October 10, 2012, 12:26 PM

eBay overhauls its site

The online marketplace’s new design looks a lot like Pinterest.

Lead Photo

A look at the new format.

EBay Inc. today introduced a redesigned e-commerce site that aims to offer shoppers a more personalized experience. The revamped eBay.com will roll out to all U.S. consumers in the next few weeks and to international shoppers in the next few months.

“Search results and recommendations are no longer enough,” said Devin Wenig, eBay’s president, as he introduced the site’s new look. “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.”

As part of those changes, eBay added a “My feed” section that shows shoppers products it thinks they may like based on their buying and search history, as well as interests that eBay prompts them to share when they first visit ebay.com/feed.

The My feed section looks similar to Pinterest, the burgeoning social network where users collect and show off things they've found around the web. The My feed section features a dynamic image grid similar to that on Pinterest, and it enables a shopper to organize items he likes by clicking a Watching button that adds the item to his Watching list.

EBay also added new elements to consumers’ profiles that let shoppers share their interests with both buyers and sellers.

The online marketplace overhauled its product pages, making them cleaner and adding a large Buy It Now button that, when clicked, takes a shopper to a checkout page pre-populated with his shipping address and PayPal account information. A shopper can then complete his purchase with a single click, similar to the experience on Amazon.com. 

EBay also quietly launched an online marketplace for local deals called eBay Lifestyle Deals in more than a dozen markets, including Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas.

Today's moves dovetail with the recent launches of eBay’s new skinnier, sleeker logo and eBay Now, a mobile shopping app that lets consumers in San Francisco order online and have their purchases delivered the same day. Together the changes constitute the “new eBay,” said Wenig. “These changes and more reflect the new eBay and our evolution as a marketplace that connects the world to the things they need and love—anytime, anywhere,” he said.

The changes should help reestablish eBay as a place consumers turn to discover new products, says Scot Wingo, CEO of e-commerce services provider ChannelAdvisor Corp., which helps retailers sell on such online marketplaces as Amazon and eBay.

"Over the years eBay has worked on the the basics of trust, search and seller quality, but it kind of has lost that serendipitous 'I was on eBay to get X and I found Y!' kind of experience," he says. "Sure we live in a world that is transactional and if you want X, eBay shouldn't get in the way, but there's a whole new crop of e-commerce start-ups like Gilt, Fab, Pinterest and Etsy that have been somewhat taking over that non-transactional experience that eBay used to dominate by surfacing products shoppers didn't realize they needed and driving impulse purchases. eBay looks to be very serious about reclaiming that throne."

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