eBay CEO: Retailers need help with mobile technologies

Consumers are curious about mobile shopping tools and merchants need some help on how to do this, says eBay's CEO.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

SAN FRANCISCO - Consumers are salivating for mobile technologies integrated into the shopping experience faster than retailers can catch up, according to eBay CEO and president John Donahoe, while speaking at the Web 2.0 Summit on Monday afternoon.

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Reiterating much of what was discussed at eBay's Innovate Developers Conference 2011 last week, Donahoe posited that the standard methods of e-commerce and retail are "crumbling stunningly fast," adding that retailers actually want to bring customers in stores, but a mobile element needs to be considered.

Donahoe pointed out that e-commerce is a $325 billion market, while retail in general tallies roughly $10 trillion.

"What we see happening in the world of shopping and payments is someone analgous to what has happened to digital media," said Donahoe. "Consumers are driving enormous change in how they shop and pay."

Donahoe admitted that eBay couldn't accomplish meeting these changing demands of online and mobile retail by itself. Thus, along with PayPal, a handful of acquistions have been put together to create the open-source, integrated X.commerce platform.

"This boundary between online and offline is blurring," Donahoe argued, "Consumers are embracing this, and retailers need help."

Donahoe cited large retailers, in particular, as merchants who are trying to figure out how to take advantage of mobile technology. Offering Image-based search as one example of a tool that will allow shopping to go further, Donahoe said there will be "multiple winners" in this movement as eBay does "not compete" with merchants (even Amazon) using the X.commerce platform.

Nevertheless, we should remember that it's much easier for the large merchants to jump onboard with mobile payments and shopping as they have more resources to pour into new technologies. It will be awhile before smaller merchants, even those who sell regularly on eBay, will be able to take advantage of the ecosystem that eBay is boasting.


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