EBay expands mobile commerce empire with new Android app
Online marketplace eBay Inc. has further expanded its portfolio of mobile commerce properties with the launch of an application for devices based on Google’s Android operating system.
Already a dominating force in mobile commerce, by the end of 2009 eBay reached more than $600 million Gross Merchandise Volume—the value of all goods sold through its mobile offerings—a close to 200 percent increase over 2008.
“With over 60,000 Android enabled phones being sold every day, eBay continues its commitment to bring cutting-edge user experiences to mobile commerce everywhere,” said Steve Yankovich, vice president of platform business solutions at eBay, San Jose, CA.
“The target demographic of this new application is Android owners who want to shop the best shopping deals, in an easy-to-use interface, no matter where they may find themselves,” he said.
EBay Inc. connects hundreds of millions of buyers and sellers globally on a daily basis through eBay, which claims to be the world’s largest online marketplace, and PayPal, which enables individuals and businesses to send and receive online and mobile payments.
The Android application is the latest addition to eBay’s mobile offerings—eBay has released an upgraded version of its original eBay iPhone application with new features such as social networking integration, as well as the Deals iPhone application.
An enhanced mobile Web interface at http://m.ebay.com also lets consumers browse eBay.com on any mobile phone equipped with a Web browser. Mobile users are redirected to the optimized site if they type in http://www.ebay.com.
Its core iPhone application, which is available for free via the App Store in eight languages and 77 countries, has been downloaded more than 5 million times and lets users to browse and buy without leaving the application.
EBay took first place in the competition for the 2009 Mobile Retailer of the Year award (see story).
A purchase is made every two seconds via eBay’s mobile platforms. Users from more than 165 countries visit the eBay mobile Web site and use the iPhone application, and the Android application will only increase adoption.
Features and functionality
Launched this month, the eBay Android application is available for free in the Android Market.
Key features of the Android application include voice search, advanced search, buyer alerts, feedback, PayPal integration and Buy It Now capabilities.
In addition to type search, the eBay application comes enabled with speech-to-text voice search.
Users can tap the microphone button near the search bar and say what they are searching for. The application will then automatically search for that item.
The eBay application lets users search within specific preloaded categories, refine their search based on select criteria and search for completed listings to inform their bidding decisions.
Buyer alerts help users stay up to date on the status of their auctions and watched items with timely alerts sent to their handset.
Feedback enables users to share and rate their eBay experience for items bought and sold via the application.
The eBay application comes with PayPal integration, delivering end-to-end mobile shopping and payments experiences in a safe and secure environment.
Buy It Now capabilities let shoppers buy the items they want right away, at a set price, without having to wait for a listing to end.
When asked about its plans to roll out an application to other smartphone platforms, eBay played its cards close to its vest.
“EBay has a robust mobile commerce roadmap that will bring the most compelling shopping experiences to mobile handsets,” Mr. Yankovich said. “Part of this roadmap is to look at different technologies and platforms that best serve the needs of our customers.
“Currently we have stand alone apps for BlackBerry, iPhone and Android,” he said. “However any savvy shopper with a mobile Web browser can access eBay’s WAP site at http://m.ebay.com.”
What is clear is that mobile applications are an important component of eBay’s overall commerce and marketing strategy.
“The popularity of eBay’s mobile offerings so far demonstrates that there is a demand for streamlined and mobile specific shopping experiences,” said Mr. Yankovich said.
“Android provides a clear opportunity to engage in commerce anytime and from anywhere, allowing consumers to quickly shop and buy while the products they need are top of mind instead of having to wait to get to a store or a computer,” he said.