PayPal CEO On Retail’s “Defining Moment”

Amazon’s multibillion-dollar acquisition of Whole Food Markets will go down as a defining moment in retail – one that PayPal CEO Dan Schulman likened to Pearl Harbor in an interview with

“I think in many ways when Amazon bought Whole Foods, that was almost a Pearl Harbor moment for the retail industry,” Schulman said, noting that the acquisition of a physical grocery store operator by the country’s biggest eCommerce player ushered in a new era, one in which old and new retail methods are melded.

“Until then, most people had understood that the world was moving toward omnichannel, but thought there was a distinction between online and offline,” Schulman told He said that the deal showcases the blending of the online and offline worlds of retail, with mobile as the preferred method to access it all.

In October, in an interview held shortly before the launch of PayPal for Marketplaces, PayPal’s chief operating officer, Bill Ready, told PYMNTS’ Karen Webster that a shift to digital retail has created a massive opportunity for the retailers, consumers and commerce ecosystems that have emerged over the last decade.

Narrowly speaking, it’s been a big opportunity for PayPal, which has seen its base swell to 218 million active users and 17 million merchants worldwide, as reported in its Q3 earnings. More broadly, it’s been a massive opportunity for merchants to tailor, personalize and perfect the level of their game, according to Ready – and for consumers to benefit from the depth and breadth of an evolving retail environment.

“We want to wake up in a world where there’s a thriving retail environment, where there are many retail players supporting a dynamic commerce ecosystem,” he said. In fact, PayPal acts as “a catalyst and a democratizer” of that retail environment, enabling access to the elements that are now essential to maintaining a competitive place in a dynamic retail ecosystem.


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