Moving into the deep world of retailing on the Web, eBay has become one of the big fish in the pond, evolving in the e-commerce industry. With online bidding and auctions being its DNA, the $63 billion eBay is now working on to become a mobile commerce giant with some personalization added. eBay did an incredible business of $5 billion in the mobile commerce in 2011 and hopes to see transactions of $10 billion in the sale of mobile devices this year. Revenue for eBay also comes from the payment service PayPal that it bought over in 2002. PayPal has a base of over 100 million active users. The service faces tough competition from Square and others in the mix but it’s innovating under the leadership of new PayPal president David Marcus.
According to a report in TechCrunch, Gartner analyst Gene Alvarez says, “eBay is now not just a marketplace. Acquiring GSI, Milo, and Magento has given the firm a broad set of ecommerce capabilities.” Clearly, with these latest acquisitions along with the purchase of Hunch, Svvply, Card.io (PayPal) and others, eBay has proven that the firm has a broader vision for its future beyond simply auctions.
eBay is also stepping into the mobile phone market. The company has instructed all its engineers and managers to give first preference to mobile among all other products they deal in. Working on to give users the best experience on mobile, eBay is adopting strategies to endorse and put up products around mobile.
According to eBay vice president of Mobile Steve Yankovich, eBay started investing in mobile web and native apps in 2009. The idea seems to have gone down well with reports of over 100 million mobile apps being downloaded on various smartphones. These apps include the basic buying and selling marketplace app, barcode scanning app Red Laser, dedicated apps for verticals (i.e. eBay Motors, fashion) and more.
eBay is working to add compelling features to its mobile apps. The firm recently added geofencing to its Red Laser apps that lets retailers deliver deals and information to consumers based on their proximity to a store.
When it comes to personalization, Amazon stands at the forefront with 25 to 30 percent of its sales coming from recommendations. This is an important factor considering Amazon got nearly $13 billion in sales in the last quarter. With eBay, there isn’t Amazon-style personalization, but the firm is sure to be working on it.
In November last year, eBay bought Hunch service, which offers a “taste graph” of personalized recommendations based on users’ interests. Following this deal, eBay bought personalized shopping site Svvply, to advance more personalized experiences and merchandising options on eBay.com, which will offer users more personalized shopping experiences.
eBay is trying to keep a track on user shopping behavior and therefore, the firm launched a Setify, a service like Pinterest, which lets users track, flag, like and collect various products. With this service, eBay can multiply the number of user events or signals the business can use to score products and serve recommendations.