1. A more intuitive mobile search input than typing.
2. Buying intent that can be inferred from retail/point of purchase queries.
Today, eBay announced that it will acquire Occipital’s RedLaser for an undisclosed amount. Synergies, I can imagine, include scraping eBay’s database of 200 million products and listings to find items comparable to scanned items (but maybe cheaper).
This could be a way to seed buying and bidding activity on eBay and its affiliates, like Shopping.com. Its first step will likely be to incorporate the scanning functionality into its own apps, such as the Marketplace and Shopping.com apps. That would be logical.
EBay also gains a solid standalone product in the RedLaser iPhone app. The app has achieved more than 2 million downloads and is one of the top paid apps ($1.99) in the App Store. It has carved out a niche for iPhone users for its ability read UPC codes without auto focus (pre- 3Gs models).
Increasingly, mobile is an initiative for eBay, with a projected $1.5 billion in mobile product sales by the end of the year.