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eBay employs image recognition as it launches car shopping app

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eBay has launched its new Motors app for iPhone to make buying cars and parts and accessories via eBay on a smartphone quicker, easier and more customisable for car crazy shoppers. The new eBay Motors app features cutting edge image recognition technology to make searching for vehicles faster and more convenient.

The eBay Motors app Vehicle Finder allows shoppers to snap a picture of the back of a car, and the app will do the hard work by searching eBay Motors listings and matching the photo to similar vehicles available on the site.

To meet growing demand from shoppers for more choice, interactivity and price transparency, the new Motors app also features a fully customisable home screen gallery of live listings and an interactive garage. The garage allows shoppers to save profiles of their favourite cars, and dream cars they long to own, and sharing features encourage users to email, tweet or share listings on Facebook for family and friends to see.

The key feature of the new app is photo search. Research by retail experts Conlumino for eBay identified image recognition as one of the top five new technologies set to drive a shopping revolution over the next two years, generating almost £100 million in direct revenue sales by 2014. The technology means faster, more interactive searching.

The app also offers acustomisable home screen gallery will feature cars selected from a custom search input by the user. All listings featured will be live and users can upload vehicles to their ‘garage’ to facilitate vehicle part searching and allows eBay to inform the user if the parts they are viewing are compatible.

Like any good app these days, the eBay car shopping app also features a community that will allow users to search and save cars owned or restored by others for reference and inspiration. There will also be a regularly updated news feed will contain exclusive video content collated by eBay at various motor events and shows, and an events calendar will list the most important motoring events of the season including MotoGP, F1, TT and BTCC fixtures.

Andrew Dice, 31, from Grimsby said: “I often buy vehicles on eBay, but my most expensive purchase to date was a £ 21,000 Land Rover Freelander which I bought using the eBay app on my smartphone. I find shopping via my smartphone quick and convenient and it suits my busy lifestyle. I really like that on the new eBay motors app I can customise the home screen gallery to suit my tastes, and I find the Vehicle Finder is fun to use and really speeds up the searching process. It is definitely a tool I will be using when looking for my next car.”

Vehicle purchases on eBay UK via a smartphone are booming with tech savvy shoppers spending upwards of £40,000 on exclusive cars such as Porsches and Land Rovers by a simple tap of a screen. Vehicles including a Porsche 911 Carrera and Land Rover Evoque – both of which were sold for around £40,000 – rate amongst the most expensive purchases ever made on eBay via mobile and demonstrate growing confidence in motor purchases through smartphones.

Although the economic outlook still looks grim, nearly 45,000 vehicles were bought on eBay via a smartphone in the first three months of this year alone, which equates to almost a fifth of all eBay vehicle sales. In fact, vehicle purchases made via a smartphone on eBay increased more than 120% between 2010 and 2011, and are on track to increase again this year.

Petra Jung, Head of Mobile Shopping at eBay UK, said: “Brits are in poll position when it comes to shopping on mobile devices, snapping up an item every second via eBay’s mobile platforms.

“In particular, we’ve seen a huge acceleration in vehicle sales on eBay UK with almost £70 million worth of vehicle purchases made via smartphones in the first three months of 2012.

“The new eBay Motors app will make shopping for cars, parts and accessories through smartphones even faster and convenient, and the new Vehicle Finder helps car buyers snap and search for their dream car the moment it catches their eye.”

Motors is one of the most popular categories on eBay UK, and the most popular car brands purchased via a smartphone include Ford, Vauxhall, Volkswagen, BMW and Peugeot. Over 19,000 Ford cars were purchased on eBay UK between January and March 2012 – that’s one every four minutes.

Between January and March 2012 a car was sold on eBay UK every 57 seconds and a car part every 2 seconds, wheels and tyres every 48 seconds and more than 7.9million parts have been sold so far on the site.

Commenting on the launch, Richard Anson, Founder of Reevoo, the social commerce solutions provider, said: “The news that eBay has launched a dedicated motoring app in response to consumers increasingly accessing its virtual market place to bid on big ticket items via their smartphones, is an interesting development in mobile shopping. Since the development of mobile commerce, be it from the mobile web or from dedicated apps, there have been concerns about users not trusting this channel as much as other channels, such as shopping from a laptop or desktop. However, the news that thousands of pounds are regularly being spent on purchasing cars via a smartphone shows that these concerns may not be as significant as previously thought. The eBay brand clearly garners such trust from consumers that they are willing to buy expensive items on their mobile, where they have been unwilling to do in the past.”

“For retailers and brands that are not as trusted with online and mobile shopping as eBay and Paypal (eBay’s wholly-owned payment service that has become a universally respected medium for online payments), using a trusted third party as endorsement can increase consumer trust. When encouraging consumers to part with their cash on mobile, this trust is even more important than from a computer – and it can be achieved with something as simple as ratings and reviews from other buyers. Our data from May 2012 shows that 137% more users accessed retailers’ sites via mobiles than in the previous year. With this sort of growth in the m-commerce space, retailers must ensure their mobile offering gives consumers confidence and trust in the product, the consumer service and the payments process – and user-generated content collected from a third party is an easy but powerful ingredient.”

The new eBay Motors app will be showcased at the eBay Motors pop-up garage XP Zone this summer – a hands-on eBay Motors experience that will be activated at key British Touring Car Championship race weekends.

Follow the eBay Motors BTCC team at

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