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EBay wagers on multiscreen shopping with universal app update

EBay is marrying up the iPhone and iPad experiences of its fashion and motors applications to address how consumers increasingly shop across multiple devices.

The app update affects the eBay Fashion and eBay Motors iOS apps and is meant to tap into the specific features of each device while also creating a unified mobile shopping experience. EBay also reports that each app has generated more than one million downloads.

“We invested a great deal of time and energy into making the eBay Motors and Fashion apps universal for two primary reasons,” said Steve Yankovich, vice president of innovation and new ventures at eBay, San Jose, CA.

“First, while it takes more time to develop universal apps, you essentially get two apps in one,” he said. “It’s more work for our team upfront, but it’s not as much work as creating two separate apps.

“Secondly, we know tablets are one of our most important screens for shopping, and we’re seeing larger spends on the iPad.”

Multiscreen browsing
The two eBay apps have been optimized for Apple’s regular iPad and iPad mini.

The apps are built to tap into consumers’ multiscreen behaviors. They resemble a magazine-browsing experience to address how consumers spend more time on their tablets at night.

According to eBay, the fashion and motors apps are two of the company’s mobile efforts that let the brand test different features compared to its flagship app.

The fashion and motor apps are also targeted towards consumers that are not looking to make an instant purchase and are instead looking for shopping inspiration.

Both apps now include universal download. When consumers download either the motors or fashion app from their iPhone devices, it is also automatically downloaded to their iPads via an iTunes account.

The experience between the iPhone and iPad versions of the apps is similar, but the experience can be extended slightly the tablet.

For example, in the eBay Motors app, all of the content is the same between the iPad and iPhone versions, but the iPad version has more real estate to expand additional information.

An updated home screen on the eBay Motors app includes a search bar that is stretched across the screen and lets consumers search for keywords and find particular vehicles and parts. Searches can also be filtered by car make, model and year.

EBay’s Fashion iPhone app includes a color swatch feature that lets consumers snap a picture of an item to find similar products on eBay. Although this feature is not available on this launch of the iPad app, it is planned to be rolled out in the next update.

Additionally, a section at the bottom of the apps pulls in eBay videos, blogs and community information.

Images have also been updated on the eBay Motors and Fashion apps.

On specific item pages within the Motors app, the images have been formatted to fit across the screen and let consumers swipe through while the detail information remains at the bottom of the page.

On the Fashion app, the important details of a product are pulled higher up on the page, and the bid and buy buttons have also been made more prominent.

The new fashion app

Multiscreen shopping
EBay has been making its mark in multiscreen shopping for a while with different app launches and updates.

The company predicts it will process $20 billion in mobile commerce and an additional $20 billion in mobile payments this year.

Most recently, eBay revamped its eBay Now iPhone app and announced plans to roll out an Android version of the app (see story).

Last year, the company reported that its app had been downloaded 100 million times (see story).

What is interesting about eBay’s app update is the unifying concept for a similar user experience across smartphone and tablet devices.

“This was our opportunity to get two verticals in front of that audience quickly,” Mr. Yankovich said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York