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The Entertainment Shop demo’s eBay’s latest image search technlogy

By Chris Dawson September 13, 2017 - 11:10 am

I’m massively impressed with eBay‘s new ‘The Entertainment Shop‘ which we wrote about recently, but probably not for the reason you might first think.

eBay’s play for Amazon’s core categories

Obviously it’s a bit play for Amazon’s traditional playground. Amazon billed themselves as ‘The world’s biggest bookstore’ at launch and rapidly expanded into media in the early days to sell CDs, DVDs (and back then videos in VHS and Betamax formats). It was in later years that Amazon expanded into other categories and even today, whilst they’ve a massively broad range of goods from Amazon Retail and from third party merchants, their breadth still isn’t as expansive as eBay.

eBay are however going for Amazon’s founding categories in a big way and the tech they’ve got on display is impressive as it runs way deeper than just flogging media.

Fashion image search in eBay’s media shop

Currently, The Entertainment Shop has a hero promotion for Season 10 of ‘The Big Bang’. Nothing unusual there you might think as it’s just the type of content you’d expect to see. However beneath is another graphic showing the cast of The Big Bang and that’s where it gets interesting.

If you hover your mouse over the graphic, many of the items of clothing the cast are wearing are shoppable. I’ve been monitoring it for a few days and this isn’t a hand curated selection of clothes and as items end on eBay they’re automatically replaced with similar items. You’ll also be pleased to hear it’s not a selection curated from brands selling on eBay, I’ve spotted items from sellers with under 1,000 feedback so if you’re images are good then there’s a chance that your products could be included.

The Future of shopping – Image Search

This is interesting technlogy and currently is overlaid on an image, but it’s an insight into shopping of the future. eBay have already announced that image search is coming in the Autumn (at least on eBay.com) and this is just the type of shopping experience that can revolutionise the web in the future.

Imagine that you look at any image and instead of having pre-selected touch points you can crop to the fashion item (or indeed an item) that’s of interest and then use eBay to search for that product. Then imagine that it might not be an image but perhaps you’re watching a movie which you freeze and search for an item in the film that’s of interest to you on eBay.

There’s a long way to go before being able to search for absolutely anything from an image or film is possible, but eBay are right up there at the forefront of developing the technology which will be able to do this in the future. Mobile shopping is where eBay excelled a decade ago and there’s not been a seismic shift in the way we shop since. Sure you can perform voice search but that’s just an alternative way of inputting a text search as opposed to using a keyboard. There’s barcode search but that pre-supposes you have the product and packaging in front of you. Image search where eBay (or another platform) can find items purely based on what you can see is the future.

  • SAM
    2 weeks ago

    That is actually pretty cool. I am a bit concerned about this just being for the big chains as normal, but if there are smaller traders this gives us some hope., but I will hold my breath with eBay.
    When Hattrell was looking for feedback we emailed him about media and eBay, and said they needed to shape up a bit and get a LOT more competitive on fees as they are way too expensive (FVF, Shop fee, Promo fees, paypal fees) . You cannot make any money on some new releases.
    I do not even sell hardware on marketplaces the margins do not exist.
    Now with Amazon using media as a door buster and selling at a loss and pumping everyones fees up in my cat 50p in August it is starting to show up in prices now. Eventually eBay if it does it on PRICE could WIN back some customers, it was always my preferred channel but they need to cut the FEES and by half at least.

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