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eBay Debuts ShopBot for Facebook

eBay Chief Product Officer RJ Pittman posted an announcement on the eBay corporate blog on Tuesday, October 18, 2016, announcing a new service for users called ShopBot for Facebook Messenger:

Powered by Artificial Intelligence and debuting on Facebook Messenger, ShopBot is a smart personal shopping assistant that’s there whenever you need it.

With more selection available to online shoppers than ever before, finding items that are perfect for you and your budget can be time consuming. At eBay, our focus is to help shoppers find their version of perfect and simplify the shopping experience. In addition to major enhancements we’ve been making to our core platform, we’ve also been hard at work on a new commerce experience powered by artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, and human judgement. We’re starting to bring this experience to life with eBay ShopBot, which debuts today in beta on Facebook Messenger.

eBay ShopBot is a personalized shopping assistant that helps people find the best deals from eBay’s one billion listings. Our vision is to make shopping with eBay as easy as talking to a friend, whether you are looking for something specific or just browsing for inspiration.

Shoppers have complex needs, which are often not fully met by traditional search engines. While offline retailers can offer human experts to help, there aren’t enough experts around to help us with everything we want and need.

The science of AI provides contextual understanding, predictive modeling, and machine learning abilities. Combining AI with eBay’s breadth of inventory and unique selection will enable us to create a radically better and more personal shopping experience for virtually anyone that owns a mobile phone.

You can beta test the early beginnings of eBay ShopBot by texting, talking or snapping a picture to tell eBay ShopBot what you are looking for. The bot will then ask you questions to better understand your intent, and make personalized recommendations.

eBay ShopBot still has a lot to learn. While many shopping journeys with ShopBot will be delightful, many of them will also stump the bot and won’t work perfectly at first; that’s the nature of AI. It will learn everyday from shoppers and about the rich inventory in our catalog. The more that people use it, the smarter eBay ShopBot will get. We’re excited to continue iterating, while inviting our customers to help us shape the future of commerce.

We are integrating eBay ShopBot with popular messaging platforms, and debuting on Messenger where more than 1 billion people are having conversations every month.

To join the beta test and say “Hello” please go to shopbot.ebay.com, or just search for eBay ShopBot in Messenger.

To learn more about the science, technology, and vision behind this new platform, and where it goes from here dive into our medium post here.

SourceeBay 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). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.