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eBay Inc (EBAY), Stratasys, Ltd. (SSYS): Will This Company’s Futuristic Thinking Pay Off?

In the financial media, you always hear about how the best companies think over the long-term. Online auction house, payment processor, and e-commerce platform eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) decided to take things a step further in terms of “light year thinking.” With consumers centering the way they work, consume, and entertain themselves on the web, it pays to look toward the stars in an effort to gain a competitive edge.

PayPal in space

eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY)On June 27, eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) launched PayPal Galactic, a joint initiative with the SETI Institute to work on issues surrounding the “commercialization of space.” PayPal wants to eventually capitalize on space travel, believing that commercial space travel will decrease in cost, resulting in more people traveling into orbit and possibly staying in futuristic orbital motels. PayPal wants to serve as the conduit of choice for any purchases these futuristic tourists may make.

You may argue that space tourism resides in the realm of science fiction; however, the allure of braving the final frontier will bring in adventure-loving tourists by the droves. It could well morph into the next hot growth industry, and PayPal will be ready to benefit.

Replicators come to life

In the popular science fiction series Star Trek: The Next Generation, you may have seen machines called replicators, where anything gets made per your verbal command. eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY), in partnership with three 3D printing companies, including the manufacturer of Makerbot, Stratasys, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS), wants to bring that future a little closer.

Stratasys, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS), in an effort to build up its Makerbot awareness, decided to team up with eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) to utilize e-commerce to sell 3D printing services. This presents an interesting strategy. Consumers and business customers alike may decide to purchase their own 3D printer if they like the products they order through the use of eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY)’s latest app, eBay Exact.

Using eBay Exact, customers can order customized products ranging from jewelry to plastic cases for smartphones. Users can customize their product online and expect delivery within 7-14 business days.

Many pundits argue that 3D manufacturers such as Stratasys, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS) represent the wave of the future in manufacturing. It could revolutionize everything from the making of guns to car parts given that these companies don’t get sued for copyright and patent infringements. Stratasys, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS) increased revenue 118% over the last five years, translating into a gain of 324%, versus a total return of 35% for the S&P 500 according to YCharts.

Setting itself apart

Ordering customizable products from a faraway 3D printer certainly takes e-commerce to interesting new levels. eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY), which started out as an online auction house and eventually moved into other successful ventures such as online payment processing through the acquisition of PayPal, can now actually customize products for its users with the press of a button.

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