When the eBay mobile app fails to delight

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eBay Mobile AppIn eBay’s Q1 financial results John Donahoe announced that eBay gained 2.8 million new mobile customers last quarter and that eBay customers using mobile buy twice as much as those on traditional computers.

No Questions, No Returns

That got me thinking about my own experiences with eBay mobile and there are a few things that constantly annoy me. The first is the more important as a buyer, there’s easy no way (or at least I can’t see a way) to return an item or report any problems with an item to the seller at least not on the eBay Android mobile app which I’m using.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to encourage buyers to return items and anything that cuts down on questions is a good thing, (especially the “where’s my item” type questions when it’s simply on it’s way. However there are times when even the best buyer needs to contact a seller and it should be easy. Whilst there’s no easy returns flow it is possible to send the seller a question, but the ability to do so is hidden away (click the “Seller” information tab and you can ask a question from there). It took me five minutes to find the link so I suspect many other buyers struggle too.

No Tracking

The good news for sellers is that if you enter a tracking number into eBay then a “Track Package” link appears on eBay Mobile. The bad news is that it appears to simply link to a Google Search for the tracking number. That’s less than helpful and to be honest if eBay can’t link to Royal Mail and other couriers websites for tracking there’s little point supplying tracking numbers in the first place.

No Repeat Purchases

The other thing that’s missing is the “Buy Another” button. On eBay it’s easy to click and view the listing from My eBay and make a duplicate purchase. On eBay mobile the only option I’m offered is “View more like this”, but that doesn’t always show me the same item from the same seller. It needs to be easy to make a duplicate purchase, not to be offered similar items from other sellers.

No Reports

Another less important feature missing is the “Report” button. On a desktop it’s easy to report infringing items directly from the listing but again on eBay mobile the feature is totally missing.

Who cares anyway?

You may ask why it’s important that the eBay mobile app has these features. The reason is that there’s a whole generation of eBay users growing up who’s only access to the Internet is their smartphone. I know whole families who don’t even have a fixed land line telephone (let alone a laptop or broadband computer) and all of their Internet experience is through their mobile phones.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the eBay mobile app and frequently use it in conjunction with shopping on my laptop. However if eBay are going to look after their new buyers who live exclusively through their smartphones they need to add the basic ability to return an item, track their purchase and preferably make it easy for buyers delighted with their purchase to make repeat purchases.

10 Responses

  1. As a seller I also can’t seem to find a way to set the shop category an item is listed in when I’m selling on the app. Does anyone know if the ability to do this exists somewhere?

  2. Does a pretty good job for most things for a buyer. For the functions that aren’t on the app I try to use the browser if I’m desperate.

    I think it is a lot to expect the app to do everything though and to be fair it is far better than some of the other apps out there. The Amazon and Play apps do a lot less.

  3. The eBay app is a bit of a pain for us at the moment. almost all of our listings are multi-variation (which eBay encouraged us to make full use of – far too many to remove and restart now) but the eBay app is bordering on being incompatible with multi-variation listings.

    every time i get a message from someone struggling with the very basics of how to buy an item (i shouldn’t have to teach people how to use eBay for heavens sake) it turns out its because they’re on the mobile, and the best advice i can give is to ditch it and buy on the pc, if they have a pc available to them.

    almost every day i get a customer asking “whats picture 14?” – if you’re on the mobile you can scroll through images, and they’ll show ‘image 14 of 19’ for example, i’m not even sure it shows them in the same order every time, theres no reference on mobile.

    Yes i could go through every single one of our 3000+ images, and edit numbers onto the photo itself (that probably wouldnt match the numbers eBay put on them) but then when the new seller image guidelines come into effect eBay will remove the images for putting numbers on them. feels like i cant win.

    if you were on the pc this would all be easy and apparent, the app basically encourages needless questions, confusion, and is probably discouraging a lot of buyers from actually committing to the purchase.

    even when shopping myself on the mobile, i always avoid the watered-down, dumbed-down mobile versions of websites – eBay in particular.

    The future is mobile, website providers need to realise that we require fully functioning mobile sites – we use mobile for the convenience, then they take it away again by giving us a half-working website to look at on our mobiles.

  4. Does it let me pay for combined/multiple items?

    I would love to also search within a sellers listings…

  5. I agree with you on the questions front. One thought though … you are accessing eBay on a phone so why not make a single press “call the seller” feature?

  6. The Ebay app does need some additions. Encouraging buyers to read descriptions on it would be a help.
    As a seller it is very useful to be able to quickly edit/cancel an item when out and about. The messaging system is also pretty good.
    Amazon’s app, on the other hand is very poor, I always give up and use their website.


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