Fast Company Highlights eBay Inc.’s “$1 Trillion Opportunity”

eBay Inc. Staff

Cover story focuses on the company’s unique position as online and offline shopping converge.

eBay Inc. is courting “a $1 trillion opportunity” as it seeks to redefine cross-channel retailing, according to the cover of the July/August issue of Fast Company magazine. The cover story, titled “Shop Boy,” highlights the company’s focus on convergence between online, offline and mobile shopping, and includes in-depth discussions with eBay’s Director of Local Shopping, Jack Abraham, as well as eBay Inc. President and CEO John Donahoe.

Abraham sold his company Milo, based on advanced local shopping technology, to eBay last year. Dane Glasgow, eBay’s Vice President of Global Product Management, explained why he urged Donahoe to acquire Milo. “Jack seemed very focused on team, technology and building to scale,” he said. “We thought, Gosh, that’s extremely complementary to the way we think and the way we’re looking at evolving the marketplace.”

As Fast Company notes:

“With so many consumers equipped with a smartphone, the distinction between shopping online and offline is disintegrating. When someone is standing in a chain outlet, using her iPhone to compare the price of the frock on a hanger in front of her with prices she can get elsewhere, is that considered online or offline shopping?”

Abraham clarified eBay’s opportunity further. “We’re solving probably the biggest problem that exists for [small retailers], which is giving them exposure on the web and doing it in a way that doesn’t require a lot of technical investment on their part,” he said.

The magazine also noted that Milo is not the only card that eBay is playing as it focuses on this shift in the shopping landscape. “Milo is inventory where you are, and PayPal is paying where you are,” Sam Shrauger, PayPal’s Vice President of Global Product and Experience, told Fast Company.  The publication also noted that eBay’s acquisition of RedLaser — the leading mobile barcode scanning application — was the company’s “first major cross-channel acquisition.”

“If all of the pieces come together as Donahoe imagines,” Fast Company reported, “eBay could make a lot of money.” Abraham noted in the story that last year, cross-channel shopping represented a $1 trillion market.

Fast Company cited the fact that PayPal—which can grow along with local, mobile and social shopping trends—already represents 39 percent of eBay Inc.’s revenues, and is growing twice as fast as the company’s Marketplaces business. Donahoe also said in the story that eBay facilitated nearly $2 billion in mobile transactions last year, and expects to double that this year.

Fast Company asked Donahoe who his biggest competitor is. “Innovation,” he replied. “In the next three to five years, we’re about to see more change in how consumers shop and pay than in the last decade.”

See the full article here.