Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sat Mar 25 2017 22:41:14

Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

eBay CEO Devin Wenig has been talking about the importance of Artificial Intelligence - or AI for short. But using technology to make assumptions about what people are searching for doesn't always work well for the company, and there has been a lot of pushback against "smart" algorithms ever since eBay made "Best Match" the default order of search results.

On Amazon, people want things fast - you could call them "lazy" shoppers - they want to quickly locate a product, check reviews, and check out.

On eBay, many shoppers hunt for products, whether it's from a desire to save money, the thrill of the hunt, or through necessity (items that aren't available elsewhere). Those types of shoppers don't mind investing time in the search process and can get quite frustrated at having eBay serving up what it thinks they want (sometimes based on their past behavior) without the ability to see all items that match their queries. 

How many times have you looked at search results on eBay and realized there must be more relevant listings than what eBay is showing you? 

A better area for applying AI is identifying bad buyers. How well does eBay keep suspended sellers from creating new accounts, for example?

But eBay's interests aren't entirely aligned with that of sellers when it comes to bad buyers. There's little downside to eBay when buyers abuse the returns process, for example. eBay gets rewarded for sales (through its Final Value commission fees), and if buyers unjustly file claims, it isn't eBay that has to pay for return shipping and risk getting back a broken or phantom return.

Since eBay doesn't own the inventory on its site, imagine if it did a better job aligning its interests to sellers? What if eBay had to pay sellers a small fee - even if it were only a penny - any time a buyer made an unreasonable or fraudulent claim?

Wouldn't eBay work harder to make sure that buyers paid attention before pressing the buy button and behaved themselves throughout the transaction? Those pennies would add up, and it might provide eBay employees an incentive to reduce bad selling experiences.

The challenge would be building a system that could measure such instances accurately - and that's where eBay could turn to AI.




Comments (91) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay   Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sat Mar 25 23:29:37 2017

How in the world could eBay know what I'm looking for?

I change my mind more then a women in a shoe store!

STAY OUT OF MY HEAD, YOU DON'T BELONG THERE!

PS: eBay's FVF on shipping is criminal. They know how much shipping is and could easily fix sellers who overcharge. . .

Perminate Link for Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay   Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Sat Mar 25 23:35:46 2017

Great points, Ina.

The site should at least have enough support people in place to ''listen'' to return requests or claim problems on an individual basis, either by a phone call or e-mail.

Fortunately, I have not have a great deal of return fraud cases. But, as mentioned on ECB many times, there are cases of when obvious buyer fraud occur, and eBay staff is somehow trained to turn a deaf ear.

So obvious, that e-mails where the buyer even admits they are flat-out lying are not even looked at. Or instances where someone sends back a box of rocks. Or swaps out their junk item for your working example.

And how about those who claim their package never arrived, you refund them to avoid a defect, and you see that same one of a kind item unashamedly re-listed on eBay?!?

With the sudden proliferation of e-commerce scammers from another continent (I will leave it at that), the problem of buyer fraud will quickly worsen.

A check of Amazon lately (and also mentioned in this blog in the last few days) proves this fact. And eBay certainly should be ready.

Whether by artificial or organic intelligence, there has to be an effort put forth to combat scammers and others who ''work the system''. This is not about just the two big players, but all of e-commerce.

Perminate Link for Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay   Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sat Mar 25 23:42:21 2017

Question: "How many times have you looked at search results on eBay and realized there must be more relevant listings than what eBay is showing you?"

It only took one time to realize that when I found something I was looking for, listed on eBay, via a Google search. When I tried to find the item again, starting on eBay, and using the exact title that had displayed when found through Google, the item failed to show up on eBay. (I then went back to Google, found the listing, and bought it that way.)

I'm sure eBay has no trouble identifying bad buyers, but actually doing something constructive with that information is where eBay falls short. eBay needs to permanently suspend any buyer who scams, or attempts to, a seller. I would also like to see them suspend any Non-Paying Bidder after two failures to pay. Until eBay cleans up the massive fraud that exists on the site, they will continue to stagnate like they have over the last couple of years.    

Perminate Link for Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay   Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay

by: BobNJ This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 26 01:23:30 2017

I look at 2 or 3 specific categories on eBay daily if not several times a day. One category I can go directly to the current listing and see exactly what has been added with the latest listings at the top of the list.

One other category shows me Hot This Week and a scattering of items. I have to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to find the View All Results button that finally gets me to the page I want showing all the latest additions. There doesn't appear to be ANY WAY to save a search to get around these eBay suggestions in that category.

I don't want to see the things that have been listed for months, I only want to see what's been added recently. eBay's "suggestions" are just a waste of time and in fact I tend to not view that particular category as often as the other categories that do work the way I want. So I'm probably missing things I might have bought and sellers are loosing out.

Perminate Link for Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay   Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay

by: alaska This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 26 03:42:08 2017

eBay has completely ruined the search experience. They change your search results "0 results found in the Collectibles category, so we searched in all categories." That is one of the WORST things that eBay ever did! PLEASE bring back the "return to original search" option, so that I can bookmark my original search. And the free relists in the antiques and vintage collectibles categories are a nightmare. Buyers of antiques and vintage collectibles are quitting eBay because the policy of nearly unlimited free relists has swamped eBay with so much stale, overpriced, or just plain boring items, that it's not worth the effort to find a desirable item among the hundreds of items that are relisted every week and never sell. The free listings enable the sellers to stick to their unrealistic pricing while cluttering the search results of the buyers and making the buyers’ searching experience miserable. We buyers have repeatedly begged eBay for an optional filter to keep the relists out of our search results. EBay is not interested in fixing this problem and they see new merchandise as their future.  

