eBay's Australian mobile team shared some interesting figures with us recently, prompting us to wonder how our readers use the service, if at all.
According to the company's stats, Australia is the fastest-growing region for mobile sales, contributing to a massive US$5 billion in global sales. But more interesting than how much Aussies use eBay is how and when they choose to use it.
If you compare mobile sales to those made on a desktop computer, the PCs are nearly always ahead, except in a few key instances each week, when mobile sales surge ahead:
Monday and Thursday — lunchtime
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday — 8pm to 11pm
Saturday and Sunday — midnight to 4am
eBay should be considering a kebab-delivery service, if it hasn't already.
To make these mobile purchases, Aussies turn, most often, to an iPhone, accounting for 75 per cent of the traffic. iPad and Android users follow, then Windows Phone, BlackBerry and customers coming through the mobile web. The top three Australian suburbs for eBay mobile sales traverse the east coast, with Queensland's East Mackay in third, Sydney's Liverpool in second and Werribee in Victoria taking the top spot. These suburbs may also pass for the country's best dressed, based on the top shopping categories shared on eBay.
This information is shared on the back of eBay's recent iPad app update, which completely refreshed the user experience on the large screen device. One of the focus areas for this update was in improving the "lean-back" experience, which is different from the faster and focused interaction on the smaller iPhone.
"With an iPhone, the experience is very transactional, so you need a very focused and fast experience," said Tom Butler, eBay Australia's group product manager for mobile. "iPad is a lean-back experience ... you're absorbed in your environment, you might be doing several things at once. And what you need in that situation is a very different UI."
This new iPad UI lends itself more to browsing. Categories of products can be sifted through with a quick swiping gesture and search terms can be used to create large grids of prospective purchases. When you click on an item, a "more like this" option appears on the right-side of the screen, urging you to further browse the active auctions.
Creating sales on mobiles is also an area that eBay is looking to improve with each new app update. Already, users can create a large portion of new sales data by scanning the barcode on the packaging of the product, where available. The company is aiming to increase this functionality further by adding object recognition into its search tools, similar to Google Goggles. Some of these features are already in eBay category-specific apps, available in the US, and the Australian team is keen to roll out tools like this in the eBay apps locally.
"The killer feature in the Motors app, in the US, is that you can scan the VIN (number) on your car, and from that it can tell you all the parts and accessories that fit your car, so you end up with a search that is filtered just for your car." said Butler. "Soon, you'll be able to do the same thing just by taking a photo of your car."