AS A MARKETPLACE, eBay is a different retail prospect to other companies featured here, but it made it into the IRUK 500 list as consumers see it as a retail brand – a destination and a fascia – and it does accept payment for orders. From a mobile point of view, it has one of the best mobile websites around and has a great app.
What impresses about eBay’s mobile presence, is that it has distinct apps and websites that are clearly designed for different uses. While replicating the ‘daily deals’ and ‘featured collections’ that are found on the app, for example, the website is driven by search. Its purpose is for looking things up.
The app is much more geared towards offering the user the choice to shop (and search of course is still very prominent), but also to sell and to manage their interactions. In short, the eBay app is also used as a controller for the merchants using it.
Interestingly, research by Similarweb.com found that of all top UK retail sites, eBay has the highest number of visits from direct type-in of its address into mobile browsers, so it has perhaps the most memorable URLs – or its branding is just short and sweet. Organic search was the second biggest deliverer of traffic to its site, from where the retailer encourages shoppers to download the app.
The company’s move to ‘sales events’ across its different ranges, something that has been brought in to stem a plateau in growth, is very effectively managed on the app, allowing the user simply to swipe sideways to move from section to section to see the deals – it is designed for browsing. The mobile website also makes use of the scroll and swipe abilities of the phone to offer a rich browsing experience.
Load times are good for both the website and the app. Although having tested all of the Top5 in the IRUK 500 Mobile and Cross-channel Dimension under the same circumstances, its app is noticeably slower to load, it does offer perhaps the most functionality.
The company is also looking at how to harvest dual screening between mobile and TV. It is using its anonymised data to identify and target shoppers’ mobiles when they are online and watching TV.
For example, searches for “crochet dress” on ebay.co.uk soared by 37% after Kim Murray was spotted wearing one during the final of the Wimbledon tennis championship in 2013. More recently, searches for “MGB” rose by 48% during the final episode of Top Gear last year compared to the same time slot the week before when the MGB GT was positioned by Richard Hammond as the “most iconic British sports car” – indicating the size of the dual-screening opportunity.
Leveraging this effectively will be a key task for eBay through this year.