eBay has announced a new personalized shopping feature that serves up product suggestions based on users’ interests and hobbies.
The aptly named Interests feature is available from today on eBay’s Android and iOS apps in the U.S.
In a nutshell, users are asked to highlight their favorite activities, styles, and so on, and eBay will make suggestions accordingly.
This builds on eBay’s structured data investments over the past few years, as it has sought to make sense of its extensive product inventory through automation, establishing exactly what’s listed and how everything relates to other products on the platform. This has helped eBay identify similarities between products, enabling it to group items together and avoid overwhelming buyers with hundreds of options that are basically identical.
This latest initiative is all about figuring out what kinds of things a shopper likes and then tailoring their homepage recommendations accordingly, much as Netflix and YouTube do in selecting content for your main feed.
Though shoppers initially guide eBay’s recommendations by answering a few questions, the platform then uses that information to apply its curated categories and uncover things they might like.
“Our shopping experience should be as individual as each shopper on eBay,” said Bradford Shellhammer, the company’s head of browse and personalization. “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.”
Interests represents the latest in a long line of announcements from the ecommerce giant. Last week, eBay revealed it was trialing a new responsive web app alongside offline functionality, while it also announced a new augmented reality (AR) feature that help sellers find the right box for their product. The company has also been investing heavily in artificial intelligence (AI), including computer vision tools, and has hired Jan Pedersen from Twitter to spearhead these AI efforts.
eBay said that these latest personalization features would be expanding onto the web and into new countries around the world “in the coming months.”