At eBay, We Are Vastly Improving Mobile Web Experiences

By: Sebastian Rupley, eBay News Team

One of eBay’s distinguished engineers discussed AMP technology at the first conference dedicated to it.

Mobile has always been key to eBay’s technology strategy, and it is a critical part of how we acquire new users, with visitors from every country using our mobile apps and experiences. With this in mind,  we added Google-led AMP technology to our innovation arsenal in 2016. Although the initial focus for AMP was on news and publishing sites, eBay became one of the first companies to leverage AMP for ecommerce. Fast-forward to today, and we have close to 16 million AMP-based product browse pages.

To commemorate the progress that AMP itself has made, the first ever AMP conference took place last week in New York. It was attended by technologists from various organizations across the globe, including publishers, ecommerce, social and cloud experts. The common focus at the conference was on providing amazing mobile web experiences. One of the main conference highlights came in a “What’s next in AMP” talk, where the core AMP team announced that the next frontier for AMP is ecommerce. In fact, the AMP roadmap is filled with ecommerce features, specifically targeted to deliver the most optimized user experiences. We were very excited to see this, as eBay helped pioneer this concept.

In a talk given by eBay’s Distinguished Engineer and Web Platform Lead Senthil Padmanabhan, titled “Adding AMP to an Ecommerce Workflow,” he outlined eBay’s AMP journey. Senthil explained how an organization which already has a development workflow, a codebase and a release process, added AMP into its technology portfolio and did so seamlessly. He noted that one of the main reasons that AMP resonated with eBay, was to provide a compelling user experience for customers coming from external platforms like Search Engines. He added, when users are within eBay, the flow can be predicted and optimized. But when they are coming from external platforms like search engines or social media, eBay has no control and that is where AMP plays a role. AMP guarantees a consistently fast and solid experience to those users.

Senthil outlined the goals that the technology team at eBay set for integrating AMP, and the challenges that arose along the way. He also focused on analytics, one of the challenging areas in AMP. He finally laid out the following points.

 Our ultimate goal is to provide a fast and frictionless commerce web experience, irrespective of:

  • Where the user starts the journey
  • Underlying OS or device
  • Network conditions

 “AMP is one step towards this goal and we are just getting started,” said Senthil. “Web technologies have evolved a lot in the recent years and it gives us the power to achieve our goal. We have to apply it to the whole spectrum of our platform, starting from credential management with web APIs to payment request web APIs.”

He further noted, “The often quoted Progressive Web App (PWA) is a natural extension to what we are doing. It is an umbrella term for a group of web technologies. We will be adding these technologies progressive to our site, with each step enhancing the end user experience. We are also actively migrating our site to HTTPS, which is a prerequisite for most of the above mentioned technologies.”

The web platform is at a very interesting phase right now and we are super excited to be part of this transformation. The overall goal remains the same  —  to delight our customers with the best shopping experiences anywhere.