|Tue Aug 17 2010 09:29:33|
eBay Motors Tests Personalized Shopping Experience
By: Ina Steiner
eBay CEO John Donahoe said recently the company was planning to roll out a vertical shopping experience in the Auto Parts categories. We sat down with the Director of Parts and Accessories for eBay Motors, Famous Rhodes, to get an update on the new features the marketplace has been rolling out this year, including parts compatibility and a new personalization feature called My Vehicles.
Customization and Personalization with My Garage
eBay is beta testing a personalization feature for shoppers of its eBay Motors portal called My Vehicles. Visitors can enter up to four vehicles and the site will then show a customized search result for each of those vehicles.
AuctionBytes: How does My Vehicles work?
Famous Rhodes: Shoppers enter the year, make, model, trim and engine for each vehicle they own. This information, which is saved, helps buyers find parts for those cars faster and triggers eBay to serve up related parts in merchandising.
In addition, every time the shopper then looks at listings for parts that are compatible with his or her vehicle, a "Compatibility" tab appears in the listing located between the "Description" and "Shipment and Payment" tabs.
AuctionBytes: What is the Compatibility tab?
Famous Rhodes: The Compatibility tab appears on every View Item listing where the seller had entered vehicles for that part. If you do not enter a compatible vehicle in search, then the pull downs will be empty and either, a) all vehicles will be shown , or b) there will be a note asking the buyer to enter details about his vehicle if there are 100+ compatible vehicles.
My Vehicles is still in beta testing, and eBay Motors has another initiative, "My Garage," a separate initiative still in development. (AuctionBytes wondered if My Garage would be similar to the My Closet feature eBay rolled out in its mobile app in the fashion category, but Rhodes said Motors is taking a very different approach than the Clothing Shoes & Accessories category on eBay.)
Update on Parts Compatibility (Fitment)
As AuctionBytes previously reported, eBay Motors rolled out a new Parts Compatibility feature, also known as "Fitment." With the Parts Compatibility feature, sellers can create one listing describing a single part and add a complete list of compatible vehicles.
Users had complained they were getting back an overwhelming number of search results that included irrelevant listings. Rhodes said consumers will see more items in the search results, but said there is also more relevancy along with the increase in recall.
AuctionBytes: Why introduce fitment?
Famous Rhodes: At a high level, fitment, an auto-industry label, refers to the process of matching auto parts to different vehicles. Prior to fitment, there had been hidden inventory that shoppers were not finding - and it cost more for sellers, who had to create multiple listings since they entered all compatible vehicles into the title field. The average part is compatible with 32 vehicles. It had required eight listings to show all 32 cars for one part.
AuctionBytes: What's the adoption rate of fitment?
Famous Rhodes: Although we can't release specific percentages since the program is not fully rolled out, seller adoption of fitment has exceeded our expectations by a wide margin. In fact, adoption of fitment is among the highest we've seen for any program on eBay Motors.
AuctionBytes: Is there spamming (similar to keyword spamming) with Fitments?
Famous Rhodes: We don't see spam of fitments - it self-regulates due to the buyer feedback system.
AuctionBytes: Does eBay consider Fitment a success?
Famous Rhodes: As the rollout continues to progress, we're having better than expected adoption on the seller side. We've had quick adoption and hit internal metrics. The number one question sellers received was, "does this part fit my car?" For fitment related items, ASQs (Ask Seller a Question) are over 30% lower than non-fitment related items in the category, based on preliminary data.
AuctionBytes: You've rolled out Fitment in many categories, what's left?
Famous Rhodes: Beyond trying to make life easier for buyers and sellers, Motors' ambitious goal is to catalogue all existing auto parts. Many catalogues exist for matching vehicles with new auto parts, but there's no tangible database of long tail parts, which is a problem fitment on eBay Motors will eventually solve.
The First wave rollout (March) was in Lighting & Lamps; the second wave (April) was Exterior, Air Intake & Fuel Delivery; the fourth wave (June) was Cars & Truck, Vintage Cars & Trucks Parts & Accessories. The final wave (in September) will be Tires and Wheels.
Tires are more challenging - they are a different type of search experience, since specification data is used to match vehicles with the products.
AuctionBytes: Does eBay Motors license data about parts/compatibility from a third-party, and if so, whom?
Famous Rhodes: This data is licensed from a third party company, which powers the web experience for top retail sites.