EBay launches beta test of new generative AI tools for sellers

The company currently has more than 20 billion images in its index that CPO Eddie Garcia said could be leverage by AI.
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· 3 min read

If last year was the year of resale, then this year is the year of AI. Now, there’s a crossover.

EBay has released in beta a plug-in that, through generative AI, allows sellers to automatically generate text for their item descriptions based on product attributes, which helps cut down on the time and effort required to list item.

EBay is no stranger to using AI and deep learning models, but generative AI—the technology used in services like ChatGPT—is the next frontier for eBay, which aims to streamline the listing process for sellers, and the company in the future will integrate more applications to better curate niche products for its buyers.

“AI and deep learning has been infused throughout eBay. I think the difference in the last six months has been the dawn of the large language models that make this very conversational,” Eddie Garcia, eBay’s chief product officer, told Retail Brew. “The AI can create content, it can create images, it could write a description for the item. That's the new innovation.”

How it works: eBay’s sellers can ask the AI to suggest a description of the product, which is actually one of the most difficult aspects of selling on eBay, Garcia said.

He said the feedback thus far has been extremely positive, and the company will examine a number of metrics to determine its effectiveness, including:

  • How often sellers accept the recommended description.
  • How often sellers edit the description.
  • The conversation rate of the items that go through the process.
  • Buyer satisfaction of the items after purchase.
  • Return rates and issue rates of those products.
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“We want this to be the simplest place to go and sell anything and create economic opportunity,” Garcia said. “There is a little bit of a learning curve, but we're going to create such simple, magical experiences that it's going to be very easy.”

Big, big data: Ebay is seen as a hub where enthusiasts can find certain types of products that would be difficult or impossible to buy in a traditional retail store. Garcia said eBay plans to leverage its vast bank of shopping data going back 28 years to enhance the customer experience as well.

  • For example, there are currently more than 20 billion images in eBay’s index that AI can use to extract insights into what shoppers want or even create better product images—another critical component when it comes to closing a sale and a customer moving on to the next product.
  • Garcia mentioned that vehicle parts and accessories are a huge part of eBay’s business, given the high number of car enthusiasts. He said newer enthusiasts could use generative AI to suggest specific upgrades, such as a better exhaust system or a new spoiler, to any make or model of car.

“In the next few years, we're going to start seeing commerce experiences that seemed like science fiction a few years ago,” Garcia said. “And the capabilities are catching up…This is about unlocking the potential of people's imagination, and I think we’re on the cusp of starting to bring that to life.”

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