The selling experience on eBay is a well established one, which since the very beginning of eBay allowed millions of people to sell their stuff and make a profit. But it eventually stopped attracting new sellers and failed to retain existing ones. I led the effort to redesign this experience to attract and retain new customers.
As part of a 10-person multidisciplinary team, I focused on the experience and interactions of putting together an efficient listing process that would ensure the seller would make money. I was involved in the entire process from start to finish including research, architecture, sketching, wireframing, and final interface.
Based on a combination of various user research methods and evaluating the current user experience, I put together pieces of the puzzle to determine the problem. We interviewed people who never sold on eBay to understand how they sold their stuff online. In home visits we observed how people used eBay to sell. I also conducted a heuristic evaluation of the selling experience, and reviewed user data to determine potential usability issues and points of friction for our target user.
I led discovery sessions with stakeholders to understand business needs and technology issues. Together we defined the problem and an approach toward the solution. I then created sketches and wireframes, which led to a low-fidelity clickable prototype, which was used in user testing sessions to validate some of our assumptions and general design approach. We went through a number of iterations of the prototype to get feedback on different areas of the experience.
Sketches & wireframes
The focus of the selling tool redesign was to leverage eBay's deep knowledge of products and results of listings over time to make it easier for a seller list an item and successfully make a sale. From the moment a seller tells eBay what they are selling, we would provide all the product specifications, tell them how well it will sell, and recommend how much to sell it for. All a seller would have to do is add photos and a detailed description.
The bloat of the 15 year old tool came with entrenched and obscure business rules that made removing some friction points difficult. In focusing on simiplicity, we had to work with our business partners to remove obscure policies that while provided revenue, contributed to the perception of the selling process as a chore.
Sellers also had difficulty in trusting the recommendations and presets eBay provided without proof based on past history of similarly sold items.
Testing and iterating
To make sure our proposed solution was addressing seller's problems and making them more efficient, I created realistic prototypes which people would use in testing. Regular Sellers appreciated the improved decision-making tools and efficiency in the redesigned listing process because the majority of their time is spent determining the price point, creating a description, and capturing attractive product photos. First-Time users were apprehensive to selling on eBay because they anticipated a significant learning curve, and were not familiar with PayPal, auction selling, eBay’s fees, and eBay’s return policies.
Finalizing the interface
For the user interface, we focused on condensing the steps into logical groups, removing any unnecessary steps that were not required, and only surfacing extended functions for advanced sellers when they needed them.
Through our user tests we learned that price is the primary lever to get things sold. eBay's recommendation needed to be more than just words, so we added a list of similarly sold items over a given recent period to show skeptical sellers that the suggestion for price was grounded in recent marketplace history.
A faster, efficient selling tool
The first version of the new selling tool shipped in early 2017. By simplifying the process, what normally took close to half an hour was now under 8 minutes. The general response to the new tool was positive, especially for those not familiar with the old selling tool. Ultimately we saw completion rates go up, and conversion slightly improve as well.