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eBay updates its app with more consumer reviews

November 18, 2016 04:01 PM
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EBay Inc. recently updated its app to make it easier for consumers to search and browse for products. The changes also enable the online marketplace to display more consumer reviews of products. 

This is another step in eBay’s ongoing cataloguing of products— what it calls its structured data initiative—which requires marketplace sellers to standardize the details they share about the products they list on eBay.com. This is intended to provide better search results for eBay shopper. As of the end of the third quarter, Sept. 30, 100 million live eBay pages conform to structured data rules, compared with 15 million at the end of Q2.  

The app update brings these web enhancements to the mobile app. 58% of gross merchandise value sold on eBay involves its app or mobile website in some way, the marketplace says.

“This was a gap in our mobile experience; this is more of a catch up,” Mohan Patt, vice president of product and shopping experiences at eBay, says of the app updates.

EBay began its app updates in April and has made monthly releases since then, Patt says. All the updates were developed in-house by eBay’s product and technology team.

The cataloguing initiative requires eBay sellers to provide more uniform descriptions of their products so eBay can categorize them and allow consumers to easily filter them. The changes also allow eBay to surface the most relevant search results to consumers and suggest related products. For example, if a consumer is looking at a certain type of camera, eBay can now suggest the same brand of camera, but last year’s model which sells for less, making it easier for consumers to easily compare similar products.

The app update also offers more consumer reviews of products. Previously, consumer reviews were buried in the details of the product description and difficult to find, Patt says. EBay knows consumer reviews often influence  a shopper’s purchase decision, and eBay will now display a product’s rating within the search page and the browse page, not just on the product page, giving consumers an easy way to see the ratings.

In addition, eBay over the past six months solicited shoppers via email to leave reviews about products they purchased. Doing so is helping eBay build a critical mass of reviews. EBay also now allows consumers to leave reviews about products they purchased in the app, as it did not offer this feature before either.

The online marketplace pushed to complete the app update before the busy and important  holiday season, Patt says.

Site speed also is a top priority for eBay, especially on mobile devices, as that’s where many consumers interact with eBay for the first time. “Mobile web is a huge source of new users,” Patt says.

In July, eBay built some of its product pages on Google Inc.’s open-source framework called Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, which allows businesses, including retailers, to build lightweight mobile pages that load as fast as possible on smartphones. Many news publications invested in the technology, and eBay was one of the first retail sites to test AMP.

Accelerated mobile pages can load superfast because the HTML code contains restrictions, such as not allowing custom Javascript coding. AMP also uses AMP Cache, which is Google’s content delivery network that validates every page works and doesn’t depend on external resources, such as suggested products powered by an e-commerce technology vendor, according to the Accelerated Mobile Pages project website. A content delivery network is a network of servers that delivers web content to consumers based on their location, the origin of the webpage and the location of the server. The mobile pages are extremely fast and improve customer experience, Patt says.

“We’ll continue to move more and more of our shopping onto AMP,” he says. 

 

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