New eBay product pages: the best product pages ever?


I’m not an avid user of eBay, and I don’t follow closely the design changes brought on the eBay product. However, an in-depth series of articles by eBay Strategy about what eBay calls its “new product shopping experience” got me interested. Basically, this new experience is about product pages at this stage, and I was really impressed by those. eBay Strategy rightfully pointed out some bad/ugly points in the implementation, especially regarding the data served through those product pages; I encourage you to refer to eBay Strategy to get more details. In this article, I will focus on some design choices that make me think those pages can potentially be the best product pages ever (yes, strong statement!).

  • Clean layout, lots of white spaces, still lot of content on those product pages (price trends, product description, reviews, “you might also like”, “people who viewed this product also viewed these”…). It makes the Amazon product pages look really cluttered!
  • Whatever the categories, the product pages look the same, but feel slightly different thanks to a lot of customization per category. I.E: in MP3 Players, the product is described in a “Product description” module. In DVDs, this module is named “Movie synopsis”. I.E: on Apple IPod Nano 5th generation page, you get a “Other generations” module, as well as a “Buy related accessories” module…
  • See the “Apple Ipod Nano 5th gen” page. You can decide to refine by size or color if you want (with AJAXified experience to update photos and listings based on your selection). That means the product page can represent several variations for the same product, which is a great improvement over the static notion of products most CSEs currently implement (see this previous article for in-depth discussion on this topic).
  • Also, the notion of product variations change from one category to another: when the Ipod Nano page shows a visual representation of sizes and colors available, the DVD page for “Back to the future” movie sports a drop-down menu to list the Blu-Ray version and the different DVD versions.

Why do I believe eBay may have released the best product pages ever? Because they have acknowledged that the way we shop products is different from one category to another, and they have slightly customized those product pages on category basis. They are leveraging product data in a way that truly makes sense to the customer.

For sure, the experience offered through these pages is heavily reliant on the accuracy of product listings, which may be questionable at this point (see the article from eBay Strategy). Also, those new pages are currently available on a limited set of categories (MP3 Players, GPS units and DVDs). It will be interesting to look at those pages in a couple of months once the bug fixing will be done and they will be rolled out in more categories.

The Apple iPod example:

Product page at eBay (Oct'10)

The "Back to the future" DVD example:

Product page at eBay (Oct'10)