eBay.com introduces Amazon-style buy box

No primary category set

some changes to the product pages for items listed with pre-filled item information. The biggest change is , featuring one “trusted seller”. eBay say that this item will be selected by Best Match, considering total price (purchase price plus shipping), and that the seller’s search standing must be “raised”. Below this, buyers who scroll down further will see a mixture of fixed price and auction listings.

non-media item page

It’s not quite clear at the moment whether the buy box will remain the exclusive preserve of just one seller, or whether different sellers can appear in it at any one time: initial testing makes me lean towards the former scenario, but eBay haven’t specified exactly how this will work.

Of more concern is that the buy box is not necessarily comparing like with like. I’ve been searching for a camera where the item in the box is a couple of hundred dollars cheaper than the average; this turns out to be because, unlike the normal kit, it comes without a lens. eBay really need to work on refining this system, because buyers are going to assume that the buy box is the “recommended purchase”, and read the listing less closely even than they normally do.

In media categories, items will be sorted by condition: newer items are listed above used ones, and the initial search results page shows a selection of each condition, with a link to “view all like-new items”, etc.

eBay says that the new page layout “makes it faster and easier for buyers to find the book, music, movie or game item they’re looking for from sellers they trust.” Sellers, however, are likely to be less enthusiastic about the changes; the new pages will give buyers very little incentive to move beyond the first page of search results, and that’s not going to be popular with many sellers who are already complaining about plummeting eBay sales.

Currently the new product pages are on eBay.com only, but I’d be very surprised if they don’t roll out across other eBay sites in the next few months.

26 Responses

  1. I am sure there are other successful new shopping sites that would be thrilled to take the sellers off of ebay who are unhappy! In fact, all those sellers have to do is click a button, and all their listings from ebay will transfer! Yep. Sellers can have it easier too!

    I wonder if it ever crossed the minds of the ebay CEO’s that maybe the sellers who are still there, will not care, because they are in the process of leaving anyway? That will REALLY make it easier for buyers to find what they want, they won’t have to look around the site, there won’t be much to comparison shop..lol!

    It might be just as well, maybe ebay will eventually outsource inventory of their own, without the middlemen sellers on the site.I think they are heading in that direction anyway.

  2. Why does Ebay think the market needs two Amazon’s? As badly as Ebay has screwed everything up, you know Amazon is going to win the battle. And why battle anyway? Ebay had a great marketplace all to itself. John Donahoe = Greed. He wants the whole pie.

  3. Hmmm – interesting, not particularly surprising.

    What a shame that ebay hasn’t focussed on aspects that have contributed to its success in the past (including variety, choice and individuality of seller offerings). A poor copy of Amazon does not appeal, with either my seller or my buyer hat on.

    Happily, my reliance on ebay is lessening month by month – I see no incentives here to tempt more of my inventory back onto the site.

  4. This is taking into account feedback that eBay have received from the buyers. This is what the buyers want (as a whole).

    Amazon works well because the buyers like it, use it and keep coming back. eBay are simply trying to create an experience that the buyers have demonstrated they want.

    eBay, as an online auction market place will be all but gone within the next 2 years (IMO).

    eBay do not care that “frillypartystore” or any other random seller doesn’t sell as much, so long as completed sales on the whole are increasing then it is a success. This obviously favours the larger sellers due to higher exposure, best match rankings etc.

    eBay want the larger sellers because on the whole, they sell newer (more expensive) items creating higher and more predictable revenue. This creates stability and increases share prices.

    What eBay have failed to take into account though is that to go with their new direction they need lots of new sellers, sellers who are not focused on “eBay isn’t as good as it used to be” but sellers that are focused on expanding their already succesful business.

    At the end of the day, this is no different to having a BM shop and the local council developing the high st or building a new shopping centre. As a business you have to take these changes and make them work better for you than your competitors.

  5. Meh… the problem I have with this is what Sue mentions. It takes total price into consideration. How exactly does price = trust? In November I saw two high volume, 99.8% positive feedback counterfeit sellers sell about 1/2 the price of the legitimate ones. They would probably be placed right inside that box. From my experience the lower the price the more likely it is to not be described accurately.

  6. This is just another way that ebay is jumping through hoops to give a huge advantage to their new best friends – the diamond power sellers. I am sure that 100% of the time the trusted seller getting top placement will be one of the diamond sellers.. the same ones that got featured on the daily deals during Christmas.

    Did ebay come up with this screenshot to show how the new search product page will look? Funny how the search is for a 10 mega pixel Canon camera and the featured merchant is selling it for $9.99 with free shipping. I bet it ships right from China or Nigeria. While it’s only supposed to be an example shows exactly how it will feature scam sellers, while keeping all of us honest sellers on page 15 of the search.

  7. @ # 8

    Booksemporium sounds like they would be selling some sort of manual or photography guide. I doubt it is the camera and probably just eBay not being able to tell the difference even with pre-filled info.

