity during the holidays, and the Give-A-Toy store offers a differentiated experience for those who wish to give using their mobile phone.”

Virtual toys
This is the second time that eBay has used mobile calls to action in store windows this holiday season.

In October, eBay introduced the eBay Inspiration shop, a 24/7 shoppable storefront in New York City that let consumers browse and shop via QR codes and their mobile phones. It was open through Nov. 10 (see story).

“Window shopping at the holidays is an age-old tradition,” said Wilson Kerr, a Boston-based mobile consultant.

“Marrying storefront window displays with new technology that allows mobile consumers to use the devices in their pockets to hyperlink to a mobile-optimized site is smart,” he said.

“The interaction is easy, fun, and adds an actionable element to a typically static medium that can drive tracked incremental mobile commerce.”

When mobile users scan the QR codes in the Give-A-Toy interactive windows with the eBay app, virtual toys such as a teddy bear and a train become animated and move around.

Scanning a QR code also takes users to the Give-A-Toy store mobile site where they can confirm the amount of their donation.

Each toy represents a different donation amount from $2 to $25.

When a donation is made, the virtual toys celebrate.

The New York Give-A-Toy store is located in near Herald Square and Macy’s while the San Francisco Give-A-Toy is near the Union Square shopping district.

Both locations will be open through Dec. 9.

Consumers who cannot make it to one of these locations  can make a donation by visiting

EBay’s Facebook page also gives users a way to donate by customizing a virtual toy. EBay will donate $1 for every toy customized up to $50,000.

Call to action
Mobile calls to action in store windows as well as inside stores are turning up more regularly this holiday season as retailers look for fun and creative ways to engage users where they are (see story).

In addition to the eBay examples, Sears and Kmart are placing ads in areas where on-the-go consumers frequent, such as airports and bus shelters, that showcase popular items and have a QR code attached to each item for purchasing (see story).

EBay’s Give-A-Toy effort supports the retailer’s mobile app by showcasing how consumers can san and shop anytime and anywhere via the app.

Toys for Tots donates toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them. 

“Consumer usage of QR codes is slow, but growing rapidly,” Mr. Kerr said. “These real world hyperlinks to the mobile Web are an exciting new frontier for retailers with physical locations like store windows since they are always open and link to a store with a massive inventory.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York