Ebay CEO John Donahoe today described how the e-commerce giant is moving further into the world of offline commerce, using mobile technology to do it: the company is planning a partnership with a retailer that will create a “pop up” shop with a gigantic touchscreen store window. Donahoe says that this will take place this summer in New York and is part of a bigger push eBay is making to bring itself closer to where retailers are still doing the majority of their transactions, offline. “You will be seeing more of that,” he hinted on stage at TC Disrupt in New York this morning.
We are reaching out to find out the name of the retailer. Update: it looks like it will be with around the new Kate Spade Saturday line of lower-priced clothes, bags and accessories.
eBay and its payment subsidiary PayPal already have existing relationships with a number of bricks-and-mortar businesses.
To recap some of that… Not only does the company compete against Square for mobile point-of-sale transactions among small businesses with its Here product, but it is also targeting big chains, this January announcing a new raft of deals with national companies for its in-store payments technologies. These include Famous Footwear, Dollar General, Mapco Express, RadioShack, Spartan Stores, Abercrombie & Fitch, Advance Auto Parts, Aéropostale, American Eagle Outfitters, Barnes & Noble, Foot Locker, Guitar Center, the Home Depot, Jamba Juice, JC Penney, Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, Nine West, Office Depot, Rooms To Go, Tiger Direct and Toys “R” Us.
Other bricks-and-mortar initiatives have included using QR codes in shop windows and check-ins with Home Depot, McDonalds and others.
A lifesize touchscreen is just one of the ways that eBay is trying to build on the momentum the company is seeing in consumer interest in mobile, and eBay’s own investments in the space. This is to complement eBay’s bread and butter business as an online marketplace, and is the company’s way of ensuring that it will continue to remain relevant in a world where offline commerce, but also new technologies battle for consumers’ wallets.
Donahoe says that eBay is on track to see $20 billion in mobile commerce this year, based around people tapping on their devices to purchase goods through PayPal. “We bet hard on mobile,” he said. “Mobile is clearly changing how consumers shop and pay.”
This has extended into how eBay has been acquiring companies over the years (20 acquisitions since he became CEO). Most recently, eBay acqui-hired Duff Research which he says has brought on developers that will help improve its mobile and digital wallet services. These are key areas where eBay will potentially extend its position not just as a sellers’ portal but as a platform for sales everywhere.
Donahoe described eBay’s position in mobile today as the view that it has become a “mission control.”
“It’s not just to shop or make payments but the whole flow,” he noted. This will also be about multiscreen experiences across smartphones, tablets, and in-store devices. This is also where today’s news about PayPal Access, its new identity technology, will come into play. also include how people access the web, or go into stores — hence “This is just one screen but we see ppl using multiple screens. think of how many times you access the web or go to a store.
And here’s the full video of Donahoe’s interview with BusinessWeek’s Norm Pearlstine: