eBay: The Start of a Retail Feedification?

eBay Feed

Image from: Ebay Feed / eBay.com

eBay made news this week with the announcement that the online powerhouse will launch Feed, a Pinterest like experience.  Feed will be available on eBay’s site and allow users to scroll through products available for sale on the site.

Earlier this year, we reported on the impact that Pinterest is having on how consumers engage with products and retailers online.  Pinterest’s growth in popularity continues at a breakneck pace and surpassed 25M unique visitors for the first time in September.

Retailers will be closely watching the impact that the introduction of eBay’s Feed product has on both engagement and user experience at the retailer.  The move seems to be as much about recreating a successful user experience as it does about ensuring eBay’s consumers maintain their level of loyalty.

Compete looked at the degree that consumers who visit Pinterest also visit one of a handful of popular retailers in the same session.  The data might be a big reason why eBay is motivated to launch Feed.   In August 2012, 14% of Pinterest visitors shopped on eBay during the same session after engaging with Pinterest.

Same-Session Visit Pinterest.com to Online Retailers

Pinterest creates new challenges for online retailers such as eBay because consumers are exposed to brands and retailers that they previously might not have been aware of, causing them to shift the places they shop online.  One in 10 consumers report regularly re-visiting a product or retailer they discover on Pinterest, according to Compete’s Online Shopper Intelligence survey conducted this summer.

Undoubtedly, Pinterest can be looked at as much of an opportunity as a threat.  Both eBay and Amazon carry such a large product assortment that it is likely Pinterest is a traffic driver to the online retail powerhouses.

The gap between online-only retailers and traditional retailers such as Walmart or Target suggests that those sites are not attracting the same kind of shopper as eBay or Amazon.  It raises the question: is recreating a Pinterest like experience the answer for all retailers?  Would seeing a new brand of laundry detergent on Walmart.com appeal to consumers?  Imagine a feed that included targeted coupons to consumers.  It remains to be seen if the Pinterest model is a game-changer in online merchandising or the latest fad.