eBay to open physical store

Online auction site eBay is set to open its first ever physical shop in London next month, known as eBay Christmas Boutique - just don't expect to walk out with a gift under your arm.

Considered an experiment and only opening for a five day trial period, the store won't actually have anything for sale. Instead, there will be displays of some of the more popular products available on eBay.

Anyone interested in buying something can use a smart phone or similar device to scan the accompanying QR code - a two-dimensional barcode-like matrix which stores information - to get quick access to further information about a particular item.

Those without a handset capable of scanning QR codes will still be able to take part, as eBay has teamed up with HTC to offer handsets on temporary loan while prospective buyers are in the store.

Tablets can also use these codes, and the Inquirer reports that instead of tills the Christmas Boutique will have several such touch screen devices available, allowing users to browse the online auction site with a bit more screen real estate.

With traditional high street retailers expecting a poor turnout by shoppers, it's surprising that an online store has decided to increase its real world presence - albeit in experimental form only.