October 20, 2003, 12:00 AM

eBay launches alternate home page for newcomers

After testing several new versions of its home page that would appeal more to consumers unfamiliar with how eBay.com operates, eBay Inc. launched one that presents a three-step approach to educating users on how to shop on the site.

After testing several new versions of its home page over the past year that would appeal more to consumers unfamiliar with how eBay.com operates, eBay Inc. has launched one that presents a three-step approach to educating users on how to shop on the site.

The new "light" version of the home page, developed in-house, appears to unregistered users who enter the URL www.ebay.com. The page emphasizes that eBay is a place to shop for new branded products as well as used products and collectibles. "Buying new items, brand names, and collectibles on eBay is simple. Here`s how it works," says a message across the top of the page.

Directly underneath that message are sections labeled with the numbers 1, 2 and 3 to show a 3-step process of finding what a consumer wants, processing a purchase and making a payment. The site also includes a link at the top for registering as a user.

"During our testing period, the 1-2-3 approach with the home page performed best," a spokeswoman says. "Educating new users by breaking it down into three easy-to-digest steps seems to work." She adds that it’s too soon to show the results of the new page on customer activity, but that eBay’s own research had indicated that many visitors needed additional information about how eBay.com operates before they would click into the site and make purchases.

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