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I’m at eBay’s X.commerce developer conference where CEO John Donahoe kicked things off by introducing what X.commerce is and what it hopes to become.

Just like eBay opened up PayPal last year for third-party developers to integrate payments into their products, X.commerce is the next step: a deeper integration of all the assets eBay has been acquiring over the past year.

“We want it to be easy,” he said to the developer-heavy audience, “not a loose connections of assets that you have to work to get. We want you to come to one place to get the platforms and services.”

The subsequent session dug deeper into all the pieces of this platform (more in a follow-up post). But generally speaking, it gives developers a pretty broad toolset to build commerce capabilities for retailers. That includes big brands and mom and pops, and it importantly includes both online and offline.

“Almost half of retail transactions have accessed the Web at some point in the funnel,” he asserted. “Now consumers have the mall in their pocket. They expect shopping to be brought to them. It’s no longer a severed activity; it’s being woven into their everyday lives.”

They’re converging, no longer with e-commerce as a slice of U.S. retail, he says. It will be an $8 trillion overall pie by 2015 and eBay’s goal is to have it collectively known simply as “commerce” by then. All the pieces of the X.commerce platform collectively work toward that end.

And the glue that brings it together is mobile, he asserted, invoking the acquisitions of RedLaser, Milo and Where as key assets to tie together mobile user engagement and, ultimately, commerce. So far, its mobile apps have been downloaded more than 50 million times. And it will do $5 billion in gross merchandise value and $3 billion in payments volume this year.

As we’ve argued, this is eBay’s master plan to close the loop. There are many pieces that will reach users at various stages. X.commerce is the one-stop shop for developers to layer in those pieces that apply to whatever they’re building. And in the overall vision, eBay certainly isn’t alone: Google’s doing it with Wallet, and this will be THE theme of our ILM West conference.

“There’s enormous acceleration in the pace of change,” said Donahoe. “We’ll see more change in the way consumers shop and pay during the next three years than we’ve seen in the last 15.”

Image Credit: Forbes

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