eBay Search Results Are Broken

Posted By Debbie on September 4, 2013

Categories: UX/UI

Tags: eBay, search results

Just for kicks, I typed into eBay the phone I currently have (as of when I’m writing this). The Samsung Galaxy S3. Look at what I get back. Click to enlarge.

ScreenHunter_43 Aug. 23 13.50

Over 36,000 search results. No way I’m paging through THAT. But look at the left column. Around 4,000 are phones. Around 30,000 are accessories. That means that when I put in a phone model name and the word phone, eBay has no idea what I’m looking for. They can’t even guess.

eBay assumes I’m looking for a battery but didn’t type battery. eBay assumes I’m looking for cases through I didn’t type case. I typed PHONE. I’m looking for a phone.

eBay’s Best Match search results (sorted by eBay’s internal algorithm) do put phones at the top. But like many people, I re-sort my eBay search results to show lower priced items first. Now I’m looking at chargers, cables, and other items starting at $0.01.

Those aren’t phones.

I’m not a technical expert on how to fine tune searches. But I do know about human behaviour, and how frustrating it can be to get thousands more search results than you should. I can’t help but wonder how many times someone types ONLY “samsung galaxy s3 phone” into eBay, and is NOT looking for a phone.