Leena Rao tries to make sense of Ebay’s recent acquisitions:

t’s no secret that eBay has been heavily investing in a local commerce strategy. The central core of this is trying to capitalize on the $917 million online-to-offline buying market, which Forrester estimates will eventually reach $1.3 trillion (although this number seems low) and account for nearly 50% of total retail sales by 2013. Virtually every acquisition in the past year (besides the company’s $2.4 billion purchase of GSI Commerce) has been of a company that is dabbling in local payments or linking to merchants (Milo, RedLaser, Where, FigCard). If you look closely, a clear strategy is emerging that positions eBay at the center of mobile shopping, local commerce, and payments (through PayPal).

So let’s see, they’ve got payments, in-store comparison shopping, local mobile search traffic and real-time inventory. What do you think is next? I am guessing ReachLocal, Yodle or one of its competitors along with a SMB Facebook app company like Vitrue. Maybe a Daily Deal co?

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8 Response Comments

  • David Saunders  May 15, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Interesting and something I would certainly look at.

    Finding and ordering something online from a local outlet then getting the product delivered personally or perhaps “put back” seems like a great way forward.

    Oddly enough my wife and a possible client were talking about this on Friday.

    I used to sell used cars in Oakland, CA in about 2003 and the company did really well so I’m all ears here

    Thanks Andrew


  • David Saunders  May 15, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    ….meant to say the cars were sold using eBay Motors to locals


  • Sol Orwell  May 15, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    They already do daily deals through Kijiji Deals.

  • Andrew Shotland  May 15, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Correction. A “prominent” daily deals site? (I think Kijiji does ok outside of US though)

  • Doug  May 15, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    They should offer to buy Zaarly before it gets too expensive. Zaarly is “a little bit Craigslist, but mobile, real-time, and location-based”

  • Steve  May 15, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Kijiji not a household name in Oz.

  • Philip Cohen  May 16, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Local Strategy? Who gives a Fish or a FigCard or a Where or a GSI or a RedLaser or a Milo or a …?

    Maybe I have missed something but most of these acquisitions appear to be negatives for the core eBay Marketplace. Is this some sort of reverse psychology out of the “Bain Tool Kit for MBA Idiots”: Destroy the core business and the customers will come?

    Have no doubt, the retail banks will ultimately rid themselves of the parasitic PayPal regardless of what PayPal does. The simple fact is, whatever PayPal can do with regards to payments processing the retail banks could, and undoubtedly eventually will, do more professionally.

    What you should be aware of to protect yourself on/from eBay:

    What you should be aware of to protect yourself from PayPal:

    Enron / eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking.

  • Stockie  May 24, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Whatever Ebay has been doing has been working. They already have sort of a system of local sales (with the local pickup only option) but this could create even more money for ebay to make and help to steal profits away from Craigslist and Amazon at the same time.