Can the iPhone Help Save eBay?

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With the upcoming holidays, many retailers are realizing the potential behind smart phone applications such as those made for the iPhone. eBay is one such company, with aims to clear $500 million generated from its mobile presence alone. That’s a great deal of money, especially from a mobile effort. Coming from eBay, the sentiment around the long-standing auction site has varied greatly over the past few years.

Having made several investment mistakes, taken on more than it can chew and all-out attempting to dominate the market, eBay has taken several steps back in order to re-focus its strategy and look towards a prosperous future. With the coming of social media and improved search engines, eBay found itself lagging in traffic and activity, seeking more ways in which to lure sellers and buyers.

iPhone ecommerceHowever, the increasing move towards finding new ways in which to monetize those consumers left eBay in the dark when it came to retaining its position as a market leader. As a brand, will its mobile efforts bring eBay back into the spotlight?

eBay reports that an item is purchased every two seconds through its mobile platforms, and the numbers are growing at a double-digit rate on a monthly basis. eBay’s latest iPhone application has already exceeded 5 million downloads, with another application in the works.

With several efforts over the past year or so to improve search and shop options, minimize the confusion an nonsense of added fees, and overall improving its service, eBay has begun to take back control of its brand. While late to the social networking scene, eBay is hoping to regain some of its market leadership with a more aggressive front on the mobile market.

A large benefit of having a substantial mobile user base is the return to the original addiction of eBay. Real time auction results and alerts for tracked items were among the primary reasons why consumers flocked to eBay. Not to mention, the potential to generate additional revenue or purchase an item for less than they would find at retail value made eBay a self-sustained economy for individuals around the world. The current market may be encouraging consumers to return to this type of economy were the relationship between supply and demand is far more natural and reactionary to the real world of the average worker.

There is also the growing global affect of eBay. On the mobile front, eBay is seeing a good amount of success. This is a goal for many web-based services that push mobile initiatives on a worldwide scale. the hope that mobile users in other countries will be able to more readily access eBay’s services if they provide a robust and usable platform. This appears to be the case, according to eBay’s numbers.

Additionally, the mobile applications being launched by large companies are proving to be good investments. As they become direct conduits for communicating on a direct level with their user base, mobile apps on smart phones are highly usable and effective for marketing and convenience purposes. Instilling a high level of value for their service through extensive mobile applications could in fact bring eBay back into a better position of leadership after all.

Ebay is represented by Kaplow PR and Airfoil PR in the US, and Bell Pottinger in Europe.

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