Mobile Commerce: eBay Sees The Future

Mobile Commerce: eBay doing half its sales via mobile

EBay recently announced that it is expecting to generate $5 billion through mobile commerce in 2011, 25% more than originally projected.  That in and of itself is newsworthy but what is truly surprising is that $5 billion in mobile commerce represents more than half the total revenue the company is likely to generate this year.

Mobile Commerce:  At an inflection point

We have been writing about the galvanizing impact of mobile smartphones on customer service, consumer engagement and advertising, but these mobile devices are without a doubt, irrevocably blurring the lines between on-line and off-line consumer purchase habits and activity.  To that point, John Donahoe, CEO of eBay is quoted as saying:  “We’re now seeing a profound change in how consumers are behaving, and we’re going to see more changes in the next three years than we’re seen in the previous 20 in terms of shopping and payments. We believe we are at an inflection point.”

Mobile Commerce:  EBay, PayPal and Facebook

EBay recently has taken a number of steps to enhance and facilitate mobile shopping.  As reported in Mobile Commerce Daily, the company is migrating to an open e-commerce system, called X commerce and encouraging developers to create additional services and apps for their mobile shopping platform.  Additionally, eBay is allowing consumers to use their PayPal accounts to pay on retailer’s sites.   By the way, PayPal is on track to register $3.5 billion in mobile ecommerce payments in 2011 which is a significant increase from the $2 billion originally anticipated. Additionally, eBay and Facebook are further integrating their efforts that will inevitably impact mobile ecommerce business.  Facebook is giving eBay developers access to its Open Graph map of Facebook users’ connections, which provides an index into the on-line activity, tastes and trends of you and your Facebook connections.  This Open Graph metadata has always been considered the mother lode of monetizable information powering Facebook and its preferred partners, for example, to serve hyper-targeted advertising or in this case, ultra- personalized shopping experiences.  Combining a pay system like PayPal with a ubiquitous social network platform like Facebook and mobile smart phone’s sophisticated browsers, GPS and always on capabilities and you have the wire frame structure of a very innovative, personalized and highly targeted shopping  experience.

Mobile Commerce:  Changing Retail Expectations

EBay’s CEO Donahue is right on point when he said:   “It’s a consumer that is coming back more frequently and shopping more because now it can be done at any time of the day. We know it is driving consumer engagement and customer value.”

EBay is an on-line company, but personalized mobile smart phone technology combined with an agile payment system, be it from a PayPal or Visa or Mastercard, is a transformational tool for any retailer but especially brick and mortar retailers and brands who want to improve margins, attract new customers and retain loyal consumers.  And what brick and mortar retailer wouldn’t love to do 50% of their business next year from mobile commerce?  EBay is a mobile commerce approach that others should study and emulate.

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