Retail

eBay Makes Conversational Commerce Leap

Online marketplace eBay has launched a new service in partnership with Google, according to news from Chain Store Age on Wednesday (Nov. 27).

Through the collaboration, Google Assistant users can now shop on eBay by saying “Ask eBay…” The command will launch a search through the eBay Shopping Assistant on Google Home devices.

The eBay Shopping Assistant works with artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language to understand customer requests, implement deep learning and offer predictive modeling.

“We can begin to harness the power of human intent, enabling us to create a radically better and more personalized shopping experience for everyone,” said Jay Vasudevan, lead product manager for eBay, in a company blog post, adding that, “Using AI, we are able to create a truly personalized shopping experience inspired by the service you’d expect in a traditional retail setting.”

The eCommerce platform’s foray into conversational commerce with the Google Assistant has arrived just in time for the holiday shopping season, and eBay has already been given an opportunity to test and evaluate the offering. It is currently examining ways to expand the partnership’s capabilities, including tapping into the Google devices’ multi-surface switching capability.

The company is among the first eCommerce retailers to utilize multi-surface switching, which allows users to hold a conversation on Google Home from a smartphone.

“By combining eBay’s breadth of inventory and unique selection, the eBay Shopping Assistant can create a shopping experience for virtually everyone,” Vasudevan said. “This is the inspiration behind some of the exciting work we are doing at the intersection of artificial intelligence, cloud computing and a new commerce service that’s available wherever shoppers are.”

The company has launched another AI initiative this year: a revamped website that is better equipped to organize listed merchandise and curate items categorically in “Grouped Listings.” While items were previously grouped by seller on the eBay platform, like items are now grouped together and tagged through human and technological processes to ease the shopping experience.

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