In recent years the utilitarian eBay website of old has given way to a website full of features and widgets to help you to buy and sell more conveniently or in new ways.
Because so many changes have happened so quickly, however, many of them have flown under the radar, not spotted or underused by many users.
Here are ten eBay website features that you may have missed.
Social buttons on listings. At the upper-right of any eBay listing you'll see four small, square buttons arranged in a horizontal line. Click the first to email a listing to a friend, the second to share a listing on Facebook, the third to tweet a listing, and the fourth to pin it on Pinterest.
The shopping cart. For years, the shopping cart was one of the most requested eBay features. That change finally arrived last year, but many longtime eBay users have failed to notice or use it. The shopping cart can make the buying of multiple items on eBay much easier, since you can pay for all of them with a single click-through at the end of the purchase process.
eBay Instant Sale. At any given time, there are some items that are simply known to be in demand at a reasonably stable market price. Many consumer electronics items of upgrade treadmill fame, like smartphones and tablets, fall into this group. Rather than forcing you to sell items yourself on eBay, for these kinds of items eBay has implemented a program to buy these at a fixed price from any seller that wants to do things the easy way. If you have one of them, you can visit eBay Instant Sale and get cash for it directly from eBay.
eBay Advanced Search. On the far right of the search box on eBay's home page is the Advanced link. Click it to view an eBay search box that enables searches by location, price range, buying format, number of bids, currency of sale, and much, much more. If you're a savvy buyer looking for great deals, this is a great tool to help you to zero in on your targets.
Search criteria refinement. After you've run a keyword search on eBay, you can refine what eBay is helping you to look for using the links and options down the left side of your screen. For example, after searching for an item, enter a price range in the two "Price" boxes to narrow the results shown to you by price. Most of the options in the advanced search tool can also be applied to a search you've already run using the refinements on the left side of any search results page.
Products and reviews via the eBay catalog. After you've run an eBay search, use the "Products & Reviews" tab at the top of the search resuls list to show your results as a series of products (by make and model) and their user reviews, rather than as a series of individual listings. Choosing this tab causes eBay to work much more like Amazon; rather than seeing results that are a giant pile of one-off listings, you'll see products by make and model, with all listings for any given product make and model collected in the same place. In this view you can also sort in ways that recall Amazon, like by "highest rated" by number of stars.
The eBay wish list. As you view products in eBay's catalog (using the "Products & Reviews" tab, for example), you'll find a link at the lower-left of any page to add the item to your eBay wish list. Like an Amazon wish list, an eBay wish list is a place where you can gather together a list of things you'd like to own. To view your list and have the opportunity to make it public or share it, visit your My eBay, then view the items you're currently watching. On the left side of the watched items page you'll find a link to your "Wish List" in the "Lists" category).
Favorites. At the top of any eBay item listing are three buttons labeled "Like," "Want," and "Own," that add the item to your current list of favorites. eBay uses this data to help decide what kinds of items you might be interested in seeing more of, and to help you to share your wants with friends. You can view your current favorites by logging in and visiting www.ebay.com/soc/favorites. Obviously this functionality overlaps with the "wish list" functionality above, so one of them is likely to go the way of the dodo in coming years; hopefully whichever one is kept will become easier to use at the same time.
Report item. See something that you're sure is fake or counterfeit or see a rules violation or even just something suspicious? Use the "Report item" link on the far right of any item listing just above the item number, to report the item directly to eBay for examination, with no further hassle for you.
eBay Bucks and Bill Me Later. These two marketing programs appear in the same area on every listing. The eBay Bucks program provides cash back for eBay purchases; if you shop a lot on eBay and aren't using your eBay bucks, you're leaving money on the table. The Bill Me Later program is essentially a zero-down credit line, something like an in-store credit card, for those that like to make purchases this way.
eBay is changing all the time, sometimes with little fanfare. Not all of these changes will appeal to everyone, but there are likely to be a few things on this list that appeal to most eBay users, old and new alike.