eBay: With AI for more personalization

In addition to Amazon, there are countless online marketplaces. Some well-known ones will be presented at the MultichannelDays (September 15-17), which this year will take place completely digitally. On Day 1, Diana Okoye gave retailers an insight into eBay’s business model.

On the first day of the digital MultichannelDays, which is being organized for the second time by the Ebner Media Group – to which INTERNET WORLD also belongs – was among others Diana Okoye, Senior Director Operations of eBay Germany. For more than nine years she has worked in various roles on the buyer and seller side for eBay. She knows all facets of the online marketplace and gave the participants of the MultichannelDays deep insights into the corporate structure of eBay. The focus of her lecture was on how eBay wants to better implement customer wishes with artificial intelligence.

First off, Okoye mentioned the eBay Basics. Because eBay is often confused with a C2C marketplace, i.e. a platform from private traders for private traders. EBay also has large companies and brands on offer. However, they do not generate the largest turnover; in fact, these are small dealers.

numbers, data, facts

The company data provided includes the number of offers (1.5 billion), the number of buyers (182 million) and in how many countries they are sales partners (190 countries). After the brand had been thoroughly introduced, Diana switched to the emergency aid program that eBay has set up for the dealers who are in need in Corona. The contract for sellers on eBay runs until December 31 of this year with special conditions: six months of free premium shop and premium customer service and no sales commission for small, local dealers for three months.

Okoye then presented a case in which this emergency aid program could already bear its first fruits. A carpet dealer in Heinsberg had to close his shop completely for a short time due to the local corona outbreak. But since he was already trading his business on eBay, the transition to a purely online business was no longer so great for him. Diana said he was able to save his business through the difficult times of shop closings and sales decline.

Customer feedback is very important

According to our own surveys, eBay customers would very often want speed and reliability in delivery. Therefore, eBay has set itself the goal of offering the highest shipping standards. Various logistics partners and programs were offered for this purpose. The speaker presented one example in her short presentation: the eBay fulfillment program.

The handling is done for the customer, he just has to take care of the sale in advance. According to its own statements, this shipping program has generated positive feedback. By expanding and adding a few new logistics partners this year, eBay can now provide more support for sellers so that they can focus on selling their goods.

It becomes exciting for the audience when the eBay expert starts talking about the latest innovations: One of them is the dark design of the mobile app, which was created in response to customer requests. Another novelty added this year is the increased use of AI.

On the one hand, customers can search more precisely. In the search selection for a specific product, the algorithm selects a sequence of the proposed products that is meaningful for the customer. The basis here are the previous clicks of the visitor. AI is also used in the other product proposals. In practice, this is done in such a way that not only the best offers are displayed in a personalized manner for the customer, but also similar products that are intended to serve as a basis for inspiration for the customer.

Tips and tricks for buyers and sellers

Okoye sells another feature of the eBay app as particularly innovative: Computer Vision. Behind this is the ability to search on eBay not only by entering text, but also to be suggested a product using images. It looks like this, for example, that customers take a picture of a desired dress and an AI-based program then searches for the corresponding dress.

EBay uses the option of personalization particularly intensively. This is not only used in search and product selection, but also applies to the topic of machine translation. eBay also uses this AI-based service to reach buyers from other countries. For example, product descriptions of products from Germany are also displayed. AI is also used when using white backgrounds for product photos. The program has to recognize where the object is located in the image that it leaves out when cropping.

The Multichannel days will take place until Thursday, September 17th. There will be representatives from Google, Facebook, Idealo, Zalando and many more. expected, who will speak about the various sales channels for online retailers and will discuss the possibilities of each platform presented for online retailing.

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