According to the e-commerce company, the mobile experience, particularly in the tablet market, is rapidly becoming the preferred way to shop globally. Over 30 percent of US shoppers and 50 percent of users globally are using phones and tablets to pick out ready to buy items instead of bidding on the e-commerce site. A full 59 percent are multiscreen shoppers. This means they are often picking out and saving items on mobile and then buying them later on desktop. That behavior is forging a new way the company plans to interact with shoppers going forward.
“The eBay for iPad app is an important step on our journey,” RJ Pittman, chief product officer for eBay noted. “It delivers a better shopping experience for buyers and better merchandising capabilities for sellers.”
eBay had plans to release the new iPad app in Q1 this next year, but wanted to find out for themselves how it did during the prime holiday shopping season. Pittman mentioned this is part of the new eBay strategy to be more agile and move faster to keep up with the way we shop in the future.
The new app takes Collections and adds in a curated categories element. Those on iPad will see items they are watching, recently viewed or a curated holiday gifts section right on the front page. The app will basically use machine learning to figure out what you are more likely to buy. Recent searches, previous purchases and what someone tends to look at most will be incorporated into what gets populated on the front end. Pittman painted the idea as a sort of Pinterest board that you can actually discover and purchase from.
Creating that same feeling of brick and mortar shopping discovery has been a tough nut to crack for e-commerce. eBay is attempting to bring in that much enjoyed past time of browsing in the store and happening upon something you never knew you always wanted, but in the digital realm.
“It’s really hard to do browsing well. We don’t claim to have all the answers but we do want to make it awesome enough that you come back and browse often and stay longer,” said Pittman.
The new iPad app includes higher resolution images that users can pinch and zoom in on to get a better sense of the product up close. eBay will encourage on-boarding in this department to help sellers add cleaner, more buyer friendly pictures of items. It also incorporates a cleaner design, simplified navigation and checkout, gesture-based exploration, and what eBay hopes to be a more user-friendly My eBay experience (Buying, Selling, Watching, Following).
The app is a bit of a test for the company roadmap in the coming year. Pittman didn’t want to tap down an exact date for the rollout of the same features on other mobile devices, but was able to disclose that this launch will help decide how the same features get rolled out on Android tablets and smartphones in 2015.