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This article was published on October 10, 2012

eBay changed commerce, and now it’s doing it again with mobile

eBay changed commerce, and now it’s doing it again with mobile
Ken Yeung
Story by

Ken Yeung

Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startup Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startups, parties, and interesting people. Follow him on Twitter, on Facebook, and Google+.

The way that we purchase consumer goods has definitely changed since the days of going to a store and paying cash for it. No longer are people driving hours to a store, finding that what they wanted no longer exists, and leaving unsettled because the item isn’t available anywhere else nearby. Then nearly ten years ago, a company came on the scene to help change the way we view shopping. That company was eBay.

At the Boxworks conference in San Francisco, President & CEO John Donahoe told the audience about the impact that the company had on e-commerce. There’s no disputing that it has been a force in allowing people to connect with one another and sell their goods from far away places. Now, if you go to a store and can’t find the favorite pair of shoes you want, you can search on eBay for someone who is selling it.

Today, the company has spent a great deal of effort making the next great connection in commerce: going to mobile. Donahoe says that the company’s mobile app has been downloaded around 1 million times from the app store and because of that, the company is receiving millions of dollars in revenue. With eBay UK alone, a quarter of the business will close on mobile — and it’s rapidly approaching 50%. To highlight its seriousness towards mobile innovation, Donahoe shared that eBay has between 300-400 employees working on mobile solutions.

As for the physical locations, Donahoe said that people are going to retail stores and walking out having made a purchase decision, but not within that store — customers are using the mobile devices to search online for the same item they’re looking at, determining cost, and making the purchase right there. The mobile device is becoming a central part of our lives and eBay wants to make it a useful tool to help shop and pay.

But it’s not only eBay — this mobile revolution includes PayPal. It can offer a seamless shopping experience without the result of any friction. Donahoe presented this example: you can go into any Home Depot and buy anything. When you go to the register, you can tap “PayPal”, enter your phone number and your PIN and you’re done. You don’t need to take out your wallet (you don’t even need it). An SMS message will be sent to your phone with the receipt.

PayPal also contains a feature that will enhances the personalized experience. Through the use of the service’s “Check-In”, customers can announce that they’re in the store (virtually-speaking), and it will notify the merchant that you’re there and will enable them to provide you personalized service.

For eBay, their recognition of the power behind the Internet and the mobile industry has helped to make commerce life much different than what it was 10 or 15 years ago. Long gone are the times when people used to pay solely by the use of cash, check, or charge cards. Now, mobile payments are rapidly increasing and are rapidly being integrated in our daily lives.

Tomorrow, eBay is planning on making an announcement that will affect the way buyers and sellers are connected to each other. Could they be coming up with another way to evolve the e-commerce paradigm? TNW will be there covering the news to let you know what’s going on.

Image credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

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