eBay app combines television shopping with mobile

Forget the commercials for Old Navy and JCPenny, the real shopping experience could be taking place inside of TV shows if eBay has anything to say about it. The company just updated its popular iPad app to include a unique new feature called Watch with eBay. Users can tell the app their network provider and channel, and it will serve them items for sale directly related to what they are watching. This can include merchandise relating to the actors in the show, music from the soundtrack, clothing worn by the performers, products incorporated and much more. The service covers all genres from reality TV to sports.

When the gang is around the set watching the big game, shopping may not be on the forefront, but having the app on hand opens up a world of purchasing opportunities, especially when it comes to the favorite team of the fans. Often diehard fans don’t have a specific outlet to purchase related merchandise, but the eBay app hopes to change that.

A recent Nielsen study showed that more than 80 percent of tablet and smartphone users are interacting with their devices while watching programming, while more than 25 percent of them are actually searching for information related to the current show. As anyone who has done a Google search can testify, results in the hundreds can be tough to sort through. The eBay app makes things much easier — one account, one app and multiple purchasing options.

The company has plans to expand and wants to get more involved with shows and networks, right down to the show offering a specific shirt for sale that a character is wearing. This may seem far off, but it’s entirely possible, and it could happen sooner rather than later. Product placement has become widespread in all forms of entertainment; product purchasing could be the next big thing.