Now more than ever is the time for consumers to affect direction in which current commerce experiences grow. John Donahoe, CEO at Ebay, spoke today at the Web 2.0 Summit on the current patterns of usage with modern-day shoppers to interviewer John Battelle, the Executive Chairman of Federated Media. On the current state of commerce, he says:
“Consumers are driving enormous change in how they shop and pay. And in particular, the wall between commerce and retail is crumbling stunningly fast. When you walk into a store today, you might check apps like Red Laser, or prices online doing product exploration, etc — There’s going to be an enormous change in retail.”
Donahoe continues by highlighting the changes of offline retail experiences in the last twelve months. In comparison to the quick-growing and very-separate evolution of e-commerce, the in-store retail experience has been through very little change, lacking in innovation where e-commerce is not.
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Ebay hopes to capitalize on this by becoming the operating system for commerce, empowering retailers to drive on-site traffic through its merchant and developer platform.
On how technology is starting to affect the in-store retail experience, Donahoe states:
“In over half of all retail transactions today, the consumer accesses the web at some point in the shopping cycle — product research, find what they want, to buy it or pay for it. Increasingly, they are accessing the web while they are at the store.”
The line between shopping online and shopping in-store is blurring. Some customers will begin their shopping experience online by researching a product, while other customers will simply enter the store and look up products on the spot via their mobile phones — but these two separate actions are merely pieces of the shopping experience.
Donahoe revealed that when questioning shoppers about which experience drove them to make that purchase, most consumers agreed that they couldn’t remember what came first — the website or the store. Recognizing the huge impact technology is now having on the shopping experience, large retailers have begun “banging down Ebay’s doors” for help. Because of this, Donahoe doesn’t seem too concerned with competitors like Amazon or Google.
“We don’t compete with people on our platform. Sellers are telling us that this makes a difference. We aren’t a digital goods provider the way Amazon or Apple provides goods.”
By becoming the less-threatening go-between for retailers and the online market, Donahoe plans to keep Ebay’s focus on what it’s most successful with: Providing that space for merchants and buyers to more easily provide a seamless online shopping experience in a way that is on-trend with the growing patterns of e-commerce and modern technology.