December 21, 2011, 1:42 PM

eBay slouches into couch commerce

Tell the eBay iPad app what’s on TV and up pop products on that show.

Lead Photo

The app displays products for sale in the marketplace based on the television program the consumer is watching.

Cheering on a favorite football team on TV and want to buy a jersey to show off allegiance? Consumers using eBay Inc.’s iPad app now have an easier time doing just that. A new feature in the app displays suggested products based on what a consumer is watching on television.

First-time users of the app must configure the Watch with eBay feature by inputting their ZIP code and selecting the television service provider. After that, a consumer taps the Watch with eBay button and enters a program’s title, the channel number, a short description of the show or actor names. For example, if a consumer indicates she is watching the “Ellen” show, the product results include DVDs of the “Ellen” show and products related to the show’s guests that day, such as a movie poster for “Bridesmaids” featuring Melissa McCarthy, an actress who appeared in that popular movie from earlier this year.

Watch with eBay uses keywords related to a show and eBay listings, matching the two to produce the search results, eBay says. A consumer also could eliminate a keyword by tapping the Refine button in the app and deselecting an active keyword. For example, a consumer could deselect an opposing team’s name to remove its merchandise from the results.

Consumers also can sort the results by categories, such as women’s clothing or kitchen and home. EBay accountholders also can sign into their accounts and select an item for their watch list that alerts them when the product is available.

“Watch with eBay allows shoppers to pivot on items and product categories they wouldn’t originally consider,” says Steve Yankovich, vice president of eBay Mobile. A consumer may originally set out to shop for a jersey, but could then discover home and garden items like an outdoor grill bearing his team’s logo. “Consumers watch TV while using their mobile devices as a second screen,” he says. “Watch with eBay was designed to empower this type of shopper with ‘couch commerce’ or shopping from the comfort of their own home.”

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