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eBay’s app update, reorganisation confirms role of mobile


Kevin Hurst of eBay
Richard Handford

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eBay has released major updates to both its iPhone and iPad apps, another sign of the growing importance that mobile transactions have for the auction site.

The improved apps are designed to ease both the buying and selling of items via mobile devices and, the company says, will play a significant role in its business in 2013.

The growing importance for eBay users of mobile transactions will likely be further apparent at the company’s Q4 financial results next week.

A company reorganisation at the end of 2012 means the mobile unit is now reporting into the main marketplace division rather than standing on its own, reports AllThingsD.

The restructuring is typical of companies where smartphones and tablets are becoming a central part of user experience, says the publication.

Ahead of next week’s financial announcement, the company said “roughly” 1.8 million new customers joined eBay through a mobile device in the first three quarters of 2012. In addition, eBay Mobile currently adds an average of 2.4 million listings per week.

For sellers, the update includes better integration of mobile devices with the desktop.
Users can save drafts of their listings on their smartphones and then finish the process on a PC.

The idea of the update is that smartphones are easier for users uploading photos, where longer item descriptions are better written via a PC.

The iOS apps will also assist sellers in choosing the best category for their item, and offer guidance on pricing and shipping charges.

The reverse process – starting on a desktop and finishing via mobile devices – is also possible.

Kevin Hurst, eBay’s VP of mobile products (pictured), described the mobile selling experience has being “streamlined” by the changes.

Buyers will have access to an improved auto-complete search feature and a shorter checkout experience.

The updated apps will also allow those eBay customers without PayPal accounts to also make purchases via the app, thanks to a new guest checkout feature.

There is also a new, single-screen view to review and confirm payments.

As part of its reorganisation, Hurst, who was formerly VP of product management, took up his current position while the previous incumbent, Steve Yankovich, has been named as VP of innovation and new ventures.

Hurst previously reported to Yankovich but will now report to Dane Glasgow, the vice president in charge of the marketplace division.

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