eBay welcomed November with a new look—the first in nearly four years—and a way for buyers to split the cost of buying gifts with friends and family.
Both features are designed to make the site more appealing to buyers. The new home page design comes just in time for the holidays. It offers shoppers a better buying experience, according to eBay, by giving them a list of their recent searches, current site trends, hot gadgets and a counter at the top of the screen that reminds them how many shopping days are left until Christmas.
The redesign also includes machine-learned enhancements to search, which is expected to make it easier for shoppers find the right items. Users will also notice improved catalog functionality, notes Hugh Williams, eBay's vice president of Search Engineering.
"It has a great look and feel," he says. "It's more personalized. For example, you can sift through searches you recently did, and explore hot, trending products."
We are defining the concept of group gifting online by leveraging deep integration with eBay, PayPal and Facebook
'Share the love'
And if visitors see an item they'd like to give someone else but worry it's out of their budget, now they can split the cost with friends and family by using the eBay Group Gifts feature, which also launched this week.
This allows shoppers to "share the love and the expense" by contacting friends or family members via Facebook or e-mail to ask them to chip in for the item. Those who want to contribute can do so via PayPal or credit or debit card. When contributors have collected enough money for the item, the initial buyer can then purchase the item and have it shipped to the intended recipient.
If a listing ends before shoppers can gather enough money for the gift, eBay will show users similar items they can still buy, or buyers can refund money to their contributors.
"eBay Group Gifts was designed to address a real-world need for people who want to join together to give a bigger and better gift for someone they care about," says Amit Menipaz, who led the project. "Through this innovative application, we are defining the concept of group gifting online by leveraging deep integration with eBay, PayPal and Facebook to provide a simple and friendly solution that addresses every stage of the process, from gift selection and collecting money to inviting friends and physically delivering the gift on behalf of the group."
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.