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EBay draws inspiration from Pinterest for iPad commerce app

EBay has revamped its iPad application with a photo-heavy design and features similar to social media site Pinterest to bolster sales and dip its toes into product discovery.

EBay is attempting to differentiate itself from large conglomerates such as Amazon by encouraging users to browse on the app for purchase ideas and interact with its large product catalog. With sales declining in recent years, eBay hopes that acting as a destination for inspiration will fuel its future in the mcommerce industry and drive revenue, especially ahead of the holidays.

“Users are looking for well-designed and simple to navigate apps,” said Mark Ghermezian, co-founder and CEO of Appboy, New York. “The photo-heavy layout will likely entice them to continue browsing and make additional purchases.

“Mcommerce apps should place an importance on showcasing merchandise, giving shoppers the ability to view products similar to the way they would in-store.”

Consumer rediscovery
EBay’s app will enable customers to rediscover the plethora of products and categories that the ecommerce site offers. The app features larger photos arranged in a similar grid-style as Pinterest’s images and adds a curated categories feature.

Recently browsed or watched items will be frequently displayed on the homepage or in a designated holiday gifts section. The app will take into account previous purchases and recent searches to offer recommended items that will populated on the front page.

The app functions as an extension of bricks-and-mortar shopping by enabling users to look at large images and browse similar products so that they feel assured in the item they are purchasing. Tablets are also a preferred method of browsing by many consumers, which may prompt consumers to gain seeds of inspiration for future gift ideas from the app and make a purchase later, either on mobile or on a desktop.

Guests can zoom in on and pinch the high resolution photos for further inspection, as the ecommerce site will be providing on-boarding to encourage sellers to upload cleaner, more buyer-friendly images of products.

Although the app offers an interface similar to Pinterest’s, it offers a purchasing component that the social media site does not have.

“The challenge for eBay’s shopping app will be to replace or compete with well-entrenched existing sources of product browsing,” said Daniel Meehan, CEO and Founder of PadSquad, New York. “Consumers are comfortable finding and browsing products using destinations like Pinterest, in vertical apps and Web sites such as Houzz, CNET, and simply browsing via Web searches.

“An advantage eBay does have is there existing installed customer base, so migrating those current customers to the new shopping app will most certainly be part of their strategy.”

Simplified features
Users can swipe images left or right to access more in-app experiences, including Followed Interests and Daily Deals. The “Today” home screen aims to make the customer shopping experience as interactive as possible, with plenty of swipe-to-explore features.

The simplified checkout process will be a bonus for customers looking to purchase on tablet, especially as they are hit with inspiration for holiday gift ideas for loved ones.

Sellers will be able to benefit from the image-friendly layout, as eBay aims to make the items as enticing as possible. They can also use apps such as SnapPost to quickly snap an image of an item and upload it to the eBay app for sale.

Ultimately, the ecommerce company plans to leverage the iPad app as a way of linking the physical shopping world with the digital. Similar features for the Android platform are planned for 2015.

“Pinterest has been very successful in engaging and retaining users solely focused on browsing visuals and products,” Mr. Ghermezian said. “While eBay is following in Pinterest’s footsteps from a design approach, the app still has a strong focus on commerce.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York