eBay has been making a number of acquisitions in the last year, ranging from geo-targeting startup WHERE and to Zong, a “frictionless” mobile payments system that routes charges directly to mobile carrier bills.
The purposes of those purchases as well as RedLaser and Milo are feeding eBay's next big project: the X.commerce, touted as the "first end-to-end, multi-channel commerce technology platform." The online auction giant has pointed towards mobile payments as the future in the past, and now eBay is preparing to unleash its plan to the world.
"X.commerce is an open platform, which enables developers, merchants, and service providers to partner and create innovative commerce solutions," explained Naveed Anwar, head of community for X.commerce. Anwar added that there are several "mega-trends" that are giving way to this program -- most notably social, mobile and local. That's hard to avoid these days with the growing interest mobile payments and the bevy of daily and instant deal promotions available.
Reiterating the now-familiar statistic of a potential 50 million Internet-connected devices by 2020, Anwar cited another recent study that found consumers are becoming slightly more misanthropic these days as 76 percent of smartphone owners would rather look online for information about a product while in line at a store than ask a sales associate. He added that $8 trillion is spent in global retail annually, most of which is conducted in offline shopping.
For these two reasons and many more, Anwar posited that the X.commerce platform opens up brand new opportunities for developers and merchants alike as eBay's staple products really only focused on consumers and merchants.
Comparing X.commerce to the Star Alliance partner group of airlines that "that allowed them to collaborate amongst each other," Anwar asserted that the X.commerce ecosystem will incorporate the partners and developers on eBay, PayPal, Magento among others, which includes 768,000 developers that have published over 220 applications incorporating PayPal and 4,000 extensions on the Magento platform.
Apps are not available yet, and platform support could vary depending on the product. Both Apple and Android are known for having strict in-app purchase policies -- most of which apply to digital products, so there is potentially more room here buying for tangible products directly on these apps. Also look for HTML5-optimized apps based on X.commerce for other purchases. More examples of what kind of features we could see integrated in these apps include shopping carts, tax and inventory management, marketplace integration, and even SEO tracking.
More information about the platform and the apps that stem from it will be unveiled at eBay's X.commerce Innovate Developer Conference between October 12 and 13. eBay's most significant subsidiary, PayPal, recently unveiled a glimpse at its own upcoming digital wallet that will also be seen in more detail this October.
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