|Sun Feb 27 2011 16:56:53|
eBay Adds New Features to Search with Help of Bing's Burina
By: Ina Steiner
eBay is testing new search-engine features thanks to Natalia Burina, former Program Manager of Microsoft's Bing search engine. Now Senior Product Manager at eBay, Burina is working on Auto-complete features that help send shoppers to special landing pages on eBay - in effect, finding new real estate in search.
Many search engines use auto-complete to suggest queries after users start typing in the search box. eBay calls this feature "eBay suggestions." (eBay generates Auto-complete suggestions by looking at the history of popular user queries and demand over a period of several weeks.) On Friday, AuctionBytes broke the news of a new feature eBay added to its search engine that uses its Catalog to suggest "popular products" underneath search suggestions - displaying thumbnail images to accompany the links.
We're now seeing another new feature: links to special landing pages that display underneath the auto-complete "suggestions."
When typing "sneakers" into eBay's search engine, the regular suggested searches appear, such as "sneakers nike," along with the new "Popular products" feature that links to eBay Product Pages. And now, there is also a link that sends shoppers to eBay's Fashion landing page for men's shoes - next to a graphic of a pair of shoes, it says "NEW! Shop men's shoes."
Clicking on the link for "Shop men's shoes" brings shoppers to one of the special landing pages eBay created in the Fashion category last year that offer tailored shopping experiences - other redesigned landing pages include Women's Clothing, Women's Handbags, Women's Shoes and Men's Clothing.
By figuring out how to create new real estate in search, eBay can use its catalog to point to Product Pages and send shoppers to enhanced category landing pages. But as noted in Friday's story, eBay is limited in the product pages it can serve up (mostly in media and gadget categories), and has only launched tailored shopping landing pages in Fashion and Motors. eBay faces the same old problem of trying to put an enhanced user experience on top of its legacy infrastructure.
It's important to note that no one else seems to be running such experiments in Auto-complete - the same search for sneakers on Amazon.com, Bing, Google Shopping and several retail websites show only the standard auto-complete suggestions. But eBay may be giving them ideas!