Perminate Link for Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay   Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 26 07:01:54 2017

As long as Ebay keeps patting itself on its back and wall street keeps congradulating them nothing will ever change.

Ebay thinks of nothing but the bottom line.

Even the government (national and local ) are buffaloed by Ebay corrupt operating ways.

Until the sellers and buyers wake up and stop using Ebay it and its vile ways will continue to polute the internet.

Sellers whine about this and that but they continue to list. Buyers are looking for free deals and there are plenty of them on Ebay with the current rulers in command.

Ebay isn't capable of doing anything else as its to ingrained in their thinking. AL is just another way of saying WE OWN THE LANDSCAPE, YOU PLAY BY OUR RULES.

Perminate Link for Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay   Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 26 08:55:27 2017

eBay HAS to rely on AI, because it's become all too apparent across the board they lack even a competent supply of the real thing.

Perminate Link for Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay   Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Sun Mar 26 09:16:48 2017

It's for sale on Ebay ?
WHAT'S WRONG WITH IT ?
More busted junk for lots of money.
Shifty sellers with deceiving photos.
Young sellers without a clue, too lazy to do the research, passing their contagion of ignorance around to each other.
Sellers with more than 5 negatives in a month still doing business.
It's a MESS.
I had $1,000 to spend, I'll put it in the bank now.

Perminate Link for Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay   Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sun Mar 26 10:47:18 2017

@ Alaska

"We buyers have repeatedly begged eBay for an optional filter to keep the relists out of our search results."

Who is "we", you and Bob are the only 2 eBayers I have ever heard complain about this.

Sellers like myself are smart enough to fool eBay into thinking a listing is fresh and new.

A filter you talk about would just be worked around by changing a few words and removing or adding a picture.

Relists are OK, as my buyer for my widget didn't need it last month but needs it this month.

If searching was easy eBay treasure would be easy pickens, THOSE DAYS ARE OVER!

A good searcher can find GREAT deals on eBay. . .

Perminate Link for Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay   Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sun Mar 26 10:50:14 2017

@ feelingfroggy

"Until the sellers and buyers wake up and stop using Ebay it and its vile ways will continue to polute the internet."

Hard to do when 95% of my income comes from eBay!

Perminate Link for Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay   Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 26 11:08:28 2017


I have not bought anything on eBay for years. to hard to find what I want. so much easier on amazon. plus amazon is usually cheaper.

Perminate Link for Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay   Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 26 12:31:25 2017

@theend

Me thinks you need to use the back button more often. Funny how well it works.

Perminate Link for Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay   Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 26 12:32:35 2017

Who I'm employed eith..they get a special return program..if a buyer opens a snad when it clearly isn't all we do is allow the return but deduct the shipping from the refund.

Not sure who gets this program..my personal account does not.

As for AI..showing buyers what ebay wants them to see instead of what they are looking for is rediculous..also..showing buyers items by geography is stupid yoo..they go online to see what's out there not what's near them that is the whole point of online.

EBay is clueless

Perminate Link for Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay   Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 26 14:50:49 2017

So the man with NO intelligence wants to get some artificial intelligence?

What? to help since he has none??

Its not about intelligence or eBays lack of it ... its simply - the people in charge have ZERO experience in runnig an ecommerce company, PERIOD.

Go google their names, read their resumes - they may be good lawyers and money people, but they arent ecommerce people.

eBay cant succeed until people who know what they are doing run the company, and they GET SERIOUS about moving boxes - which is what this business is all about.

If auctions make money - then support them. If buy it now makes money then support them.

Show ALL relevant listings - stop trying to think for people.


You wouldnt let your gardener do you kids kidney operation, so why let morons run an ecommerce ??comapny?

Perminate Link for Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay   Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Sun Mar 26 15:13:31 2017

Feeling Froggy :o)

Perminate Link for Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay   Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Sun Mar 26 15:24:59 2017

On Ebay, the prices are so high not only is there "No Meat Left On the Bone", but it's a losing proposition right out of the gate.

Perminate Link for Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay   Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay

by: Scotty This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 26 17:40:58 2017

"Actual Intelligence" would be a start...

Perminate Link for Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay   Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Sun Mar 26 18:12:25 2017

This month I've had the most watchers in years but they're all turning out to be penniless, fake, or redirected at checkout.

Perminate Link for Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay   Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sun Mar 26 19:37:56 2017

@pace306

eBay could hire Meg Whitman, she has 10 years experience running eCommerce business

eBay could also hire John Donahoe, he has 7 years experience running an eCommerce business

In your opinion who should eBay hire? Who's available for the job that YOU would be happy with?

Maybe Marvin Ellison or Edward Lampert?

Perminate Link for Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay   Artificial Intelligence Won't Save eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Beanie

Sun Mar 26 21:10:53 2017

@Toolguy, you mean Donahoe had 7 years RUINING Ebay. Most of the stupid stuff he and his cohorts dreamed up are things sellers are dealing with today. Wenig and his bunch are carrying on with the madness Donahoe started.

Click to view more comments
1 2 3 4 5  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.