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EBay Refreshes ‘Shop the Look’ for the New Era of AI

“Shop the look” isn’t totally new. But in the age of generative AI, it’s easier than ever to recycle fashion (features).

EBay Refreshes ‘Shop the Look’ for the New Era of AI

EBay rolls out “shop the look” for fashion suggestions and inspiration.

EBay might be the land of broken toys, antiques and just about any car part one could ever need, but it’s also a sprawling peer-to-peer marketplace for apparel, bags and other fashion finds.

Now the marketplace has is leaning into its tech chops to help connect buyers and sellers.

As of Tuesday, eBay iPhone app boasts a generative AI-powered “shop the look” section to help fashionistas on the go discover their next must-have garment or accessory. The technology populates the area with a selection of images that are personalized based on the user’s shopping patterns. Visible dots appear on items that, when tapped, open a range of similar products and inspirations.

Like all AI models, the company’s eBay.ai, which runs the system, learns over time as it’s used. So the more a customer interacts with it or shops the platform, the more it can dial into the person’s tastes, including designer products or secondhand luxury goods.

But to get started, the user must have perused at least 10 fashion products in the last 180 days. This makes plenty of sense, as different people use eBay for different reasons, and it can avoid the awkwardness of foisting a business casual look at a mechanic looking for auto parts.

The new section is part of a broader strategy to help people find what their looking for — even if they don’t know it yet — in a marketplace that heaves with 1.7 billion product listings. For comparison, Amazon’s listings come in at more than 600 million products. Bringing relevant items to the surface and highlighting them in new ways is crucial for any retailer, but separating the signal from the noise is critical for massive online shopping venues.

EBay has been working on this for years now, since it acquired visual search company Corrigon in 2016. Within weeks, eBay Collective, the company’s curated marketplace for home decor, touted a “shop the look” feature for furnishings. In 2020, the platform launched “shop the celebrity look” with Mashable.

Now, it is clearly putting its data science savvy to use once again with some help from the newer breed of generative AI, and it’s a tack that won’t go unnoticed. That’s largely because eBay is placing “shop the look” directly on its homepage, in addition to its fashion section. Eventually, the tech will be deployed for other product categories as well, the company said.

The current update is only available for iOS devices in the U.S. and the U.K., but Android users, take heart. EBay wants you to shop their looks too, with an update planned for later this year.