The move by eBay to tie up with Mashable to allow shoppable content on the news and entertainment site’s platform marks a big move for both m-retailing and the marketplace world.
The news is big for a number of reasons. Most notable is the move by eBay to sell its stuff through someone else. It let’s shoppers shop with eBay without ever leaving a third party site and marks a big move in the marketplace world to allow for all the advantages of shopping the marketplace while doing something else.
This chimes with where ecommerce is heading: away from search engine driven – and by that I include the big marketplaces as they are effectively shopping search engines – and towards shopping when and wherever you see things on one’s every day travels in the real world and on the web.
eBay has long recognised this trend and has been slowly shifting towards it. This deal marks the first true deployment of such a service and, as such, should be seen as heralding a new dawn in omni-channel retailing.
The other thing that is interesting about it is that it takes eBay’s shop-the-look technology that it has piloted on its own website onto someone else’s territory. Of course, to realise its vision of making the world shoppable rather than searchable, this is a given, but actually doing it is, again, heralding a new dawn in omni-channel retailing.
Picking a media and entertainment company is also interesting. By doing so, it is turning all that click-bait on Mashable into something of much more value to the consumer. Now, seeing stuff on an RSS-like feed, or a news aggregation platform such as Apple News, will be doubly interesting: what is the story and can I buy whatever they are wearing.
Of course, as a news junkie I can’t see how coverage of Kim dynasty doings in North Korea is going to lead to anything I can buy off eBay – used missiles or perhaps some fissile material, perhaps ‘that’ haircut? – but it will be hugely applicable to other stories. Expect a bloom of bright red Trump-ist ‘Make America Great’ baseball caps on the noggins of click-happy news guzzlers.
The other thing that is really interesting about the move is that it is predominantly being sold as a mobile play. The offering has, eBay tells me, been optimised to work really well on mobile (and really well on desktop), but it is primarily aimed at mobile device users.
Mobile is, of course, the natural habitat of the Mashable tech news geek audience, but one can’t help but speculate that it is because we are going to see more deployments like this across the gamut of websites, with the end goal of being able to point your phone at anything you see and buy it from eBay.
It also once again pushes marketplaces well and truly into the omni-channel mix. Marketplaces are, for most retailers, now something they cannot ignore. They are where almost half of all ecommerce transactions take place and are where consumers go looking for things.
If this is a transitory state as shoppers move beyond search, they become even more essential to retailers as they will, led here by eBay, be providing the technology and the point of contact to let people shop what they see. When pointing a phone at Kim Jong Un’s natty Moa suit, you don’t want to be taken to a particular retailer, you want to be offered a choice that brings better price, better delivery options and, well, all the other advantages of a marketplace brand.
It may only just be February, but already I think we have seen something massively significant in ecommerce, omni-channel and mobile retail that will be a total game changer. Well done eBay: now you have my attention.