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eBay on the iPhone or iPad: Bid, Buy, and Sell from Anywhere

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For some people, buying and selling items on eBay is more than just a way to save or make money. Participating in eBay auctions, for example, can be a fun and addicting pastime. Thanks to the official eBay apps available for the Apple iPhone or iPad, best-selling author and avid iPhone/iPad user Jason R. Rich shows how bidding, buying, and selling on eBay.com from virtually anywhere has never been more convenient.
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eBay has changed the way many people shop online. It’s also made it easy and convenient for everyday people to sell their unwanted items as well as other treasures. Because eBay typically uses an online auction format for many buying and selling transactions, it’s traditionally been necessary for participants to remain stationed in front of an Internet-connected computer or device during intense auction bidding wars, for example.

To accommodate people who are perpetually on the go, eBay has developed a handful of iPhone- and iPad-specific apps that make it easy to buy or sell virtually anything from almost anywhere using a variety of different eBay services.

In addition to the official eBay apps that are available for free, a handful of third-party apps can be purchased from the App Store. These offer additional functionality to serious eBay buyers and sellers.

For example, there’s Mybidder Auction Bid Snipper for eBay ($9.99) that can automate the process of last-second bidding. You can find these third-party apps by visiting the App Store and entering the keyword “eBay” into the Search field.

Within the App Store, you’ll also discover several official iPhone and iPad-specific eBay apps that are free. Each of these apps is designed to give users full access to various aspects of the eBay service. You can also learn more about them by visiting mobile.ebay.com.

Let’s take a closer look at the various official eBay apps and what each can be used for. Keep in mind that while some of these apps work on both the iPhone and iPad, others are either iPhone- or iPad-specific. All work with your existing eBay.com account, or allow you to create a free account directly from the app. All also allow you to make purchases or receive payments using PayPal.

eBay for iPhone and eBay for iPad

The eBay for iPhone and eBay for iPad apps, available separately from the App Store, offer full access to the main eBay.com service, and can be used for shopping, buying, and selling. The app provides full-color, detailed listings for the millions of items currently listed on eBay.com, and allows shoppers to quickly browse for what they’re looking for, place bids, or use the Buy It Now function (when applicable).

Because an eBay.com account is linked to a credit or debit card, or allows users to make purchases using their PayPal account, and the account information already includes the user’s billing and shipping address, making a purchase requires minimal data entry into the iOS mobile device, and can often be done with a few screen taps.

The eBay app has recently been streamlined to handle all aspects of a typical eBay.com shopping experience. You can use the Search field to enter the name of a product, product category, or any search term that’s related to what you’re shopping for, and then see all related results displayed on the phone or tablet’s screen.

From the Home screen, you’ll discover quick links to All Deals, Popular Items, Recent Items, and a handful of other product categories, ranging from Women’s Clothing to Cell Phone & PDA Accessories. Also on the Home screen are large, color-coded navigation buttons that are labeled Watching, Buying, and Selling. These allow you to quickly access specific information related to your eBay.com account.

One of the nice features of the official eBay app is that the Home screen of the app is customizable. Based on how you personally use eBay, you can drag and rearrange items and command buttons on the screen. For example, if you typically participate in a handful of auctions at once, you can choose to prominently display Buying-related content on the Home screen, and see the current status of all items you’re bidding on.

As easy as it is to find and bid on or purchase an item using either of these official eBay apps, selling items is just as simple. From the Home screen, tap on the green Selling button, and then click on the Sell an Item button.

In the Search field that appears within the Sell an Item screen, type the name of the item you’re selling for in order to look it up within eBay’s vast database, or tap on the Scan Item icon to use the iOS mobile device’s built-in camera to scan the barcode of the product you’d like to sell.

Once eBay finds the product you’re selling within its database, a complete listing and sample product photo(s) will be displayed that you can use within your own product listing. Tap on the Prefill button to use the supplied description and photo(s) to avoid having to do too much manual data entry.

Next, select the Condition of the item you’re selling. A menu is displayed with the following options: Not Specified, Brand New, Like New, Very Good, Acceptable. Tap on your selection.

At this point, on the iPad, for example, along the left side of the screen, are command tabs that represent each piece of information that’s typically included within an eBay listing when selling a product. Tap on Title, Category, Condition, Item Specifics, Photos, Description, Format & Price, Shopping, and Preferences, one at a time, to enter information related to the item you’re selling that was not automatically imported from eBay’s product database.

You can add to or modify the product information that eBay.com’s product database provides. For example, if you tap on the Photos option, you can use the app and your phone or tablet’s built-in camera to shoot and crop your own product photos, and using the app, add up to a dozen product photos to a listing for free.

