E-Bay Combines Search, Social, Personal and Mobile in One App: Visual Search

E-Bay Combines Search, Social, Personal and Mobile in One App: Visual Search

31st January 2012

Imagine this: You are looking for a second hand car and you spot a type of car you like on the streets. What do you do? You might write down the type of the car, go home and look it up. You then might be able to find it on E-Bay.

Or… you take a picture of that car and hit search and find it on E-Bay. Pretty smart, right? Great search engine who did that! But it is not Google or Bing taking the next step in visual search, it is the auction site itself who thought of this idea. Their newest version of the Motors iPhone app does just that.

E-Bay understands the importance of connecting different channels together. Mobile is one of their main focus areas. And with success, they made over 5 billion dollars in sales via mobile last year. Another focus is search. Optimization of their sites off course, but search in every different way.

Combine these two together and add a very popular product to it and you have the new Motors iPhone app.

Visual search is new in the app, but the app has been around for a while and lets you search for vehicles and motorcycles as well as parts you need for your car. And there is more. You can scan the VIN numbers on your vehicles and motorcycles and search for specific items for your specific car.

Understanding the combination

Yes, we are talking about an app here. But why should we feature apps on State of Search? As said, what E-Bay does here is combining different channels and different methods. They understand the need of the customer and are building towards that.

Other changes they made show how well they are looking at that customer getting in the personal and social elements:

– Win more stuff! Receive notifications for when you are outbid, items you are watching are ending and for Best Offer
– Watch live eBay Motors broadcasts from events and races in the Videos section
– Haven’t uploaded a photo of your car to the Garage? Stock images for vehicles now show in the Garage
– Share parts and vehicles you are buying or selling with friends and followers on Twitter (iOS 5 only)

The combination of search, mobile, social and personal is something which most people ‘only’ see at Google. But meanwhile companies like E-Bay are building their own vertical versions of that, maybe even in a better way than Google is doing?


Written By
Bas van den Beld is an award winning Digital Marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the founder of State of Digital and helps companies develop solid marketing strategies.
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