Up to now, the online tool for managing and tracking listings on eBay, called eBay Selling Manager, has only offered sellers direct access to applications that the e-commerce giant developed in-house. But that's about to change.
Project Echo, unveiled at this week's eBay Developers Conference in Chicago, takes the company's online platform to the next level by enabling outside developers to embed applications in the eBay site.
"Third-party developers want our help with marketing and distribution, and sellers consistently seek better tools to help them scale," said Max Mancini, senior director of platform and disruptive innovation at eBay. "Opening eBay.com directly to third-party applications through the selling manager gives developers an immediate channel to growth-minded eBay sellers."
New Revenue Streams
Developers meeting the site standards for trusted buying and selling experiences will have an opportunity to showcase their tools as well as realize direct sales to eBay's 700,000 sellers.
"This move presents a great opportunity for us to tap into the distribution and marketing scale of eBay in a way we've never been able to utilize before," said Jerad Schempp, CEO of Hosted Support.
Developers will embed their applications in selling manager through an 'Echo Canvas' window slated to appear within My eBay. They will be able to promote their products based on keywords as well as manage the delivery of important information to subscribed users over a secure on-site communications channel.
Developers will also be given the opportunity to benefit from real-time promotions and placements. Listings for their applications will appear within popular eBay site flows based on context-sensitive user profile data, with sellers shown the applications most relevant to their needs.
According to eBay, subscribing to a third-party application or feature in selling manager will be identical to how eBay-developed selling features and applications are offered. Business sellers will be able to browse for applications by category or search by keyword, as well as view applications according to popularity.
Project Echo will benefit eBay sellers by delivering streamlined one-stop and trusted access to advanced selling tools that meet specific needs. Subscribers will receive a free, 30-day evaluation period to try new applications.
Project Echo is currently in what eBay calls the 'alpha pilot' stage. According to the company, wider developer participation and eBay seller adoption will coincide with the introduction of a beta release in the first quarter of next year.
More immediately, eBay's PayPal is scheduled to introduce a new developer portal next month that will pave the way for developers to help merchants with online payments.
"We've created a wealth of new resources to help developers respond to the skyrocketing demand for safer, easier online payments," said Glenn Lim, general manager of PayPal's alliances and developer services. "Our active developer community is one of the drivers of PayPal's growth, and supporting their success is a top priority for us."