Browsing returns to the Books category

No primary category set

eBay UK seem to have backed down on the roll out of item specfics as the default search for books. Instead, the category now defaults to a sidebar filled with useful clickable links, covering subject and language, and some of the more popular specific categories such as first edition and signed by the author. The links return results for single item specifics – but as those for “subject” largely match the old subcategories, it feels as though you can browse by category again. Those who want to use item specifics in their search, can click for the “advanced finder” and choose the appropriate attributes.

This is a fantastic example of eBay listening to their users and making site changes appropriately. Though item specifics they can be useful in certain circumstances, by introducing the item finder form as the default search method within huge categories, buyers were pushed towards searching for very specific items. The form completely discourages browsing by category, and all the wonderful discoveries and impulse purchases that go with that. Keeping multiple item specifics’ searches for those who need them, but defaulting to browsing by category encourages buyers to browse, and so spend, more.

Many thanks to Okantfoss for the heads up.

6 Responses

  1. This is such good news. I can’t think of anyone with a good word to say for the dropdown menus. We can only hope that this will now be rolled out site wide so that buyers can once again browse!


  2. Excellent news. Item specifics is no doubt great in some categories but for others it’s a nightmare. The structure of the specifics in my own category are an absolute mess. It’s really heartening to see eBay now adopting a more flexible approach…

  3. It will be interesting to see how this expands out to the rest of the categories. eBay made a poor decision to role up categories in the US in 2004. I can trace the decline in my sales back to March of 2004 when they rolled up categories in the DVD and CD categories.

    Maybe they are starting to apply a little common sense to their decision making.

  4. More good news from eBay. They will be adding the clickable links into audio books next week, as well as children’s books and antiquarian.

  5. Several of our categories have had sales destroyed by item specifics – so much so that depending on the eBay country-site, we no longer list the worst affected on those countries. All we were doing was donating money to eBay and getting no sales in return.
    For the same categories, on sites not using item specifics and sticking with the sub-categories structures, we can not only list faster, but also sell at good conversion rates and prices.

    eBay considers itself a marketing led company, but as any pro-marketeer can tell you – the first rule of marketing is to supply (profitably) what your customer wants.

    Let’s hope this is the start of eBay listening to the paying customer.



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