EBay to launch social commerce features: IRCE 2011

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EBay will launch a Facebook sharing product built into its homepage that will allow consumers to find products and drag and drop them into the social network. The feature will also allow a consumer's Facebook friends to vote on their preferred product and offer comments, said Christopher Payne, VP and head of eBay North America. Payne, keynoting the Internet Retail Conference and Exhibition in San Diego on June 15, said the Facebook product would launch “in the coming months.”

Payne also introduced a free beta program for merchants that can be added to QuickBooks' point-of-sale product. The program will enable merchants to quickly integrate offline inventory into eBay no matter what they are selling. The service, Fetch, is currently available on Milofetch.com.

“Last week we sold a Warren Buffet lunch for $2.6 million,” said Payne. “Another charity that closed two weeks ago [sold] for $40,000 for a a lock of Justin Bieber's hair...This is what you expect from eBay. It's a place where you can buy and sell everything.”

Payne said eBay is furthering its mission to connect consumers and merchants by enabling them to buy and sell any type of product through mobile, social and local commerce whenever and wherever consumers choose to shop.

“The very nature of shopping is changing dramatically,” he said. “We've been in business for 15 years. In terms of the Internet, that's a long time. We've learned a lot along the way. People are shopping differently. We see this as a challenge and an opportunity, but mostly an opportunity.”

Consumers have downloaded eBay's mobile apps more than 45 billion times, said Payne. The company made $2 billion in mobile sales in 2010.

“In 2011, we will double that, “ Payne said. “Truly people will be able to shop anytime, anywhere."

Payne said the industry is currently in an era called “Commerce 3.0.” Commerce 1.0, he said, relied on the physical world. Commerce 2.0 relied upon the Web.

“Commerce 3.0 is the intersection of new technologies and shopping, with the consumer at the center,” he explained. “Commerce 3.0 enables coupons for local offers [and] a digital wallet to pay for products using a mobile device in the physical world.”

He said the company's recent acquisitions of RedLaser, Milo, and Where.com prove the company is “clearly investing in these technologies to make local commerce a reality.”

The company's recent acquisition of Magento will enable eBay to offer merchants a cloud-based open commerce platform that provide services like demand generation, merchandising, access to shopping transactions and customer loyalty initiatives, Payne said.

Ebay saw $62 billion in sales volume in 2010, 60% of which came from the “Buy It Now” format and only 40% from auction, the company's founding initiative.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the timeline eBay used to launch its flash sales site. The site has already launched.

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