Ebay is today rolling out a new user experience on mobile, called eBay 4.0, which will for the first time introduce a unified look-and-feel to the company’s iOS and Android apps, while also offering more opportunities for customization and personalization in the future.
This is a notable upgrade for the online marketplace, given its significant presence on mobile. The company’s apps have been downloaded 279 million times, and 60 percent of customers are touched by mobile – meaning that, at some point during the purchase flow, they end up using eBay by way of a mobile device.
In the past, eBay has focused on each mobile platform individually, as the different mobile operating systems would each evolve at different times. This meant that eBay’s apps ended up offering their own unique user experience.
With the 4.0 release, all the apps will now look and operate similarly. More importantly, when there’s upgrade, eBay will be able to build once then deploy globally, which will keep the basic eBay user experience consistent in the future, as well. However, this change doesn’t mean that eBay will ignore the functionality each new platform introduces – for example, it will offer some features designed to work with the soon-to-launch version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 9. But it will make using eBay from a variety of devices less confusing.
The new design has been simplified and has a much cleaner and brighter look than before. Front-and-center are the three main areas that users engage with while on eBay: shopping, selling, and staying on top of their activities, including tracking their recently watched or viewed items, those they’re bidding on, and more. These three categories (Activities, Shop, and Sell) are featured at the top of the screen on mobile, below the search box which is now not as prominent as before.
In addition to the new layout and navigation, browsing has been brought to the forefront with the goal of making eBay on mobile a more immersive experience. In the past, the focus was more on search, explains David Beach, eBay’s Director of Product Management for Mobile. Plus, he notes, each category now has includes deals, collections and events.
To some extent, this represents how eBay is making good on its promises to integrate the features found in its now-shuttered eBay Fashion and eBay Motors apps, which eBay shut down in July. At the time, the company said that these apps’ functionality would be integrated into the core eBay user experience.
Also now available in the new eBay app is the “Valet” service. This too, used to have its own dedicated app before the summer closures. This sell-for-me option is designed to make it easier on novice sellers to get started using eBay – or anyone, really, who doesn’t want to get involved with the hassles of having to photograph, list, sell then ship their items themselves. With eBay Valet, you can instead ship your item to a professional seller who will handle the sale on your behalf in exchange for a cut of the proceeds.
While much of the eBay 4.0 upgrade is about unification, not only across platforms but also by bringing in the feature sets that used to live in standalone apps in the past, the changes under-the-hood will allow eBay to better personalize the apps to its users going forward.
“This design, overall, and this UX framework, is very customizable for us as the developers and will be customizable for users down the road,” says Beach. The apps include a card-based system that’s highly flexible, he explains. “We can easily add and move content around as our user’s needs grows and as our technology grows,” he says.
Today, the apps already somewhat personalize themselves to the user. For instance, if the user is a seller who most often views the “Selling” section, or if that’s the last section they used before closing the app, when the app is relaunched, it will show this screen first. But later on, users will be able to customize their “Activity” screen, even moving different cards to the top if they want, based on what sort of information they want to see first.
Also today, the apps will showcase collections geared to you. In a later release, however, eBay’s shopping section will better reflect the types of items you tend to search for – not only larger categories, like fashion or electronics, but subcategories too.
Ebay 4.0 is launching today on both iOS and Android.