EBay Goes Social: Reflections On Collections At EBay (A Guide For Shoppers & Gift Lovers)

For years and years eBay has tried to “go social” and create an active membership that interacts with the marketplace past “just shopping.” Very early on, eBay adopted forums; but they were clunky add-ons that required separate logins and really weren’t tired to the marketplace very well. And isn’t that the whole point of “going social” — to keep you at the site and shopping? Yes, yes it is. Anyway, while eBay failed in those early attempts to get people talking and sharing at the site, they have continued to try. Their latest attempt, launched this past October, is their “Collections” feature.

Rather like the Etsy Treasuries, these Collections offer registered site users the means to digitally collect or curate items — with a focus on pretty pictures. [Lots of folks want to compare eBay Collections (and Amazon Collections) to Pinterest; but Etsy began doing this years before Pinterest even started!]

There’s a whole guide to creating and editing such collections here, but it’s really just a matter of being logged in at eBay and using the “Add to collection” link, which is below the “Add to watch list” link.

add to ebay collection

What I really wanted to focus on was how shoppers can make the most of such collections. They can be quite handy for gift giving & receiving too, as many people use collections as a means to display their wishlists.

Finding & Using EBay Collections

The first thing to note is that while eBay pushes the use of eBay Collections to registered buyers and sellers, finding the collections isn’t all that obvious. EBay does rather prominently feature the “Today” page (a daily update of items and collections selected by eBay’s Chief Curator and Editorial Director, Michael Phillips Moskowitz). You’ll often see “Today” displayed on eBay’s main page in one of two ways: Either a smaller “What’s On eBay Today?” box at the top right of the site, or as a top featured story.

ebay main page ebay main page two

Once on that “Today” page, you’ll see the featured collections. If it is your first time at this page (or if you at least have not used the “X” in the corner), you’ll see a big blue box that invites you to take a tour of how collection pages work.

ebay today collections

But to find the main eBay collections page, you’ll have to scroll all the way to the bottom to find the “Trending Collections” link. Clicking that “Trending Collections” link does, in fact, take you to the main eBay Collections page. And once you know to look for that “Trending Collections” phrase, you’ll see a rather plain text link located on the main page as well (on the left-hand side; you need to scroll to see it as it is below the fold).

Once at the main collections page, now titled “Explore Collections”, you can scroll and look at the latest & most popular collections. (Yes, that means not all collections are shown on the main eBay Collections page or are even searchable; but it is a starting point.)

Explore Collections on eBay

You can also use the drop-down menu to narrow the collections you wish to look at by selecting from a limited number of categories…

collections on ebay refine

Or use the “search collections” options to look for specific things, like vintage lingerie.

vintage lingerie collections on ebay

When you find a single collection on that that seduced you into seeing more, you simply click on the collection’s title or images. Once there, you can click through to individual listings you’d like to see or buy.

On each collection page you’ll see a large green “Follow” button. Clicking that means you’ve become a follower of that collection and, rather like following someone on Twitter, Pinterest, or via their blog’s RSS, whenever there’s an update to the collection, those items will appear in your eBay feed.

vintage peignoir set collection

EBay feeds can be accessed on most eBay pages from the main or top navigation; but the feed page is pretty much the site’s main page, with a visual shopping display of your saved search items combined with any collections and members you follow. Yes, you can follow individual members with the “Follow” button too! So if you find a collection you like, you may want to follow the person who created it to find out when they create other collections. Similarly, if you are a fan of a specific seller, you may want to follow them not only for their wares but in case they are curating collections too.

Final Thoughts

While each eBay collection can have up to 200 items, most collections do not fill-up (reach 200 items) quickly, if at all. Yet, it is important to remember that this is an auction site, and even those items not listed in auction format may sell quickly (or at least will sell at some point).

However, neither collections nor items in collections are removed unless the curator of the collection deletes them. If/when items sell, or the listing has ended, a “See similar” link will appear in the image description. Clicking that will take you to see similar items. But remember, when it comes to vintage items, “similar” is not as similar as you might like. So don’t wait. Recall the motto of vintage lovers and collectors everywhere: The time to buy something is when you see it for sale!

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