eBay wrote a playbook that outlines its plans to move to a product-based shopping experience, which it says will result in a “pleasant and consistent buying experience with improved conversion rate and better search engine optimization both on and off eBay.”
eBay has yet to share the playbook with sellers, though it will likely release information as part of the first of three Seller Updates this year – you can read more in this accompanying EcommerceBytes Blog post.
To get an understanding of what eBay means when it says it’s moving from a listings based experience to a product based experienced, use the Grouped Similar Listings feature, which eBay states is an “early version” of Product-Based search.
eBay explicitly told third-party developers in its playbook, “You can experience an early version of the Product-Based search today by selecting Group Similar Listings at the top of an eBay Search Results Page.”
Here’s how today’s Grouped Listings feature works. You can search for an item (such as iPhone 8) on eBay.com, which brings back pages of product listings. That’s the traditional eBay shopping experience – click on a result, and you’ll see a View Item page – an individual listing from one seller.
But if you click “Group similar listings” at the top of the search results page, it will bring back far fewer results that are clumped into separate products (one might be a silver iPhone 8 with certain characteristics, one might be gold, etc.). Click on one of the results, and you’ll see a Product page.
eBay Product pages are similar to Amazon product pages in that they have stock photos, stock descriptions, product reviews – and most importantly from a seller’s point of view – a Buy It Now box associated with just one seller. The page also highlights other options from which the shopper can choose.
For example, an iPhone 8 Product page on eBay we viewed has a Buy It Now box that shows “Sold by alldayzip (13887) 100.0% Positive feedback.” eBay chose that seller’s listing to display in the Buy Box.
You must click on “Read full description” or “See details” in order to get details of the specific listing. Under the main section of the Product page that includes the Buy Box, you’ll find other options. In this example: Brand new: lowest price (which is the one displayed by default); New (other): lowest price; Pre-owned: lowest price; and Auction: ending soon. It then shows “All listings for this product.”
That means that like Amazon, whoever gets the main Buy Box has a great advantage, but a persistent shopper has the opportunity to view other items if they wish.
Note that eBay uses the product identifiers that sellers provide in their listings to make product matches.
As we report on the EcommerceBytes Blog, eBay will begin its move to a product based shopping experience this year in two phases, according to its official playbook for developers, which outlines “Wave 1” and “Wave 2” along with some key dates sellers should know.
Here’s a table showing a list of products/categories included in Wave 1. You can read more details on the EcommerceBytes Blog.