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EBay Collections continues to grow – but why no mobile yet?By
EBay has just expanded its Collections feature to Britain and Germany, but the online giant has yet to carry the feature over to its mobile site, missing out on a key medium for social engagement.
EBay introduced the Collections feature to its United States site this past October to let consumers create collections of products and view others’ collections as well, similar to what Pinterest offers. The recent expansion to Britain and Germany shows that eBay is pushing forward with this social integration, but it remains to be seen whether or not it can compete with the already-established Pinterest, especially without a mobile version of the feature.
“EBay is not too late, but rather than beat Pinterest, they should consider ways to differentiate that experience with their collections and images,” said Jay Hawkinson, senior vice president of emerging products for SIM Partners, Chicago. “Pinterest is doing a lot of things right, but there is room in the social curation space for eBay and others to make a run at it.
“Having a solid social strategy will be important ongoing as mobile and social continue to collide,” he said. “Leveraging social curation and collections can further maintain eBay’s brand as more users are embracing this channel. Social is very critical going forward.
“Collections is an enhanced feature with social intent that should be accessed via mobile to leverage users on the go and second screen activity. Definitely a missed opportunity.”
Mr. Hawkinson is not affiliated with eBay. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.
EBay could not meet press deadline.
Social media has become a key factor for consumers’ shopping experiences, be it through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. More brands are catching on to this trend and are either tapping into these already existent platforms or creating their own.
“Because social media is already driving users towards that experience if brands don’t step up then someone else will,” Mr. Hawkinson said. “Brands need to be relevant and adapt to their customer’s behavior, which is tied directly to social. It’s about staying in the game and in front on the users that matter.
“Even with deals and offers available via the Foursquares and Pinterests, social shopping is getting traction,” he said. “It definitely will grow this year as more brands figure it out.”
Mr. Hawkinson pointed to Nordstrom as one brand who is doing a good job at adding social to the shopping experience. Last year, Nordstrom began arranging its displays based on Pinterest activity.
Amazon has also been making a big play at social with “Amazon Collections,” its own version of a Pinterest-like social community (see story).
EBay is now taking a stab at paving its own social shopping experience. EBay Collections lets consumers group products together for their own collections as well as view other trendsetters’ collections.
Consumers can follow collections, curators, eBay members, interests, sellers and eBay stores that inspire them. They can also create a profile page to share information about themselves, the collections they have created, and the interests, collections and people they follow.
After starting the new feature with the U.S. site, eBay has now added it to the British and German site as well. The feature shares a similar layout with Pinterest and Amazon Collections, indicating that eBay is trying to compete in this increasingly crowded space.
However, eBay has yet to integrate the Collections feature on any of its mobile sites, pointing to a missed opportunity at reaching on-the-go consumers—prime targets for social engagement. Consumers can access the desktop version of www.ebay.com/cln, but it is definitely not mobile-friendly.
This past November, eBay also added Pinterest integration to its app, showing that it is not trying to completely rid itself of the platform (see story).
Mack McKelvey, managing partner and CEO of SalientMG, Maryland, believes that eBay is not too late to the social game.
Ms. McKelvey is not affiliated with eBay. She commented based on her expertise on the subject.
“They have a unique audience of consumers that often come to the site with the intention of purchasing something, yet unlike an Amazon customer who usually knows exactly what they want, they may not know what intrigues them until they browse for a bit,” Ms. McKelvey said. “If eBay can use social elements to help people build wish lists and narrow in on specific items to buy, that will be a valuable tool for them.
“I think social is critical to almost everyone going forward. However, using social does not just mean having a corporate Twitter account,” she said. “This is a good example of how social activity and social data can be used to drive larger initiatives.
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York
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