A couple of weeks ago, eBay launched it’s new fashion portal, seen as the new Fashion tab in the main site navigation. I mention this in case you, like I, nearly missed it. I usually enter the mega marketplace via Women’s Vintage Clothing, Lingerie search to begin scroll-shopping by subcategory and specific searches, but there are some super exciting things about the new Fashion area which may change some of my online shopping habits.
First of all, vintage fashions are included; use the “see all” option, and vintage will be shown along with women, men, kids, baby, and brand offerings. Sure, I prefer vintage, but mixing modern with vintage is especially helpful when you need a bra in your size, a specific (and perhaps hard-to-find) color or item.
Second, whichever category, subcategory you choose, whatever search you preform, you’ll now have several options in viewing your results. You can shop as you always have via the classic rows, or use the image gallery or snapshot views. The snapshot view, like traditional window shopping, is purely visual experience (mousing over the images gives you a larger view and some more details).
In gallery view, when you find an item you like, you can click on “Quick View” for a pop-up bit of information, including a bit larger image, additional auction or buying information, and an amazing “More Like This” link.
When you click that amazing “More Like This” link, you’ll be taken to automatic search results — results obtained by using the visual characteristics of the images to find items that are similar in color, shape or pattern. Here’s an example using a pair of sheer black vintage Van Raalte panties:
This may not be completely spot-on (hey, it’s it Beta!), but it’s remarkable! (And incredibly addictive to play with; wallet and heartstrings, beware!)
Somehow, via the magic of pixel and data mining sciences (or whatever it is – Merlin’s mind, maybe?), you end up capturing an essence… A mood. And that’s largely what browsing and window shopping in real stores offer. This aspect of shopping, of the visual meandering browsing experience as opposed to organized searching by keywords, has been greatly been missing from online shopping — until now.
Kudos to you, eBay, for bringing more of the joy of browsing to shopping online. ‘Cuz sometimes a girl isn’t sure what she wants, but she knows it when she sees it!