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eBay Shows Off the Power of Its Data with Comics

If eBay was a superhero, its special power would be identifying shopping trends, it seemed to indicate in a post on its corporate blog on Tuesday. eBay bragged it can see what people are looking for and what they’re buying, and it backed up its claims with data about comic book heroes and villains, part of a tie-in with the popular Comic Con convention taking place this week in San Diego.

“Thanks to eBay’s vast search data, we’re able to not only find out what people are looking for, but also what they’re purchasing.” eBay provided two charts, the first taking a look at sales data going back to 2006. It found Star Wars leads among the largest franchises with the most merchandise sold – nearly $600 million in sales – since 2006. One Star Wars-related item is sold every 14 seconds on eBay.

eBay revealed Batman ranks number two at $216 million in sales, and Transformers ranked number three with $178 million.

eBay then took a look at search behavior and found more shoppers searching for merchandise related to Deadpool and Captain America than traditional classics, Superman and Batman.

It published a second chart showing, “what will be big at Comic Con International 2016,” based on data showing the growth in buyers over the past 12 months on eBay. The top three: Mr. Robot, Preacher, and Suicide Squad.

eBay’s fascination with data goes beyond marketing – it’s acquiring artificial intelligence and machine learning technology through acquisitions of Expertmaker and SalesPredict.

eBay Chief Technology Officer Steve Fisher also said this week eBay was overhauling its site and would be relying on machine learning to improve the shopping experience. He provided the following example:

“Consider the example of a shopper looking for a digital camera. She will see a page where digital cameras are served to her at different price points, arranged by brand, condition or by generation. She’ll discover the latest deals and the best selling digital cameras. She’ll be able to do research using our editorial content guides, product reviews, question and answers – everything she needs to identify the right listing for her, at the best price. She’ll also get intelligent recommendations on whatever she might want to buy next – a camera bag, or a better lens perhaps.”

You can find eBay’s “comic data” on the company’s corporate blog.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.