eBay asks consumers what they want
eBay has come up with a straightforward way to fine-tune personalization efforts: asking consumers what they’re interested in.
Available initially on eBay’s mobile app, the offering, called Interests, “tailors your shopping experience based on your passions, hobbies, and style.”
After downloading the mobile app, users are asked to register and sign in “so we can personalize your eBay experience.”
Clicking “What Are Your Interests” brings up four question themes along with a number of categories of interests.
- What do you love? – Tech, Gaming, Pop Culture, My Kids, Pets, Beauty & Grooming, Collecting, etc.
- What are you a fan of? – Movies, NFL, Music, NBA, NCAA Sports, MLB, NHL, Other Sports, etc.
- What’s your style? – Women’s Style, Men’s Style, Home Style, Art & Design, etc.
- What are your favorite activities? – Outdoors, Food & Parties, Sports & Fitness, etc.
Users check off boxes within each category to indicate, for instance, what kind of tech they’re interested in (e.g., smart home, gadgets, remote control toys), what movie genres they’re a fan of (e.g. horror flicks, comedies), what their favorite outdoor activities are (e.g. hiking, downhill skiing) and other more specific interests.
eBay uses algorithms to match the user’s chosen interests with their browsing patterns and purchase insights gleaned from its 171 million active buyers and thereby “transforms their homepage with themes and items chosen just for them.”
While many retail websites offer consumers the ability to support personalization efforts by rating products, eBay’s Interest appears to work most similarly to the Spotify platform that offers a variety of ways for users to explicitly customize their music playlists.
Said Bradford Shellhammer, head of browse & personalization for eBay, in a statement, “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.”
The feature will extend to mobile-web and desktop in coming months.
- Shop Your Interests with New Personalized eBay Experience – eBay
- Tech IRL: Interests – YouTube
- With its new ‘Interests’ feature, eBay again tries to personalize its marketplace – TechCrunch
- eBay’s adding a customized homepage to feature products based on your interests – The Verge
- EBay is learning from Spotify in its bid to make shopping more personal – MarketWatch
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What’s holding back retailers from outright asking consumers their interests as part of their personalization efforts? Do you think Interests will appeal to eBay’s consumers and improve the precision of its personalization offers?