EBay Classifieds: A Fresh Attitude for Old-School Selling

New eBay Classifieds partners and back-end technology provides a better mobile and social experience for its online classified buyers and sellers.

Rebranding its U.S. classified ad site from Kijiji to eBay Classifieds was only the start of changes for eBay's (NASDAQ: EBAY) own classified ad service. Not to be confused with the eBay Classified Ad listing format -- eBay Classifieds is a separate eBay website and business that puts the emphasis on localized transactions using the more traditional classified ad format of buying and selling items locally.

From Kijiji to eBay Classifieds -- Why eBay Rebranded

The online auction company rebranded eBay’s Kijiji classifieds website back on March 30, 2010. According to Deepak Thomas, general manager of U.S. classifieds and mobile classifieds at eBay, the reasoning behind the re-branding was to align the classifieds business with the eBay brand, which has established itself as the world's largest online marketplace.

When eBay relaunched its Kijiji classifieds site as eBayClassifieds.com, it also rolled out major enhancements to standards in trust and safety, customer service and user experience.

EBay Classifieds: Who’s it For?

While some people may think of classified ads as a way to buy or sell a single item, online classified sites provide online merchants and individual sellers with another selling channel. EBay Classifieds appeals because you don’t pay any listing or selling fee -- eBay Classifieds earns revenue from advertising. Sellers feeling the crunch of fees for selling online can make local transactions without spending a dime.

Also, this type of online selling site is quite useful for listing large items -- such as appliances or furniture -- that are too awkward or heavy for general shipping and delivery.

Thomas also said that eBay Classifieds offers a service category allowing businesses to post ads for professional services.  For these types of lead generation ads you can freely post your client services and contact information to promote your business to a local audience.

Enhancing Classifieds with Mobile Technology

Mobile access is one of the most promising technologies to make waves in the classifieds service since the rebranding. Thomas noted that the mobile traffic on the site has increased: around ten-percent of all traffic comes from mobile users.  Mobile Web, a way of accessing the site on your mobile device, has already been rolled out to the U.S. eBay Classifieds.

At a time when many companies rush to push out mobile versions of applications and sites to customers using the latest and greatest mobile technology -- like Android-based phones and the Apple iPad -- Thomas said that the goal of eBay Classifieds is to ensure a good experience for all mobile users, not just those using select devices.

 “One of the fundamental problems in addressing mobile users is how to support the different types of devices, such as the iPhone or Android phones,” Thomas said. “With Mobile Web, we can also provide access to the most popular eBay Classifieds features for customers on older devices.”

The features referred to by Thomas include being able to search, respond to sellers or even list new items from any mobile device.  The company is investing heavily in mobile because it currently sees high mobile-traffic on the site but also because analysts forecast mobile usage is still on the rise.

Thomas told Ecommerce-Guide.com that he doesn’t doubt that the day will come when mobile user traffic hits the 50 percent mark on eBay Classifieds.  “With a focus on mobile and strategic partnerships and investments, eBay Classifieds is prepared for increased mobile traffic,” he said.

Partnering with Oodle for Social Classifieds

In one of the company's most recent announcements, eBay Classifieds partnered with Oodle to provide sellers with even more visibility for their online classifieds listings.  Oodle, which brings a social experience to a local online marketplace, boasts more than 14 million monthly users across its network, which includes the Oodle Marketplace, Facebook Marketplace and additional local partner marketplaces.

The partnership, according to Thomas, brings the concept of social classifieds to eBay Classifieds and also provides sellers with increased visibility and exposure to millions of potential buyers each month.

“The Oodle partnership is ideal for us because it focuses on social classifieds -- a model that works very well." He explained that when people buy within a social setting, you achieve credibility simply because you stay within a friend circle. You're not dealing with unknowns.

The partnership that joins Oodle and eBay Classifieds is also important because it syndicates listings across the respective sites. Sellers who post classified ads on either Oodle or eBay Classifieds will benefit by having their listing exposed to potential buyers searching both marketplaces.

This type of partnering, in addition to mobile integration and to rolling out new product features, is what Thomas believes leads to innovation in online classified ads.

“These new product features provide users with a more engaging experience.  It’s not just sit at your computer and search anymore.” He said.

More Classified Ad Tips From Ecommerce-Guide.com

Vangie Beal is a veteran online seller and frequent contributor to ECommerce-Guide.com. She is also managing editor of Webopedia.com. You can tweet with her online @AuroraGG.

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