eBay acquires mobile barcode app scanner RedLaser

24 Jun 2010

Online retail giant eBay has acquired RedLaser for an undisclosed sum. With over two million downloads, RedLaser is the top-selling iPhone barcode-scanning application for comparison shopping and finding product information using a mobile device.

“With RedLaser’s innovative technology, eBay is continuing to help shoppers quickly find the best deals online, and eBay sellers will be able to list their items faster,” said Mark Carges, chief technology officer and senior vice president, global products, eBay Marketplaces.

The deal could drive eBay in many new potential directions, for example allowing consumers on the High Street to compare items in stores with lower cost items available on eBay.

eBay Inc. predicts US$1.5 billion in gross merchandise volume (GMV) in 2010 will flow through its mobile platforms. eBay’s mobile applications are available to millions of iPhone, BlackBerry and Android users in more than 190 countries and eight languages. A mobile purchase is made every two seconds via eBay’s mobile applications.

eBay, which already employs more than 1,600 people at its Blanchardstown site together with PayPal, its online payment system, in March revealed plans to create 150 new jobs.

“Mobile enables consumers to make impulse buys and convenient purchases wherever they are, and eBay is constantly innovating to make mobile shopping easy and reduce the friction in commerce. With RedLaser’s innovative technology, eBay is continuing to help shoppers quickly find the best deals online, and eBay sellers will be able to list their items faster,” Carges said.

eBay plans to integrate RedLaser’s barcode scanners into its leading iPhone applications, including its eBay Marketplace, eBay Selling, StubHub and Shopping.com applications, providing more than 10 million users with access to product information for fast and easy selling and comparison shopping.

The technology is designed to help consumers find great deals online for virtually any product with a barcode, and for eBay sellers to quickly create listings by accessing pricing trends and product details for millions of items in eBay’s catalog.

The eBay Selling application for the iPhone will be the first iPhone application to take advantage of RedLaser’s barcode-scanning technology for mobile users to sell items online.

eBay is immediately transitioning RedLaser from a paid application to a free standalone application. The company also plans to significantly increase selection on RedLaser by integrating more than 200 million listings from eBay, as well as product inventory from over 7,000 global merchants on Shopping.com, including 95 of the top 100 online retailers.

The RedLaser technology is being used in a wide variety of applications including grocery shopping lists, gift registries, and nutritional tracking. eBay plans on increasing developer support of the RedLaser technology in the future.

The acquisition of the RedLaser application builds on eBay Inc.’s momentum and innovation in mobile commerce. In 2010, eBay released an iPad application and three new iPhone apps: eBay Selling, eBay Classifieds and StubHub.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years