mobile Retail

eBay launches personalized feature tailoring homepage to individuals

eBay Interests
eBay Interests

eBay has launched Interests, a feature that allows individual shoppers to have a tailored experience based on their passions, hobbies and style.

Currently available on the marketplace’s app and soon to launch on desktop, Interests generates a curated homepage based on a combination of user likes and dislikes and data on their individual patterns of shopping and browsing. To participate, users must answer a few questions on their hobbies and interests, such as what their favorite activities are and how they would describe their personal style.

“Our shopping experience should be as individual as each shopper on eBay,” said Bradford Shellhammer, head of browse & personalization for 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.”

eBay Interests
eBay Interests

Over the last few years, eBay has been investigating different ways to make shopping on the platform more relevant for consumers who may find themselves overwhelmed with choice, or frustrated that they cannot find what they visit the site for.

In 2011 it acquired Hunch, a tech company that developed a mechanism to provide tailored recommendations; last summer, the Image Search and Find it on eBay features were introduced to enable app users to take or upload images to the platform instead of searching via text; and in late 2017, the Grouped Listings feature was launched to allow shoppers to condense similar offerings in the search results so it is easier for them to find what they want. It also has a chatbot that aims to help users with discovery.

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eBay and Myer Australia team up on virtual reality shopping experience


eBay has launched a virtual reality department store in partnership with Australian retailer Myer that enables consumers to explore and shop products merely by using their eyes.

Rather than a replica of an actual store itself, the experience is almost like stepping inside the internet; a networked connection of 3D products and their descriptions floating in the ether. The user is able to navigate and select which items they want to find out more information about as well as add to basket, by hovering over them with their eyes for a certain number of seconds.

This “Sight Search” technology was developed by eBay in a bid to make the VR shopping experience as straightforward and fast as possible, reports Mashable. Through use, the company also intends to gain data on consumer preferences and behaviours that will help inform the future development of the platform, as well as rules around how best to push product in such a new format.


At this point, the app, which works with headsets including Samsung’s Gear VR, as well as Google Cardboard (of which eBay and Myer are offering 20,000 of their branded “shopticals” version for free), doesn’t win in the highly immersive shopping experience stakes, as a result. But it does speak to what’s possible through such virtual technologies today as well as the increasing influence algorithms are having on the way content is surfaced to users.

Making the experience as tailored as possible to individuals is part and parcel of this initiative from the off – the more consumers select and reject items, the more the VR store learns and adapts to what it thinks they might like, for instance. “What if you could enter a department store that’s just for you – one that has learned about you, adapted to what you like to shop for, and in time it’s personalised its product selections just for you?” questions the video supporting the launch (as below).

At this point in time, the user has to take off the headset and complete transactions via the eBay mobile app on their phones, but the team is aiming to integrate this into the VR itself the future. It’s also exploring how a single user can bring a friend into the experience with them.

Steve Brennen, senior director of marketing and retail innovation at eBay, commented: “Is this the next future of the retail experience? We’re kind of believing now that it could be.”