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EBay exec debunks iPad consumers as upscale

May 13, 2011

NEW YORK – An eBay executive at the Mcommerce Summit: State of Mobile Commerce 2011 conference said contrary to belief, upscale and affluent users are only a small percentage of consumers that are using Apple’s iPad to make mobile purchases.

During the closing keynote “eBay: How the world’s No. 1 mobile retailer is using mobile bar codes and QR codes for customer engagement,” executives from eBay and RedLaser shared their company’s best practices. The panel was moderated by Mickey Alam Khan, editor in chief of Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily. The conference was organzied by Mobile Commerce Daily.

“IPad consumers are not upscale,” said Steve Yankovich, vice president of eBay Mobile, San Jose, CA. “The tablet provides a very laid back experience.

“On the iPad, we have huge engagement there,” he  said. “I got a call from Apple six weeks before the app went out and they wanted us to build an app and we built it is five weeks.

“What’s surprising, is that people do not want to pinch and zoom on the iPad.”

The rise of mcommerce
Mobile commerce is growing and eBay can see it by the numbers.

“You can see by the numbers,” Mr. Yankovich  said. “It’s a phenomenal business for us and it’s growing rapidly.

“Mobile is absolutely incremental,” he said. “We’re driving new people to eBay because of mobile.

Although the executive would not divulge exact numbers, he did say that eBay saw high six figure numbers in the first quarter of 2011.

The executive said that it is important to go after what the consumer expects.

Mr. Yankovich also said that mobile consumers are gradually becoming impatient.
Consumers do not want to spend a long time looking for items and shopping via their mobile device.

The less clicks, the better.

Mobile bar codes
Rob Veres, general manager of RedLaser, San Jose, CA, said that QR codes and letting consumers scan for additional information is a key technology that companies should incorporate into their strategies.

“RedLaser is the scanning focus of the eBay story,” Mr. Veres said. “I could talk about QR codes and scanning for hours.

“I think QR codes are a tool and it’s a tool that’s being adopted by consumers and just like any tool, what you get out of it depends largely on the skill of that tool,” he said. “Really, we experiment with a lot of different things.”

Mr. Veres talked about a partnership that RedLaser worked on with Atlantic Records.

The record company called the executive to help create a campaign for Lupe Fiasco’s new album and incorporate mobile bar codes in the initiative.

“Lupe was interested in QR codes and we put in a campaign for the pre-order of the album where you can take a fan to the mobile experience of it,” Mr. Veres said. “We’ll continue trying other things with other partners and really we’re figuring these things out along the way.

“Smartphone adoption is coming quickly,” he said. “Obviously, there are other solutions.

“We’re focusing on leveraging the capabilities that smartphones provide and in particular, we love leveraging the device’s camera and it keeps getting better and better.”

EBay’s Mr. Yankovich said that QR codes definitely make an impact in the mobile industry.

“I think people are curious when they see QR codes,” Mr. Yankovich said. “They may even buy a new phone because of that.”

Final Take

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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