EBay is reportedly testing a personalized shopping assistant dubbed ShopBot on Facebook’s Messenger app in an effort to lure more of Facebook’s 1 billion users to eBay.
According to a report by Bloomberg, eBay is hoping that, by making it easier to find items to purchase via Facebook, it will increase its number of customers. The service, which is being trialed, relies on artificial intelligence to learn more information about each shopper via their Facebook profiles and questions regarding what they are looking to buy. ShopBot can remember things like clothing sizes to enable shopping online in the future to be even easier. The report noted that, once a Facebook shopper finds an item by interacting with the bot or submitting a photo, the shopper will be directed to eBay to make the purchase.
"We’re going to where our users are, versus letting it all play out on eBay.com and our mobile app," eBay Chief Product Officer R.J. Pittman said in the report. The report noted Spring and Everlane are two online apparel companies that are also selling their wares via Facebook Messenger. While Facebook doesn’t make money on the purchases, it does sell ads for its News Feed that directs users to a Messenger conversation with eBay’s shopping bot.
The move on the part of eBay comes as the company is trying to overhaul what shoppers think about when it comes to eBay. Relying on artificial intelligence, eBay is betting it can make it much easier for consumers to navigate the eBay website, which has 1 billion listings. By teaming with Facebook, eBay gets access to a whole new swath of customers beyond those that use search engines to find products. According to Bloomberg, eBay has 164 million active accounts as of the end of June, up 4.5 percent from the year-ago period.