Today’s news may be another significant change in the way eBay buyers will shop on eBay. The company announced a new feature in their mobile app in the U.S. for iOS and Android users called ‘Interests.’
With Interests, eBay tailors the buyer’s shopping experience based on their passions, hobbies, and style. This results in a more personalized eBay that uses technology to curate the world’s largest selection of inventory, exclusively for each buyer.
Through data and algorithms, eBay uncovered things people seek out every day and created hundreds of shopping themes – from streetwear to sports teams, home theater to Hello Kitty.
Buyers select what they’re interested in, and the new feature transforms their homepage with themes and items chosen just for them.
And, with a nearly infinite number of Interests combinations, eBay now adapts to give everyone their own unique store.
“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 you care about most.”
Bradford Shellhammer, Head of Browse & Personalization for eBay
Customization starts with the shopper because eBay can curate millions of items for each of their 171 million-plus buyers.
After answering a few questions, shopper’s interests are matched with the buyer’s browsing patterns. This will help a buyer discover products they know they love, but also things the shopper didn’t even know they may enjoy.
It’s just one of the new ways eBay is reimagining how the world shops online. In the coming months, the company will continue rolling out the Interests feature to new platforms, including mobile-web and desktop, as well as markets around the world.
As eCommerce continues to change, curated content is going to be a big part of the eCommerce future.
The advances in machine learning that can be utilized today by marketplaces will bring more customized shopping experiences to eCommerce shoppers.
With this new Interests feature from eBay, the marketplace is bringing these advances to small businesses, but it also may again fan the flames of those long-time eBay sellers that want to live in the past.
How buyers shopped 20 years ago is no longer relevant. The shopping attention span today is shorter, and shoppers are not willing to go through pages after pages of individual listings to find items they like to purchase.
Modern buyers want to see relevant products when they go to an eCommerce site. The same way Google “curates” search results based on previous user behavior, eCommerce sites have to do the same.
Most shoppers are looking to quickly find products they like, purchase them, and have them delivered as fast as possible. It’s the new eCommerce reality.
Overcoming Seller Angst of Another New Feature
There are a lot of successful sellers on eBay and other marketplaces. What most of these sellers have in common is that they have changed their listings to fit into this new eCommerce reality.
On eBay, that means more images, good concise descriptions, using the correct categories, and most important, filling out items specifics with as much data as possible.
Machine learning algorithms use all this data today to define a listing and then try to match that listing to a shopper. This also includes shipping costs (which really should be free now), shipping services offered, item location, and an industry standard return policy.
For many sellers, there must be a reality check when it comes to eCommerce.
No doubt, eBay has made mistakes and even backtracked on announced policy changes, but much of what eBay is implementing today is to keep up with changing shopping behavior worldwide.
The same way small business retailers complained 20 years ago about sellers on eBay putting pressure on their businesses, today, some eBay sellers that have not made the proper changes are seeing significant reductions in sales on the platform.
Often some sellers blame new eBay policies without looking at the overall picture of their industry. Some revenue declines are just due to the fact there is more competition or that shopper interests have changed.
But unless a seller does everything possible to best position their listings to buyers on eBay, that seller is already operating with one hand tied behind their back.
How to Improve Your Listings for eBay’s Interests Feature and Catalog
Here are some links to resources for helping sellers get the most out of eBay’s new direction utilizing more machine learning to provide customized experiences to shoppers.
And just this week, our sponsor UnderstandingE posted up a live webinar discussing how to best create and promote eBay listings.
We’d love to hear what changes you have made or are making to improve the visibility of your listings on eBay? Head over to our Facebook Discussion Group or use the comments section below.