The redesign, dubbed “eBay Today”, launches today (7 March) and allows customers to personalise their homepage with “collections”, handpicked lists of items created by eBay editors, brands or users. Visitors will be able to find, follow and share collections, as well as buy straight from them if the item is available as a “Buy It Now” product on the eBay website.
Speaking to Marketing Week, Calcott says the revamp aims to boost engagement. The site will feature different collections every day showing what is new and trending on eBay and aims to shift the emphasis at eBay from mission shopping, where customers know what they want, to people using it as a fun and engaging way of browsing and finding new products.
“Lots of customers come to eBay and are very clear on what they want to buy. This is a different way. If you are not sure what dress you want to wear you can go to collections and flip through like a magazine to get ideas. The beauty of this is that once you’ve seen it you can buy it,” says Calcott.
The redesign taps into a growing trend for a closer link between ecommerce and content. Marks & Spencer recently revamped its website to bring content to the fore and offer “new ideas and inspiration” to visitors, while online retailer Net A Porter has launched a print magazine that allows customers to scan and buy from within its pages.
The new-look eBay homepage rolled out in the US at the end of last year and Calcott claims it has seen a “fantastic response”. While she was unable to provide figures for its impact on business performance, she does say that US users have create more than 1 million collections which she claims is a good indicator that people get and like the redesign.
In the UK it will roll out on initially on desktop and tablet, with a version for mobile to follow later in the year. Customers will be able to share whole collections or individual items with their friends via email or social networks.
EBay is also in discussions with high street retailers to involve them in the plans. Calcott says the firm is talks with Debenhams about a collections takeover and it has had interest from others including House of Fraser, Argos and BMW.
She says the marketing strategy with the large retailers will revolve around big events such as Easter with a showcase of collections that retailers can get involved in.
There will also be a strong celebrity focus, with the new site launching with collections from Dannii Minogue, Radio 1 DJ Reggie Yates and “Dragon” Kelly Hoppen. Calcott describes all the celebrities as “avid eBay shoppers” that represent the diversity of the site’s 18 million UK customers.
EBay will support the website relaunch with an online marketing campaign that will showcase each of the celebrity curators across its website, email communications and social media accounts. The firm is also launching a microsite to walk customers through how to create and follow collections.