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EBay latches on to in-store mobile ambitions with app revamp

The updates build on eBay’s initiatives that began last year to position RedLasrer as an in-store companion app. The updates  affect the RedLaser iPhone app, which can be downloaded for free from Apple’s App Store.

“RedLaser’s local shopping update is part of eBay’s move from ecommerce to all of commerce,” said Rob Veres, general manager of RedLaser and senior director of innovation and new ventures at eBay, San Jose, CA

“The RedLaser 4.4 update adds even more capabilities for consumers to shop locally while still having access to choose from a global product selection,” he said.

Shopping companion
EBay’s RedLaser app has been updated to include a new deals tab, which helps consumers find nearby offers.

Now consumers can browse local deals without being in the directly geofenced area of the store.

The offers are listed by distance and are also plotted on a map.

Retailers including IKEA, Target, Best Buy and Toys R Us are incorporated into the deals tab.

Each retailer has its own profile page, which includes information such as directions and hours. The page also aggregates any in-store coupons and online deals that are available at the retailer.

Weekly circulars from brands are also woven into the app.

One of the other big pushes in the app revamp is in-store maps for Home Depot and Walgreens stores to help consumers navigate their shopping experience.

The goal behind the profile pages is to serve as a one-stop hub for all information that consumers need while shopping.

The app has also been updated to let consumers opt-in to receive push notifications when they want to receive further deals from a store that they are shopping in.

Deals powered by companies such as RetailMeKnot and Spotzot were previously available in the app. Now the retailers are more directly intertwined in the deals for some brands.

All-stop shop
Last year Best Buy became the first retailer to partner with eBay on a campaign to geofence its approximately 1,100 stores (see story).

RedLaser’s app update points to the need for price comparison apps to provide more contextually-relevant information.

Although showrooming is still a concern for retailers, consumers also expect to do more than price compare while in-store.

To keep up, several third party apps have expanded their focus from solely being on in-store deals and offers.

For example, shopkick recently rolled out an iPad app to move into the couch commerce trend (see story).

In this case, loading the app with more in-store content could help eBay establish its app as one central hub for consumers to use repeatedly.

“Consumers are no longer using their mobile devices solely for price checking and comparisons,” Mr. Veres said.

“They’re looking for a personalized experience tied to their location, and RedLaser helps deliver that experience by serving as the ultimate shopping companion,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York