Auction site eBay showed off a new layout today at the “Future of Shopping” event in New York City. From the look of it, it’s an e-commerce version of Pinterest, with big pictures and customizable feeds.
The images are spread across the homepage, below the fold. Users can customize the results by logging in and “following” a few topics that they either choose from a list or select on their own. Users will also be able to follow other shoppers.
The custom feed below is a sampling of the categories “moleskine notebooks,” “German musical steins,” “phone charger,” “Modcloth,” and “Duchess Greensleeves” (a discontinued china pattern from an English manufacturer). Some of these categories were pre-populated for mysterious reasons by eBay; others were entered manually. We’ll let you guess which is which.
Clicking on an item pulls up a detailed description that also looks very similar to a “pin” on Pinterest, which can then be shared on Pinterest or on other social networks.
The key difference between eBay’s layout and Pinterest’s is that the search bar still turns up product listings in the old format. The Pinterest-style feed is good for ongoing interests, like collections or favorite designers. The browsing-friendly layout is not unreasonable considering that 65 percent of eBay’s gross merchandise volume (GMV) is sold at a fixed price.
But the search bar remains functional for timed auctions and one-time purchases.
“The future of commerce is personal, driven by data,” explained eBay president Devin Wenig in a statement. “Search results and recommendations are no longer enough. Consumers want insight. And they want personal, curated selection that is relevant to them, controlled by them. Consumers want experiences that are not intrusive but inspiring, experiences that don’t dictate but guide and assist, in ways that feel authentic and natural. We want to make moments of inspiration instantly shoppable. This is what eBay is poised to deliver.”
The new layout will take effect in the US over the next 100 days, and also includes a one-page checkout process and a deeper Paypal integration, according to The Next Web.
eBay sellers will now have to pay close attention to the images they post along with their products, making sure that they a.) exist and b.) are of good quality.
In addition to eBay, Pinterest now faces competition from Facebook, which just launched Collections for retailers. But the virtual pinboard has started working with retailers, collaborating with shoe e-tailer Zappos on a tool for “PinPointing,” or recommending, products based on photos posted on Pinterest.