  8. Amazons catalogue has numerous errors with sellers constantly changing details and product titles. If Amazon can’t keep control of the product catalogue what chance has eBay? Also on Amazon sellers are constantly undercutting each other in order to win the ‘buy box’ pushing the margins down to levels which must be just breaking even or selling at a loss. eBay used to have a USP why try and become a poor imitation of Amazon, it is a battle they have no chance of winning.

  9. Almost certainly another feature designed to attract very high volume sellers. I doubt that eBay have invested sufficiently in their platform to ensure that this works consistently and with meaningful results, (the examples quoted so far don’t exactly inspire confidence).

    eBay continues to be in self-inflicted identity crisis. The offer to both buyers and sellers is becoming increasingly confused. eBay seem keen to move into an area of the market that is already dominated and which their existing technology is not suited to.

    I’m sure Ebay know what they’re doing, they just don’t seem able to explain why.

  10. Amazon succeeds because the buyer pays Amazon and Amazon pays the seller. In the event of a failure of trust, Amazon scraps the seller, refunds the buyer and takes the risk on itself. Ebay plays piggie in the middle, with Paypal. No amount of dicking about with the listings is going to address that issue. Amazon is safer than Ebay.

  11. What’s the criteria for a “raised” search standing, I thought it was standard and lowered.

  12. #13 There’s no “Rasied” search standing in the UK – there is on eBay.com. Currently the qualification for a raised standing is set at 4.7 or higher for all four DSR ratings. (Standard is set at 4.6 for P&P charges DSR, lowered is anything less)

  13. Looking on Amazon today, it is turning in to a jumble sale, the catalogue it full of duplicates as sellers create new ASINs in order to get the ‘Buy Box’. The sooner they enforce a requirement to use an EAN barcode in order to create a new product listing the better.

    I know I could report all the duplicates of products I sell and they would quickly merge them, but it would take ages and I would be competing again 20 or so sellers for the ‘Buy Box’ rather than two or three.

    It is also becoming full of eBay sellers who must have listened to all the sellers on eBay discussion boards saying how great Amazon is. There are so many sellers who obviously can’t calculate the fees; forgetting commission is charged on postage because they are clearly selling at a loss. The margins on eBay in many cases are now better than Amazon.

    The ‘customer shopping experience’ is in decline on Amazon in my opinion.

  14. I have to say, I’m all for this.

    I’m 1st on best match on most of my lines and with DSR’s on 4.9/5.0 on everything I should qualify if its brought in to the UK.

    Even better on the lines I’m not cheapest then it will direct the people that just look at price (ie not noticing its a return or missing half the kit). will be directed to my competitors so they can take the negs.

    Go ebay!

  15. I have been using Ebay for a good number of years, both as a seller and a buyer and it is turning into a place I don’t (want to) visit anymore.

    What used to be great was the fact that you could pick up a bargain from somebody selling something that was only available on Ebay. Nowhere else could you get such a diverse selection of tat, but tat that people wanted.

    However, these days, the obscure items that people used to sell are now sitting in their cupboards because of the hassle that is the “New Experience”.

    Quite frankly, they should split Ebay in half, one as it was upto about 2 to 3 years ago and a new version for their intended Amazon like attempt.

    Then when the new wing fails, the other will keep it going.

  16. I have something that every Ebayer should know. Your shipping instructions do not count. You can buy and even though the shipping instructions say you should insure and you take the chance if you don’t Kind of leads you to believe that you have no say if the item is damaged and you didn’t take out insurance. NOT THE CASE!! You receive your item, its broke, the seller says sorry you didn’t insure and you think its all said and done with? NOT EVEN!! first of all the buyer sends you bad feedback ( which shouldn’t be allowed ) and then they contact Pay Pal and they they receive their money back–and since it happened with 2 about the same time. They even took me off for 30 days for being in the lower 1% of selling. I am so mad I could eat my shoes!! Talk about unfair, I just want everyone to know this in case it happens to them.. Thanks for reading

  17. @ # 19

    It is generally a bad idea to tell someone who determines whether you get to stay on eBay that it is their responsibility even when they’ve agreed to that in the first place. It’s like saying “I told you so”. Don’t expect a positive response in return.

  18. Jolanda – a site which can’t even keep its categories properly sorted isn’t going to pan out in the long run.

    There are some categories which I have a good hold on and this looks like it will benefit me, but until I get to see it in action I’m going to reserve judgement.

    Connie – if that is your attitude then there is one fewer bad seller on eBay. IMHO that’s a good thing as it makes life easier for the rest of us.

  19. what is happening to eBay? nearly March and not a sniff of a reduced or even free listing day. I know times are hard but come on we have all come to expect a monthly tat for all.

  20. Let’s just call it what it is. It is eBay trying to boost their ad commerce program by putting sellers that are enrolled in ad commerce in other sellers listings so eBay can make more money.I wonder how it would go over if a company rented a store front at a mall and then the mall management set up one of their competetors in the same store. I bet their would be a lawsuit in a hurry. If a seller is renting the space for their listing there should not be anything to lead the buyer off the listing page before the sale is done.
    eBay is just showing how they still have room to screw up and further alienate their sellers. Meanwhile I hear Amazon is growing quickly even in this down economy.




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