Retail

eBay Rolls Out ‘Interests’ To Personalize Shopping Results

eBay

As eBay ramps up its personalization efforts, the eCommerce marketplace has rolled out a feature that curates its wide selection of inventory to match the passions and styles of individual shoppers. The feature dubbed “Interests”  uses data and algorithms to match users with hundreds of shopping themes from streetwear to sports teams, eBay said in an announcement.

Interests matches users with themes based on their response to a few questions and an analysis of their browsing patterns. With this data, eBay is able to personalize their homepages with themes and items chosen for them. According to eBay, there’s a “nearly infinite number of Interests combinations.”

Bradford Shellhammer, head of browse and personalization for eBay said, “Our shopping experience should be as individual as each shopper on eBay. By asking people to tell us a little bit about their interests, we’re delivering a personalized store built around the things [they] care about most.”

Though Interests is now available on eBay’s mobile app in the U.S. for iOS and Android, the feature will come to new platforms, such as mobile-web and desktop in the coming months. In addition, eBay plans to roll out the feature to other countries.

The effort builds upon other moves by eBay designed to personalize its customers’ experiences. Ahead of last year’s holiday season, for example, eBay gave its marketplace shoppers the gift of artificial intelligence (AI) in hopes of better connecting consumers to items that interest them.

“If we know you like superheroes, there’s a world of things on eBay you don’t even realize we have,” Shellhammer said in a CNBC report in November.

In terms of other personalization efforts, eBay bought out Sweden-based Expertmaker and redesigned its web portal with a more “Netflix-style” curation scheme. In October, eBay began rolling out its “Grouped Listings,” which condenses listings by product, not seller, to cut the clutter on the site. Going forward, the eCommerce marketplace will move beyond monitoring purchases and, instead, try harder to connect shoppers with more specific preferences.

The push toward more and greater curation comes alongside a series of holiday offerings eBay put up in 2017. The company is also pushing its guaranteed delivery program, ensuring that more than 20 million items will arrive within three days. The online marketplace has also put price-matching into place for more than 50,000 deals.

In addition, eBay launched a new voice-activated service in partnership with Google in 2017, according Chain Store Age. Through the collaboration, Google Assistant can shop on eBay by saying “Ask eBay…”  an action that launches a search through the eBay Shopping Assistant on Google Home devices. The eBay Shopping Assistant works with AI and natural language to understand customer requests, implement deep learning and offer predictive modeling.

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

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