eBay has long been a disposal route for retailers, offloading their season-end and overstocks via the channel. Last year we saw a move to branded shop 'fascias' for retailers, maintaining a level of brand continuity and presence (we reported on this last September
Now, eBay's bringing apparell, shoes and accessories into a retail "storefront" format, replete with:
- "enhanced navigation" (or, as we'd say, 'basic category-led navigation' - but a big move for eBay from their search+category approach for auctions)
- magazine and lifestyle imagery for section and hub pages
- category boutiques - with visual search, product finders, style guides and themes
- gallery view - for visual browsing
- "more like this" - searchandising, linked and related products and alternatives.
This last part, in particular, signals eBays entry to the ranks of retailers. No longer an utilitarian 'search and find' interface, this combination of styles and thems, suggestions and recommendation puts eBay firmly in the camp of retailers. Experience is now as important as price.
Retailers will no doubt look with dismay that, no sooner are they offering their products via eBay, than eBay creates a competing shopfront (more usable, arguably, that many retailers' own!). However, the argument of Big Traffic and incremental sales mean that this is one tide that's unlikely to turn back.
You can see the new site here:http://fashion.ebay.com/
Do let us know your views on this development.We're running a JumpStart event on how to get trading on eBay, soup to nuts, in conjunction with eBay on 17 June, 2010 in London. You can register for the event here.