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eBay’s Donahoe: Mobile Apps Revolutionizing Retail


Smartphone shopping apps will continue
to radically alter the way consumers shop and
pay, but are also providing brick-and-mortar retailers
with new tools to drive traffic to their stores.

That was the message presented by eBay president/
CEO John Donahoe in his keynote address at the Consumer
Electronics Association’s (CEA) annual 2012
Leaders In Technology (LIT) dinner, held last month at
the Wynn hotel during 2012 International CES.

Donahoe said m-commerce and related technologies
will bring more change in consumer shopping
patterns over the next three years than has occurred in
the past 15, and pointed to how the iPad has “significantly
transformed” the way consumers access media
since the device’s arrival just three years ago.

“The same thing is happening in retail, led by consumer-
enabled technology,” he said, citing the 50 percent
of all retail transactions that involved some degree
of web access last year – and his own company’s
$5 billion in m-commerce volume in 2011.

Within CE, eBay generated $4.2 billion in domestic
transactions last year, which, Donahoe indicated, would
have put it in ninth place on TWICE’s Top 100 CE Retailers
Report, ahead of RadioShack.

But much of eBay’s revenue is derived from its retail
services subsidiaries, including PayPal and storelocator
shopping app Milo, which are enabling brickand-
mortar merchants to compete with e-tailers as
the smartphone continues “blurring the line between
e-commerce and retail.”

Milo, for example, shows consumers where they can
find a product locally and allows them to purchase it with
one click for pick up at the store, which provides the retailer
with additional attachment-sale opportunities.

Donahoe also cited Best Buy’s work with Shopkick’s
location-based mobile app, which sends tailored offers
to customers as they stroll past its stores.

“Consumers feel like they have a mall in their pocket
— they want it when they want it and how they want it —
and merchants of all sizes are confronting change,” he
said. Some dealers will suffer as a result of the retail
revolution, he added, but those who embrace the new
technologies will thrive.

The LIT gathering, which draws a litany of retail,
manufacturing and government luminaries, also featured
an address by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, who
is working to transform Las Vegas and his state into a
data and high-tech development hub.

In his opening remarks, master of ceremonies Gary
Shapiro, president/CEO of CEA, noted that this year’s
International CES was on track to be the largest in the
show’s history, and reiterated the importance of techindustry
innovation as a key economic driver.