Advanced eBay Store Design is Dead

Monday, 23 March 2009 at 2:00 am Pacific USA Time.

I saw that a conference a week or so ago had a seminar about Advanced eBay Store Design. I'm surprised to see that someone is out there talking about this or trying to sell you on this. Advanced eBay Shop Design is dead.

In January 2009, eBay dropped the axe on "advanced" eBay Store design. This seems to have been the practice of using coding that broke an eBay rule in existence since 2004 to give the eBay Store a very different look and layout. All through 2008, I was waiting to see if eBay would embrace this style of design, or if they would kill it. I believed eBay would kill it, so my company chose to NOT offer this non-compliant style of design.

eBay chose to kill that style of design. Among other things, they felt that changing the Store's look and layout that much was confusing to eBay users, who get accustomed to how an eBay Store looks and works. This meant that hundreds of people paid a lot of money to get an eBay Store that not only broke eBay's rules, but was possibly less effective than a more "simple" eBay Store design.

What's left of "Advanced Store Design" seems to be an overdesigned eBay Store home page. Once you click past that, you get an eBay Store with minimal design (as it probably should be). My question now is: why sell the overdesigned home page when time after time, we hear that these are less effective?

Let me put it this way. I used to call someone on the eBay Stores team every year, and ask the same question. I'd say, "Tell me that your data shows that custom eBay Store home pages work. Tell me you have proof that they are more effective… they make shopping easier… they make shoppers stick around longer. Tell me ANYTHING, even if you don't give me the data, tell me you HAVE data that shows that custom Store pages lead to more sales. I will make sure every client I have gets a custom Store home page if you tell me this." And year after year, there was silence on the other end of the phone. They could not tell me that a custom Store home page, especially one with a lot going on, would be better for a seller.

And then they drop the axe on "advanced" Stores. I get the message. I believe that these designs are often not effective, and have the potential to distract and confuse shoppers. eBay would know if custom Store home pages lead to more sales, and they would be comfy telling me that they do, even if they give me none of their internal and confidential data. So we still recommend that sellers NOT use eBay Store home pages at this time.

What's left of Advanced eBay Store design is evidently just a custom Store home page, which in my opinion are often overdone.

Advanced eBay Store design is dead. Long live simple eBay Store design that brands the seller, makes shopping easy and obvious, and excludes distractions, microscopic text, and the "let's throw everything on the home page" idea that most online retailers abandoned in 2008. I'll explain that one tomorrow. :)

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Categories: Just An Observation

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One Response to “Advanced eBay Store Design is Dead”

  1. Liz says:

    I do prefer minimal eBay design, but good eBay design with smooth graphics.
    I keep most of my eBay and website designs minimal due to my own limitations, but I do feel that less is more unless your main target is kids as they like crazy mad and have ALL the time in the world to navigate complex graphics.
    No idea if they actually get to do the buying part though!