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eBay Fields Seller Questions about Mobile Apps

Why does eBay truncate description on the mobile app in such a way that buyers are unaware they are not seeing the entire description?

Why is the “Add to Cart” button on the eBay mobile app hard to find, making it difficult for buyers to get combined shipping when ordering multiple items from the same seller?

Why hasn’t eBay fixed eBay Stores main page so that Google consider sellers’ Store pages to be mobile friendly?

Those were some of the questions asked at a recent live-chat session eBay hosted. Representatives from the team that develops eBay mobile apps were on hand to field the questions.

The answers to some questions were probably not what sellers were hoping for. For instance, in answering the question about truncated descriptions, Jonathan from the Mobile team said they were always working on a balance of how much information to display on the screen versus what to place behind Show More link or button.

“We are working on optimizing how much of the description we can show to the buyers on the first screen,” he said. “There are problems when doing this, as the descriptions are HTML and it is difficult to show the more complex descriptions on the same page as the other details.”

The seller wasn’t buying it, digging into the issue and writing, “The current approach is just getting the buyers upset with the sellers because they get something in the mail they weren’t expecting.”

The question about the “Add to Cart” button being difficult to find using eBay’s mobile app resulted in this response from eBay’s “peggymac15”: “Thanks for sending your feedback. As you know, it’s always a challenge to find the right balance on a small screen. We are working with our design team to improve the experience and make it easier for buyers to find and use the Add to Cart feature. I will pass your feedback along.”

But other comments and suggestions from sellers got a more satisfactory reception from eBay staff. For example, when a seller said they would like the ability to send invoices from the mobile app, peggymac15 said it was on their list of possible improvements. “Is there something that you are looking to support specifically,” she asked. “For example, sending a payment reminder? Combining items? Changing item price or shipping? What’s most critical to your needs?”

The revamped eBay mobile app has been panned by users since its launch in September, something that eBay CEO Devin Wenig addressed in a post-earnings callwith Wall Street analysts last month.

He said the new mobile product marked a shift towards a discovery-based experience for buyers, and he addressed its poor reception. “With the knowledge that we’re making a very substantial change to the ecosystem, and based on our experience when we launched the new iPad app last fall, we expected to see and we did see some disruption following the launch. To date, both the data and the reviews on our new mobile experience are following, what we believe, is a similar path to what we saw after the iPad launch – which was last fall – which was an initial dip followed by a strong recovery. You can expect us to launch a series of incremental releases in response to user feedback over the coming weeks and months. Despite this, the percentage of GMV that closed on mobile still increased to 42% in the quarter, up 1% from last.”

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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 ina@ecommercebytes.com.