The eBay Selling tool enables anyone to sell an item on eBay. Over 20-years old, it had evolved into a complicated and slow tool, too difﬁcult for both experienced and new sellers to publish a listing that would result in a successful sale.
It’s (too) complicated
In 1995, eBay started when the founder created a listing for his broken laser pointer. Since then, the eBay marketplace evolved, and the selling experience that powered it had grown into a robust tool for empowering consumers to sell their items online. By 2015, 25 million sellers were using the selling tool.
For a healthy marketplace it was necessary to grow the community of sellers, but new users were not selling on eBay. One major reason for this was that the listing process had become too complicated: it took an average time of over 25 minutes for a new user to complete a listing, and 80% of new users would give up and abandon the process. The remaining 20% that added their item often created a low-quality listing, which resulted in no sale.
The Challenge: Make it easier
Our goal for the project was to create a new selling experience that new users would not only adopt, but continue to use. By providing an experience that was not only simple to list, but would likely result in a successful sale. A more efficient tool would allow users to list more items, and new users would return knowing their efforts would likely result in profit.
Our high level goals were to:
1. Make the experience fast and easy
2. Enable sellers to create listings of high quality for best chance of conversion
3. Align the experience across platforms
I led the design of the selling experience between October 2015 and November 2016 and collaborated with three other designers on the Home screen, Shipping and Photo features.
In addition, I worked alongside a Researcher, Prototyper, Content Strategist and 6 Product Managers.
I led several work sessions with our design team and stakeholders. Together, we generated ideas, issues and thoughts on how to address the problems. I also facilitated the discussion for prioritization: from this large list of ideas we reduced it down to a smaller group of ideas were most important.
Over several of these work sessions we looked at each step in the process, concentrating on ease of use and guiding new users. Some early insights:
Too many steps
How can we get to the key required information that a seller must provide
Reduce cognitive load
How can we help sellers take decisive steps in the hardest parts of the process, like price and shipping
Is it possible to create an effortless experience and ensure that a listing is of high quality?
I created wireframes to quickly explore multiple ways to simplify the interface and get sellers through the listing process as fast as possible. I also developed multiple concepts around the concept of guidance to provide sellers with recommendation information that would help them make informed decisions.
Testing & Iterating
I then built interactive prototypes, which would be shown to both new and current users to test our ideas on making the tool easier. We wanted to know if the guidance was obvious; were the recommendations easy to understand and accept? Would users readily accept the default recommendations, or would they reject them? After each round of testing I made changes to the design.
A foundation for a new generation of Selling
The new end-to-end experience established a new era for selling on eBay with its key advantages:
Less Time to List
Data science plays a primary role in the speed of our new experience. With 20+ years of Marketplace data, we can provide real-time recommendations and guidance to sellers.
Low Barrier for Entry
We redesigned entry-points to selling via landing page and the pre-listing process. Leveraging eBay’s vast catalog of products, we can easily identify an item a seller attempts to list on eBay’s Marketplace. This data also powers the UI in providing real-time guidance and recommendations.
As a seller goes through the listing process, helpful assistance is provided around photos, details, descriptions, market-range, shipping services, and fees.
Recommended Pricing and Shipping
To increase adoption of the most difficult steps of listing, we provided real-time data insights to aid sellers in determining the best price for their item, and the most appropriate shipping method for their region.
The experience was tailored to specific user segments. We also introduced dynamic features that adapt to seller needs as they mature. As a result, critical blockers preventing users from completing a listing were eliminated.
Enhanced Photos Interface
Effective improvements such as Drag-and-drop functionality, quick editing features, and inline guidance made adding photos to a listing much more efficient.
At the end of 2016 we rolled a slow-ramp of our V1 product to the US market. Throughout 2017 we focused on increasing completion and conversion metrics, geo-expansion to our top markets, and rolling our learnings into our native apps.
Throughout 2017 the team stress-tested the product. We focused heavily on driving the customer experience forward with a simplification and reductionist approach. Multiple trips overseas to our top markets allowed fine-tuning to distinct geographic areas. Bi-weekly iterative research sessions were conducted throughout design and development to assure usability issues were addressed, in addition to internal testing and slow ramps based on customer feedback, as well as metrics on completion and conversion.
Average time to list was reduced from over 25 minutes to around 8 minutes.
Completion rate (successful sales) by new users increased by 4% in the first 9 months.
In its first 9 months, the new selling experience generated 9 billion dollars in gross revenue.