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Online Marketplaces Deploy AI to Provide Personal Shopper Experience

eCommerce, retail, AI, personalized shopping

Online marketplaces are reportedly deploying artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver a personal shopper-like experience to their visitors.

EBayEtsy and ThredUp are among the online marketplaces now leveraging AI technology to enhance the shopping experience for both buyers and sellers, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Friday (May 3).

With AI, they are seeking to enhance the shopper’s experience by finding the right product among millions of unique listings, according to the report.

Etsy, for instance, recently launched a feature called Gift Mode, which uses AI to help shoppers choose the perfect gift. By providing a few details about the person they are shopping for, the AI-powered feature suggests relevant products from the marketplace’s vast inventory, the report said. This not only saves time for shoppers but also helps them discover products they might not have known existed.

Similarly, eBay introduced a generative AI-powered feature called “shop the look,” which curates outfits based on users’ shopping history. With over 2 billion live listings, eBay aims to simplify the browsing experience for its users by leveraging AI technology, per the report.

ThredUp, a secondhand clothing seller, has also embraced AI to improve its search capabilities. With 100,000 items being added daily, finding specific items can be challenging, according to the report. ThredUp now uses AI to tag hundreds of attributes and cluster them in a way that intuitively understands what the user is looking for. This enhanced search functionality has led to an increase in searches on the platform.

While AI holds great promise for improving the online shopping experience, there are challenges to overcome, the report said. Large language models (LLMs) used in AI algorithms can take a relatively long time to generate responses, which may test the patience of online shoppers who expect quick results. Additionally, the cost of implementing AI technology can be higher compared to traditional models.

In the near term, AI technology may be more beneficial for sellers, reducing friction and encouraging more listings and sales, per the report.

For instance, eBay’s “magical listing” feature uses generative AI (GenAI) to populate detailed product information, making it easier for sellers to list their items quickly and accurately.

PYMNTS Intelligence has found that the rise of LLMs has thrust GenAI technology into the driver’s seat of retail technologies.

Seventy-seven percent of business leaders rank GenAI as the most impactful emerging technology, according to “What Generative AI Has in Store for the Retail Industry,” a PYMNTS Intelligence and AI-ID collaboration.

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