Commerce Weekly: EBay’s TV tie-in

EBay for iPad lets you make offers based on the TV program you're watching.

Not much happening this week as the tech world winds down for the end-of-year holidays, but here’s one story that caught my eye.

EBay wants you to watch it with them

EBay knows that one screen isn’t enough for us now. As more of us watch TV with tablet or smartphone in hand, the massive auction site and online retail aggregator doesn’t want to be left out of an opportunity to make a sale. So it’s created a feature for its iPad app called Watch with eBay that ties offerings in real time to whatever show you’re watching. Kevin Woodward at Internet Retailer has the scoop. Watching the Packers? Once you’ve keyed in your zip and carrier information, you’ll get a screen of green-and-gold logo wear. Viewing another Rooney Mara interview? Maybe you’ll see offerings from H&M’s Lisbeth Salander line.

Watch with eBay screenshot
The Watch with eBay function within eBay’s iPad app shows products related to whatever television program you’re viewing.

All I can say is it’s about time this happened. Just to bring some perspective, the first time I wrote about this possible feature — seeing something you like on TV and clicking to buy it — I drew my example from the hottest program on TV at the time: If you like Kramer’s retro sweater or Jerry’s pirate shirt, just click to buy. It didn’t happen then; the integration with set-top boxes never reached that deeply. But by disassociating the purchase process from the broadcast itself and running it in a parallel channel (the iPad) that we know is being used to supplement TV watching, eBay might be on to something.

The related data will be worth watching. We know anecdotally that multitasking on the iPad is more comfortable than it was with a laptop (with a lot less heat dissipated into our thighs and other parts). But as yet there appears to be little data on just how much parallel surfing is occurring. EBay’s early results should provide one interesting data point.

Commerce Weekly will return on January 5, 2012.

X.commerce harnesses the technologies of eBay, PayPal and Magento to create the first end-to-end multi-channel commerce technology platform. Our vision is to enable merchants of every size, service providers and developers to thrive in a marketplace where in-store, online, mobile and social selling are all mission critical to business success. Learn more at x.com.

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  • CherylD

    As far as saving when buying on eBay goes:

    Use a site like Ebuyersedge.com to set up saved searches. You get an e-mail whenever a matching item is listed. Especially good for “Buy It Now”s that are priced right.

    Try a misspelling search site like Typojoe.com to hopefully find some deals with items that have main keywords misspelled in the title. Other interested buyers might not ever see them.

    If you see an auction that you want to bid on, use a sniping service such as Hidbid.com to bid for you. It’ll bid in the last few seconds, helping you to save money and avoid shill bidding.