eBay are getting serious about improving the site design for both their desktop and mobile offerings, so much so that they’ve just hired RJ Pittman, the guy responsible for Apple’s worldwide ecommerce platform for the Apple Online Stores. RJ was responsible for Apple’s design, product management and commerce innovation and will now become Chief Product Officer (CPO) and Senior Vice President at eBay.
RJ will lead eBay’s Product organization and be responsible for creating world-class, end-to-end product experiences reporting directly to Devin Wenig, eBay Marketplaces President.
As head of the department, RJ will oversee all facets of Global Product for eBay Marketplaces. The product organization has up until now reported to eBay Chief Technology Officer Mark Carges, who will continue to lead the Technology team at eBay.
This is a sign that eBay are ready to radically overhaul the look and feel of the marketplace platform. If you look at eBay compared to a year ago they’ve made massive improvements to the look and feel of the site, but in truth it’s still a bit 1990s when compared to the slick Apple websites. It’s no great secret that I’m not an Apple lover, but even I have to admit their design and presentation is superb and if RJ can overhaul eBay to give it the same world class look and feel I’m all in favour.
He’ll have his work cut out though, I’ve heard rumours about how something as simple as changing the colour of the Buy It Now button involves thousands of hours of research and A-B testing as it can have literally millions of dollars worth of impact. Getting something wrong not only impacts eBay’s bottom line but also of course devastate seller’s businesses.
eBay users hate change too and always have done. When eBay launched it had a grey background and so as not to upset site users eBay changed it to white one shade at a time over a 30 day period, hoping no one would notice too drastic a change! That set the tone and site changes are just as controversial today.
What would you like to see RJ change on eBay first? Do you hate the blue buttons? Do you think the menu sucks? What about the search box? Why are eBay categories on the home page in a grey font which turns to a blue font on the search result pages? In fact why blue fonts at all? Isn’t Red, Black and Blue fonts on eBay listing descriptions something you consider to be more Web 1.0 than Web 2.0 and certainly has no place in Web 3.0?
Suggestions for improvements please, let’s get a list together for RJ to start with on his first day at eBay. Let’s get eBay a little less 1990 and Appled into the 22nd century.