eBay partners with Facebook and launches PayPal Access

A new social commerce platform

eBay is enabling developers to create shopping apps for retailers on Facebook via a new social commerce platform called X.commerce. Launched in partnership with the social networking giant, X.commerce will let any developer create features such as shopping carts, payment services or inventory management for merchants online, as the shopping firm expands its relationship beyond merchants to developers. The new tools weave together eBay’s recent acquisitions such as Magento, RedLaser and Milo. eBay has also launched PayPal Access in partnership with Gigya and Jarain, an authentication service which lets users log in to shopping sites with their PayPal account, in what eBay says will reduce the number of steps before shoppers make a purchase and increase sales for retailers.

According to eBay CEO, John Donahoe, X.commerce is likely to bolster PayPal’s revenues – but PayPal’s EMEA chief, Rennier Lemmens, says that the platform’s “open source model” may enable developers to provide “competing” payment methods.

“We would like X.commerce to be one of the leading e-commerce platforms,” says Lemmens, speaking to StrategyEye. “We believe in that open-source model. [X.commerce] is a different business unit, and it is providing competing payment methods to PayPal because it is taking a completely development-centric view of the world.”

PayPal Access, meanwhile, sees eBay making a concerted attempt to make PayPal a ubiquitous payments service on the web, with its authentication service competing to some degree with third-party login services from Facebook or Google. PayPal represents 39% of eBay’s revenues in Q2 this year and is already the most popular online payments service. PayPal’s ambitious attempts to become the default service will strengthen its position against newcomers to the payments space such as Isis, Square and Google, and the division is already upping its focus on offline retail with a raft of new mobile tools. However, retailers must agree to implement PayPal Access which would see them giving up their own registration services and possibly valuable user information. However, eBay claims that reducing “friction” in signups will lead to higher sales, saying that huge numbers of shoppers abandon their online carts when asked to register separate retail accounts before purchase.

“There’s still too much friction in online shopping,” says identity GM for X.commerce, Damon Hougland. “Consumers don’t want to enter multiple pages of information to make a purchase. With PayPal Access, consumers can spend less time filling out forms and more time buying. Retailers can create a great shopping experience for millions of customers who already trust PayPal to buy online.”

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