To choose whether or not you want to use eBay’s auction sales model or a Fixed Price (Buy It Now) option, tap on Format & Price tab, and then tap on either the Auction or Fixed Price button.

Based on which you choose, you’ll be prompted to enter an Auction Start Price or a Fixed Price (so buyers can use the Buy It Now feature). Other options related to which selling method you choose will also be displayed.

After completing all sections related to the Sell an Item product listing, tap on the Preview and Publish button to view your listing. At this point, you can tap on the Edit Listing button to make changes to your listing, or publish the listing on eBay.com by tapping on the Publish button. The listing fee (charged by eBay.com) will be displayed. If you accept the fees, terms and conditions, tap the List with Fees button, and your listing will be published instantly on the eBay.com service, making it available for sale online.

The eBay for iPhone and eBay for iPad apps also allow you to manage your eBay.com account, send and receive messages, check a seller’s feedback and ratings, watch items being sold at auction, and share information about your eBay-related activities on Facebook.

Especially on the iPad, which offers the larger screen, browsing, buying and selling on eBay.com using the official app is a fast, simple and somewhat fun process. These apps give you virtually all of the eBay-related functionality you’d have using the service from your desktop or notebook computer, but everything is perfectly formatted for the smaller screen of your mobile device, and takes full advantage of the device’s touch screen for easy navigation and control.

eBay RedLaser

As you’re out and about shopping in the real world, you can often save money by utilizing eBay’s RedLaser app. This free app allows a user to utilize the camera that’s built into the iPhone or iPad in order to quickly scan the barcode of any product or item.

The RedLaser app will then access the Internet and find all local and online merchants selling that item, and who have it in stock. On the screen, the app displays the price each merchant is selling the item for, as well as the merchant’s customer reviews.

For local retailers, the app will then provide each seller’s address and phone number, plus use the Maps app to provide directions to the closest store location. For online merchants, the app provides links to quickly place an order from the mobile device.

So, whether you’re shopping for anything from a jar of peanut butter to a new flat-screen HD television, you can find where it’s being sold at the lowest price in a matter of seconds, and then choose the most convenient way to purchase the item.

The app can also be used when negotiating with retail merchants for big-ticket items. You can also use the app to take advantage of a merchant’s price match guarantee, because you can instantly see where and when an item is being sold for less.

eBay Fashion

The eBay Fashion app focuses exclusively on online shopping for clothing and fashion accessories using the iPhone or iPad. This includes gaining access to exclusive sales from national retail merchants and designers.

One of the more innovative features of eBay Fashion is that you can snap a photo of anything using the phone or tablet’s built-in camera, and the app will use the color(s) from the photo as a fabric swatch to find matching clothing you can purchase directly from the app, in your exact size.

Tap on the Search button to narrow down your online shopping by clothing category. The app’s main categories include Popular Brands, Women, Men, Baby, Vintage, Cultural & Ethnic, Wedding Apparel, Watches, Jewelry, and Health & Beauty. Once you tap on a category, a menu of sub-categories is displayed. For example, if you tap on Men, sub-categories include Clothing, Shoes, and Accessories. Additional sub-menus then help you quickly browse through a selection of related items you’re looking for.

However, you can also use the Search field to enter a specific designer, type of clothing or item by name, or use a related keyword. Regardless of which Search method you use, search results include product photos and detailed descriptions, plus the ability to purchase or bid on the item online with a few taps on the screen.

eBay Motors

The eBay Motors app offers powerful tools for buying or selling cars, as well as related parts and accessories. By answering a few initial questions using a touch screen-based menu interface, this app can help you choose the best car, truck or motorcycle make and model to fit your wants and needs, and then assist you in shopping for the best deal.

eBay Motors has a powerful search tool and allows you to effortlessly browse through detailed vehicle and product listings, plus view related photos or videos. The app can also be used to store information about your existing vehicle(s), and reduce the amount of information you need to manually enter, because you can scan a vehicle’s VIN barcode using your iOS device’s built-in camera.

eBay Now

In cities where the eBay Now service is offered, the official eBay Now app provides immediate and mobile access to this localized shopping and delivery service. Users can find what they’re shopping for on their iPhone or iPad, pick exactly what item(s) they want from a local merchant or retailer, pay online using a credit card or PayPal, and then have their purchases delivered on the same day to their home, office, or hotel room.

Final Thoughts

Knowing which eBay-related app to use in order to handle specific tasks will allow you to fully utilize all of eBay’s various services and tools from virtually anywhere. Using these tools, you can quickly locate and purchase hard-to-find items, save money on common items, and save a lot of time by not having to physically travel between stand-alone stores, shopping centers, and malls to acquire everything on your shopping list.

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