John Donahoe said merchants cannot rely only on a brick and mortar store or website to compete.
Jerusalem - The chief executive of eBay has urged businesses to prepare for a new wave of commerce driven by smartphones and tablets so they can take advantage of the benefits this will offer.
Speaking at the HTIA conference in Jerusalem, Israel, John Donahoe said that the firm expects "more change to take place in the e-commerce world in the next three to five years than the last 20".
Donahoe said the huge growth of smartphones and tablets in the consumer world was set to transform the world of commerce.
"Mobile devices are blurring the line between being online and offline. Now users can compare prices in-store, at home or on the move, so things are going to change, just as the media world is being changed by the rise of smartphones and tablets," he said.
Firms need to make sure they are well placed to take advantage of this trend, or they will risk being overtaken by competitors, he warned.
"Merchants need to recognize things are changing. They can no longer depend on an offline store to compete, or just a website. You need to reach consumers all over the world, whenever and wherever they want," Donahoe said.
Underlining the momentum building for mobile technologies, Donahoe revealed that over 100 million people have downloaded the eBay iPhone app and the firm expects to see some $10bn in deals done over this platform in the future.
"The notion of a physical wallet will seem archaic in three to five years as [the smartphone] becomes the wallet," he said.
Donahoe's view is backed by developments in the UK payments space, with banks like Barclays pushing mobile offerings such as Pingit to consumers and mobile operators teaming up to develop services that can help users pay for items via their phones.
This article was originally published on V3.
Dan Worth is the deputy editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal.
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