eBay Local Sends Shoppers Right to Retailers' Front Doors
By Ina Steiner
Mobile, social and local are the three big trends in ecommerce these days, and at a conference last month, three eBay executives discussed the company's move into the "local" space. eBay has integrated real-time inventory data from major retailers onto eBay.com so that shoppers can search for products from their local brick-and-mortar retailers directly on eBay.com. The data is powered by Milo, a shopping engine eBay acquired last year.
eBay shoppers can opt in to see local inventory availability in search results, and can also view the product availability in product pages in certain categories (see, this article, "A Closer Look at eBay's New Shopping Experience.")
eBay Director of Product Management for Electronics and Local Shan Vosseller said eBay was investing in expanding the categories that included local shopping on eBay. He was speaking at the Web 2.0 Expo conference during a Q&A interview with Dane Glasgow, eBay's Vice President of Global Product Management and Jack Abraham, Director of Local at eBay Inc. and founder of Milo.
Glasgow made it clear that eBay's interest in local was fueled by the company's interest in mobile shopping. "There is a really interesting thing happening in retail," he said. "We're seeing a convergence of behavior that has traditionally been only online with behavior that is traditionally offline. Mobile devices fall right at the intersection of online and offline behavior."
Jack Abraham said retailers were "thrilled" with the local shopping features on eBay, "which really help drive more people into their stores to buy products. Retailers know that, increasingly, consumers are turning to the Internet to research and buy products. Traditional forms of reaching the consumer, such as Sunday circulars and old media, aren't converting the way they used to. For retailers to remain relevant, they need to be present in the online spaces where consumers are making purchasing decisions."
Since that conference session, eBay agreed to acquire WHERE, a hyper-local ad network with a mobile app that allows people to find personalized deals and local recommendations.
More information about eBay's local shopping features is available at eBay.com/local.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to email@example.com.
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