During online shopping sessions, consumers don’t always rely on the very same tools to make their shopping decisions. With diversified types of shopping experiences in mind, eBay is unveiling several types of new browsing modules and search features that go beyond traditional approaches. eBay’s search platform is getting several enhancements throughout 2016 that will help shoppers find the best items for them.
Both the new browsing modules and the search enhancements leverage structured data, which is the essential foundation for how eBay is building out the world’s best shopping platform. Among other advantages it brings, structured data allows users to shop across a whole spectrum of value, where some users might desire great savings, while others may want to focus on, say, best selling products.
“Our new browsing modules provide users with extra levels of guidance and more flexibility in surfacing the most relevant items for them,” said Dominique Bouchon, eBay’s Director of Search Front-End Product Management, in a recent story. “For example, the modules expose ‘shop by brand’ options, great savings, and best selling products, all by leveraging our structured data. Structured data is the key to unlocking this new experience, as it allows our platform to reveal patterns in buying and selling.”
While the new browsing modules allow for shopping experiences that emphasize browsing by brand and more, there is still a big audience on eBay that counts on search for surfacing items. According to Dan Fain, Vice President of Shopping Experience, the browsing modules and enhancements to eBay search are deliberately being developed in tandem.
“One of our biggest technical goals this year is to deliver a very robust shared platform for searching and browsing,” Fain said. “By leveraging what we learn, and the data we collect through our new browsing experiences, we’ll be better able to give shoppers relevant ways to narrow down their search sessions.”
“We’re doing this in such a way that customers who are really accustomed to keyword searching, poking around with keywords, can leverage new browsing guidance modules that offer them more suggestions, and vice-versa.”
The search enhancements are starting to roll out now, and there will be many updates through the remainder of the year.
A variety of powerful back-end technologies make the new experiences possible, including the open-source Node.JS framework for user interface, mobile-friendly application program interfaces (APIs) that assemble the content, inventory, and tools, and machine learning that uses eBay’s massive data sets to fine-tune the relevance of the experience to our customers.
Fain emphasizes that the new approaches to search and browse also cater to the fact that shoppers come to eBay from a variety of channels. “They may come from Google or other search engines, and they may find themselves on eBay without a lot of immediate context,” he said. The new browsing guidance models, which can instantly show brands and bargains to explore, can be very helpful in these scenarios. At the same time, these users and others, want robust search capabilities.
All of eBay’s new search, browse and interface improvements advance our strategy to offer the best choice and the most relevance for shoppers. Look for more news on our enhanced browse modules and search innovation in the coming months.