eBay Split Screen Coming to an Auction Site Near You!
By Ina Steiner
eBay may have found a solution that will make both auction and fixed-price buyers and sellers happier: a split-screen results page that shows auction listings on one side and fixed-price listings on the other.
While eBay has been showing a prototype of a split-screen search results page to investors for at least a month, AuctionBytes saw the split-screen live on eBay.com on Thursday, likely as part of a test randomly shown to a small number of visitors to the site.
Searches for the terms "McCoy Vase"; "Apple Macbook"; and "Anne Klein shoes" all resulted in the split-screen display of results. On the left side, the auction listings were displayed in order of time ending soonest, while the fixed-price listings on the right side were shown with Best Match as the default sort order.
In the results we saw, listings showed up in both columns if they were auction-format with BIN. A pair of size 12R Mickey Mouse - Bunny boots showed up in a search for Anne Klein boots in both columns. The listing was displayed in the left "auction" column with a current bid price of $19.99, and the same listing was displayed in the right "Buy It Now" column at the BIN price of $29.99. eBay charges sellers an extra fee for using the BIN format.
eBay introduced the fixed-price BIN option to its site in 2000. Eight years later, fixed-price sales comprise 42 percent of total gross sales on the site. As eBay evolves into a more mature marketplace, it often makes policy and feature changes that long-time auction users feel hurt the traditional eBay experience. Many have suggested eBay segregate fixed-price "commodity" listings and auction "collectibles" listings. In fact, eBay's attempt to provide a fixed-price marketplace for new in-season items, eBay Express, has not fared well.
While a split-screen results page is not likely to address all of the concerns sellers have over the changes that have been rolling out since last year (and continue to roll out in 2008), it may be viewed as a positive step - particularly if auctions retain the "time ending soonest" sort default. And right now, eBay could use some positive feedback.
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About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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