Case Study: Bringing UX/UI to eBay Sellers

Items for sale on eBay are not known for their attention to design and extensive thought put into what info a shopper needs, in what way, in what order. In fact, many eBay items are plain black on plain white with little or no design. Sometimes, someone’s idea of design is to use purple Comic Sans, all centered, and lots of capital letters.

In April 2011, an eBay staffer I heard speak at an event explained a problem they were finding around the site. Called “pogosticking,” this was when shoppers would go from search results into an individual item, stay on average 2 seconds or fewer, and go back to search results… only to pick another item, and do the same thing again. He claimed they weren’t sure why people were doing that or how to fix it.

This is a great example of a UX challenge. Not only do you need to cater to human behaviour, but in this case, you want to change it. You want shoppers to hit that page, not hit the back button, stay, scroll, read, fall in love with the item and seller, and buy it.

Debbie invented eBay design and consulting when she brought principles of UX/UI to eBay listings back in 2001. Her local camera store had been a website client since 1995, and asked if selling on eBay might be right for them. Sure! Debbie created an entire plan for an eBay business. She worked with all of his staff, found software for listing to eBay, trained the mail order team to deal with eBay orders, wrote the eBay About Me page, and designed how his listings would look. In his first year of selling on eBay, he went from zero to selling over $1 million per month. This seller, CametaAuctions (eBay ID), still uses a slight variation of the template Debbie put together in 2001.

With people spending a fraction of a second on a page, the pain point is how to keep people there, get them to scroll, and get them to read the most important messages. Part of the solution is designing more than you might expect on a website. Debbie’s web shop designs eBay item templates from top to bottom with flow, a theme, a story, a personality, or a mood that keeps you interested and makes you want to keep scrolling. These help eBay sellers stand out from competition, and be more anchored in the shopper’s memory. These templates also edit, reorganise, and reorder the seller’s policies so that they punch shoppers in the face with what they need to know in the order in which it makes or breaks a sale.

Selling on eBay is more complicated than ever. So when As Was, Debbie’s web shop, can consistently create better user experiences, leading to happier buyers, more sales, and fewer pre-sales questions, you have something really special. The average As Was client spends only a few thousand dollars, but sees an immediate increase in sales. Many clients reported business doubling or tripling, and it’s all thanks to Debbie’s UX/UI approach.

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