So it definitely grabbed my attention when I read that eBay was doing a very similar thing. Even better, Fast Company went behind the scenes with eBay to see what they did design-wise and (more importantly) why they did it.
Clearly, eBay was in serious need of a more modern, photo-driven look — simply for the purpose of looking cool and relevant on mobile devices. Obviously, that’s hugely important, but it’s really just the bare minimum. And launching a redesign just to meet baseline expectations is a pretty sorry way to allocate resources.
Fortunately, eBay has bigger plans that that. The formerly dominant online auction site wants to become the kitschy, social shopping hub that Pinterest could be, but hasn’t become quite yet.
Take a look at eBay’s “Feed” feature. This is where users can view and “curate” product images in a very Pinterest-ish layout.
Oddly enough, eBay didn’t opt for a fully social functionality. Instead, they partnered with Svpply, a very hip retail curation site that relies on super savvy taste-makers to upload cool photos. eBay will allow users to subscribe to certain feed categories and share what they find… but not to “pin” or upload photos to the feed.
I’m not sure why they chose this route… instead of allowing users to pin product photos from within eBay? To me, that seems like it would be the ultimate in social shopping.
What eBay opted to go with instead is more of a product recommendation engine, which is cool but not quite what I was hoping for. What do you think? Will the redesign give eBay the boost it needs to compete with Amazon?