A Peek Into eBay’s Future

By Prinitha Govender | 31 Mar 2017

Last week at Shoptalk, eBay shone the spotlight on some big changes rolling out in the next year, from fast and guaranteed shipping, to recent endeavours in artificial intelligence, fashion shows and ShopBot Beta.

Following two major company announcements earlier that day— guaranteed delivery and a new homepage, CEO of eBay Devin Wenig took the main stage of Shoptalk for a fireside chat with Recode’s Jason Del Rey. Wenig delivered a powerful statement about eBay’s position in e-commerce and our future as a company, touching on the evolution of the retail landscape and how e-commerce fits in; the company’s work using structured data to re-platform eBay’s marketplace; opportunities in artificial intelligence; and its values as a company.

Guaranteed Shipping in 3 Days or Less

With the next few months, eBay will be rolling out its “guaranteed shipping in 3 days or less”, in the US. Basically, when a customer buys an item on eBay, it will guarantee delivery in 3 days or less on 20 million items on its online marketplace, millions of which will ship free. Customers will be able to search and filter for items by 1- and 2-day delivery time.

“We know over 40 percent of online shoppers don’t complete their purchases due to longer than expected shipping times, so we’re also making it easier for consumers to avoid friction through our Guaranteed Delivery program. Online commerce has matured in the last few years to the point where consumers expect fast and free shipping in defined delivery windows,” says Wenig.

Already, 63 %of eBay packages are delivered within three days or less. Now, shoppers on eBay will be able to find these items more easily, including ones that arrive within one to two days. And, if an item doesn’t arrive by the stated delivery date, eBay says it will make it right.

A Refreshed, Sharp Brand

As eBay continues to evolve eBay’s platform, it’s also activating a sharper, more clearly differentiated brand that is globally consistent and relevant and showcases our vibrancy.

“People shop on eBay to express themselves and find incredible value across the vast spectrum of inventory. As we go to market with an updated eBay brand, we’ll also address, and correct, misperceptions and state clearly the eBay we’re building for the future,” says Wenig.

You’ll start to see the eBay brand across multiple communications channels including TV, social, outdoors, and regions worldwide to illustrate its new branding to the world.

A Discovery-Based New Homepage

eBay are also rolling out a new homepage that is powered by the replatforming work it’s been doing, and utilises AI as a core part of this.

“Using structured data – a transformative step to drive discoverability of our vast inventory, insights into supply and demand, pricing trends, among other things – and artificial intelligence, we’re creating a shopping experience that is tailored to each eBay user’s interests, passions and shopping history. With more than one billion items from new, to nearly new to vintage, we’re making shopping on eBay all about you, instead of a one-size-fits-all approach,” says Wenig.

You can expect to see a simpler, more personal and discovery-based buying experience with highly tailored choices and unique selection, helping customers “find their version of perfect, no matter what it is.”

A Personal Shopping Concierge

“As online behaviour among consumers rapidly changes, we’re also building capabilities to meet consumers where they spend the vast majority of their time, including within social networks. We launched eBay ShopBot, an AI-powered personal shopping concierge on Facebook Messenger that helps people find the best deals from eBay’s one billion listings by just chatting with it. Whether you are looking for something specific or just browsing for inspiration, eBay ShopBot will make shopping as easy as talking to your friend.”

Wenig explains that “conversational commerce”, something that eBay refers to, is not the only area where it will continue to experiment. “We’re focusing on the areas that I believe will define the next wave of e-commerce – artificial intelligence and machine learning, virtual and augmented reality, and Internet of Things. These are significant platform shifts —not just new features and gadgets.”

The company says it’s making steady progress in its journey of changing for the better. “We’re moving forward with a bold vision for commerce, an intense focus on execution and a passion to delight our customers.”

“We’ve still got a lot of work ahead of us before we realise the full potential of this amazing company, but the changes will become more and more visible to you. We aim to inspire and delight you, and make eBay an essential place for people to shop and sell.”

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