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What’s under the mobile hood for eBay Motors? Buckle up

May 17, 2011

Ebay's Motors app

To answer the growing use of mobile devices to shop for and purchase cars and parts, eBay has launched a new eBay Motors iPhone application, following on the heels of a dedicated application called eBay Fashion.

The app provides car owners and automobile enthusiasts with a tailored mobile shopping experience where they can bid on or buy rare parts, accessories and cars. It will supplement eBay’s main mobile apps, where motor-related purchases are already popular.

“Car and parts purchases have been strong on eBay Mobile, and steadily growing,” said Steve Yankovich, vice president of mobile at eBay, San Jose. “We identified an opportunity to build an app tailored for car lovers that is designed for browsing as much as bidding.

“The app has a magazine-like look and feel, causing users to launch the app when they don’t have a purchase in mind, instead to view this vast automotive inventory and get inspired for their next purchase,” Mr. Yankovich said.

EBay reports that 90,000 parts and accessories as well as 2,000 cars are purchased via its main eBay Mobile apps per week globally.

“We’ve had car buyers tell us they placed the final bid on a luxury car at a sports bar, stuck on the tarmac at JFK airport or outside on their front porch on a sunny day,” Mr. Yankovich said.

Auto mobile
In addition, the company points to eBay Mobile research that shows the total number of vehicles sold via mobile in the first quarter of 2011 increased more than 160 percent compared to the first quarter of 2010.

The company believes car shopping is an inherently mobile experience.

“EBay Mobile purchases are largely auction format,” Mr. Yankovich said. “Shoppers are on the go and place the final bid on mobile.

“The eBay Mobile automotive category is also largely auction, and therefore a perfect fit for mobile,” he said.

“Cars are inherently mobile, so if you are outside working on your car and remember a part you can buy it on the spot – before you go inside and it slips your mind.”

The eBay Motors iPhone app includes a “My Garage” feature that allows shoppers to scan any Vehicle Identification Number to automatically add car details. Car owners can shop eBay’s motors inventory to find matching parts and accessories for their cars in My Garage.

Users can also create a customized home screen slideshow comprised from eBay Motors listings by inputting keywords, category, models or a price range. Each listing also includes a photo gallery so users can view dozens of seller photos.

My Garage, VIN bar code scanning and customized home screen slideshow are features not available in any other eBay Mobile apps.

Other features include access to vehicle history information with free Experian AutoCheck Vehicle History Reports and a Ask Seller Question option so users can contact the car owner or dealer directly.

The app can be downloaded for free from the Apple iTunes store.

EBay Motors is a marketplace for buying and selling all things automotive. The site offers cars for everyday drivers, as well as collector cars, motorcycles, auto parts and accessories.

In fashion
EBay already offers fashion-savvy consumers the opportunity to shop via a dedicated iPhone app called the eBay Fashion app and other category-specific apps could be on the horizon.

“EBay Mobile is constantly evaluating the best experiences for our users and determining buyers and sellers needs including the possibility of additional category-specific apps,” Mr. Yankovich said.

EBay launched its first application for the iPhone in July 2008 and it is now available in 190 countries.

The online retail marketplace’s mobile gross merchandise volume in 2010 was $2 billion.  EBay expects to generate $4 billion in mobile merchandise volume through mobile commerce in 2011.

“Car lovers often know what they want and the eBay Motors app makes it easy and fun to keep up with their eBay purchases,” Mr. Yankovich said.

Final Take

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