Deep Dive Into the Retail Personalization Index Top 10: eBay

When Pierre Omidyar founded eBay, Amazon still went by Cadabra and Mark Zuckerberg was in fifth grade. The marketplace has been around for so long, it seems like they practically invented many of today’s popular ecommerce techniques.

eBay can be difficult to navigate, given the ever-changing and unpredictable inventory. Clothes, electronics, antiques, media: It’s all there. A businessman even bought Bridgeville, California, on eBay for $1.77 million in 2002. So of course, personalizing the customer experience is a priority.

eBay was a strong contender in the first Retail Personalization Index, though we saw room for improvement. Product recommendations were a bit too heavy on website activity and didn’t incorporate as much other consumer data as we would have liked. However, eBay has really upped their game over the last year. They’ve improved personalization by learning more about customers in an extremely simple, yet effective, way: Asking them.

eBay’s Curation-Based Personalization

Interests, a recent addition to eBay’s mobile app (which got a perfect 15 points, by the way) shows app users different categories, asking them to tap the ones they like. That allows the company to curate their massive catalog. This improves their ability to make relevant recommendations to all customers, not just the most regular shoppers. It’s also helped eBay evolve from strictly making category recommendations. Now, they mix it up in order to promote more product discovery.

eBay - Daily Deals

The website is equally personalized. When someone logs on, they’ll see a unique landing page filled with recommendations based on products and categories they’ve previously searched for or purchased. It’s a great example of browse abandonment to go with an expert cart abandonment strategy.

For eBay, that increased focus on personalization is paying off. Most retailers improved their Index scores over the last year. eBay was right there with them, maintaining fifth place. Oh, and it’s also paying off financially. Tom Pinckney, the company’s VP of Applied Research, recently told Venture Beat that artificial intelligence drives more than $1 billion in sales each quarter.

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