After what eBay has done over the past 12 months, it's time to stop thinking of the company just as, well, whatever you've been thinking of it as: auction site; Internet stock monster; Meg Whitman launching pad. The new eBay is mobile, mainstream, and fashionable.
For starters, eBay has made good on its promise to move aggressively into the mobile-commerce space. "We want consumers to engage even when they don't have a purchase in mind," says Steve Yankovich, eBay's VP of mobile platforms. Users spend an average of 10 minutes browsing the pages of the eBay Fashion app—40% more time than they spend with eBay's catchall app that connects them to all things eBay. And cell-phone and iPad users can find products at the nearest outlet of more than 50,000 U.S. retailers (including Best Buy, Sears, and Target), courtesy of apps powered by localized data from Milo, a product-based search engine eBay acquired for $75 million in December 2010. The company's RedLaser bar-code-scanning technology gives more than 14 million users the ability to compare prices across websites while they're in retail stores. When it comes time to pay for those items online? EBay's PayPal is there, with 90 million active registered accounts that spent more than $72 billion last year.
The results have redefined the brand. The company sold almost $2 billion worth of goods via smartphones and tab-lets in 2010, more than double the total sales from 2009.