Homepage / Technology / eBay leans on AI to help you find the right gift for the holiday season
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eBay leans on AI to help you find the right gift for the holiday season

This holiday season, eBay wants its technology — and vast marketplace — to help you be a bit more unique in your gifting.

“If we know you like superheros, there’s a world of things on eBay you don’t even realize we have,” said Bradford Shellhammer, eBay’s head of personalization and engagement.

eBay operates one of the world’s largest online marketplaces. It had 168 million active buyers as of the third quarter of this year. Its size — and the breadth of its offerings — has been a point of distinction when compared against Amazon. “Don’t shop like everybody else” is the theme of one of its holiday advertisements. The challenge, though, has been making sure eBay shoppers find and buy those items.

This season will be the first to test many of eBay’s newest initiatives to help shoppers realize. That awareness will be vital as the San Jose, California-based e-retailer continues to define its space in online shopping.

“The diversity of our catalog makes us like no other retailer in the world …The hard part, has been where do you start? And how do you find things?” said Shellhammer.

So eBay has been investing in technology that helps to organize those products in an streamlined fashion. It acquired Sweden-based Expertmaker last year to help bulk up these efforts. It launched a new webpage, that organizes and curates in a “Netflix style.” Last month, eBay began rolling out its “Grouped Listings,” which condense listings by product, not seller, in order to rid of clutter.

It now tags items through a combination of technology and human input. In doing so, it has the capacity to categorize items by theme, not only similarity. For example, a shopper browsing for yoga mats might also be shown a Lululemon top, not just other yoga mats.

Going forward, eBay will move beyond monitoring what shoppers are buying, and instead ask them for their preference directly, said Shellhammer.

Other holiday initiatives for the company include its new guaranteed delivery program, which ensures more than 20 million items will arrive in three days or less. Its price-matching program matches prices on more than 50,000 deals.

Online shopping is projected to generate $107 billion in sales in the U.S, a 13.8 percent jump from last year, according to Adobe. Of those sales, analysts at Suntrust Robinson Humphrey expect Amazon to nab 24 percent, up from a 20 percent share in 2016.

eBay generates roughly 26 percent of its revenue in the fourth quarter of the year, according to Suntrust. Its share of online dollars in the U.S. dropped to roughly 6.5 percent the fourth quarter of last year, compared to 7.5 percent the year prior.

Source: Tech CNBC
eBay leans on AI to help you find the right gift for the holiday season

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