eBay eyes mobile as route to the high street

Retail giant eBay is placing mobile at the core of its future strategy, including the launch of “sofa shopping” trial, as it aims to expand its reach beyond the home, according to its European marketing chief Alexander von Schirmeister.

eBay new logo

Speaking today (16 May) at the IAB’s Mobile Engage event in London, von Schirmeister said a third of all eBay sales have a mobile element, adding that it forecasts processing $20bn in mobile transactions next year.

He told delegates it was conducting a “sofa shopping” pilot in the US that serves tablet users content based on what they’re watching on TV.

He added: “We’re running lots of tests and trials that are allowed to go fast and fail fast, it’s better to do this, rather than get mired in internal politics.” 

Meanwhile, he also explained the danger facing bricks and mortar retailers that do not have a mobile strategy in place.

“48% of tablet owners and 43% of mobile owners we speak to have told us they showroom [i.e. go into a store to look at a product, compare prices on their phones and then buy elsewhere],” von Schirmeister said.

Elsewhere at the conference, Morrisons head of mobile Sienne Veit , explained how the supermarket chain was attempting to fuse its in-store and online strategies via mobile.

“We’ve implemented things like Google Places so you can see what we look like in-store [where Morrisons also provides free Wi-Fi],” she said.

“Mobile gives us the best chance to leverage the online offering with the best of our in-store offering, extending that into payment is one of our priorities now.” 

In a separate presentation, Dominic Allon, Google’s director of agency sales, explained Google’s philosophy on how to integrate mobile into its strategy.

“People that ask the question: ‘What are we doing about mobile?’ are asking the wrong question. It should be ‘what are we doing about people? [and their consumption habits]”.

“If you take that philosophy, you can win not just today but tomorrow and the day after that.”

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