EBay Set to Launch Open X.Commerce Platform Today

The X.commerce platform combines many eBay assets for ecommerce software developers and merchants.

EBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) is set to launch its new X.Commerce open platform today at the X.commerce Innovate Developer Conference in San Francisco (October 12-13). The X.commerce platform is a combination of technology assets and developer communities from within the eBay portfolio.

Under its X.Commerce banner eBay is basically taking all the APIs and the developer communities that have been built up around many of the “eBay Inc. assets” (including PayPal, Magento, WHERE, Zong, RedLaser, GSI , Milo and others) and centralizing these technologies. The goal is to make it easier for ecommerce software developers to use the assets to deliver solutions for social, local, digital and mobile commerce.

“In the past year we’ve been hearing eBay talk about the mega-trends that are fundamentally changing what the relationship between buyer and seller means," said Anuj Nayer director of communications for PayPal. "Things like the mobile phone, the increasing blur between online and offline shopping and social commerce are all impacting this relationship,"

Most purchases now touch the Web at some point and while most mammoth-size retailers have the means to use new and innovative technology, the smaller retailers often find it difficult to compete.

There is where X.Commerce comes in – it's a way to help retailers connect with ecommerce software developers and to provide the technologies that consumers now expect a retail business to offer. 

“For the first time ever it’s the developers creating the ecommerce solutions,” explained Nayer.

EBay has a number of properties that have a developer-based community and APIs to fuel the new X.Commerce business. PayPal’s own developer community gained popularity in 2009 when PayPal opened up its APIs. Earlier this year, eBay also acquired the ecommerce platform, Magento, with its development community of more than 760,000 people.

Developers who want to work with just one product, like the Magento API for example, still have that option, but in the X.Commerce ecosystem those developers can also take advantage of all the other APIs and developer communities from eBay and other X.Commerce partners.

While eBay has impressive assets to launch its X.Commerce ecosystem, it is expected that retailers will have needs that eBay doesn’t have a product for, like SEO and analytics. To meet these potential requirements of merchants, Nayer told Ecommerce-Guide that X.Commerce is open to any tech company that wants to be a part of the ecosystem and provide merchants of all sizes and developers with easy access to their cutting-edge technologies.

At the Innovate Developer Conference today, eBay President and Chief Executive Officer, John Donahoe will officially unveil eBay’s new X.Commerce commerce strategy to developers, systems integrators and merchants.  A number of announcements are expected to be made that will detail eBay's growing list of partners, including Adobe, Kenshoo and Outright.

VirtualPiggy, among other ecommerce businesses, has already announced that its secure online accounts service can be integrated into eBay's Magento platform, allowing any merchant using the X.Commerce framework to have access to VirtualPiggy.

Early reports also suggest that eBay plans to deepen its relationship with social network leader Facebook and that PayPal will announce PayPal Access, a new identification service that will let shoppers log on to participating retail sites and pay with their PayPal username and password.

Keynote speakers at the conference include Blake Mycoskie (Founder, TOMS Shoes), Katie Burke Mitic (Platform Marketing, Facebook), Chris Bangle (former head of design at BMW) and Marshal Cohen (author of Buy It!).

 “One of the best things about X.Commerce is that it levels the playing field for smaller retailers, allowing them to compete by offering innovative tech services,” Nayer said. “With X.Commerce it’s easier for them to work with developers to bring their investment online, and they don’t have to do much to integrate it to make it a reality.”

Nayer said that the smaller retailers will need to work with a developer partner to make it happen, but they won’t need a full IT infrastructure to support it.

The platform, while touted as being open, developer-friendly and an opportunity for merchants lagging in ecommerce technology, will benefit eBay if merchants and developers in the X.Commerce ecosystem use any of eBay's assets.

Vangie Beal is a veteran online seller and frequent contributor to ECommerce-Guide.com. She is also managing editor of Webopedia.com. You can tweet with her online @AuroraGG.

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