In their never-ending quest to become more than just an auction site, eBay has launched a new feature that is both familiar and unique. It’s called Collections – curated boards of related (or not so much) items culled from a variety of eBay sellers. Unlike eBays traditional listings, the photos are big, bold and. . . (we’re all thinking it, so why not say it) Pinterest-like.
At a glance, Collections are trendy and cool looking. eBay stacked the deck by employing 200 “celebrity” trendsetters to curate the first batch of boards. Sadly, I must not be hip enough because I only recognized two names in the long list eBay included in the press release; Pharrell Williams and Solange Knowles. Alexandra Cousteau is also on the list. I wondered if she was related to the famed man of the sea, so I searched her name on Google and found this at the top of the page:
When you first visit the Collections page, it appears that only the chosen few are allowed to curate. Not so. Any eBay user can add items to their own list with one-ish click of a button. When you click the Add to Collection link, you’re prompted to choose from a board you’ve started or start a new one. You also have to write a sentence or two about the item.
When someone else clicks on your collection, they can expand an item to this:
This is a very interesting page because the text beneath the picture is mine, but everything else belongs to another seller. By choosing this item, I’ve given a fellow seller a potential boost in traffic. From here, the third party can add this to their collection, watch the item or click through to buy. And all of this comes with social media buttons that encourage sharing outside of eBay.
Now I’m sitting here hoping other sellers will include my items in their collections! How can I make that happen?
I can start by following lots of other collection makers. When I do that, their icon shows up on my new profile page in a new section called Followers. (I don’t have any yet. I’m going to cry.)
The new profile pages give users room to write more about themselves, list their interests (which turn into eBay suggestions) and show off both the collections they’ve made and the ones they follow. It’s all very social and circular.
Finally, eBay is featuring the very best collections on the eBay Today page. These collection photos are even larger than the ones on the collection page – too large in my opinion.
For sellers, this has the potential to be a game changer. If a celeb picks up on your item and adds it to his collection and that gets featured on the front page you’re gold. The downside is that most items are one of a kind. Once that item sells, what happens? Do the pictures disappear from the collection page? They must. What good is sending someone to an item that’s not available?
This tool also makes a strong case for specializing on eBay. If you sell a little of everything, people who click through may not stop and shop your other items. But say you specialize in baseball memorabilia. Now, the baseball fan clicks through to see your Mickey Mantle bat and then they stay to shop your more reasonably priced items.
Playing devil’s advocate, I’m not sure Collections are a good fit for eBay. I know they’re trying to be trendy and hip, but right now, the pages feel like they belong to a different site. I hope they stay and I hope they drive traffic to sellers, but I think the feature will slowly fade away after the novelty wears off.
To learn more about eBay’s Collections, visit ebay.com/followitfindit.