This Year, Do the Holidays Like Nobody Else

By: Scott Cutler, Senior Vice President, eBay Americas

From top deals on the hottest items to new experiences powered by artificial intelligence, eBay is enabling you to shop differently this holiday season.

Editor's note: This article originally appeared on Scott Cutler's LinkedIn page

We’ve all been there, searching store after store for that perfect gift, only to get stuck waiting in a crowded line to check out. Or finding that great sale online and putting the item in your cart, only to be told it’s out of stock when you go to buy it. And even worse, seeing the look on someone’s face when you give them something they already have.

Holiday shopping can be frustrating. But it doesn’t have to be.

It’s More Than Just Checking Someone Off Your List

The holidays and shopping are invariably intertwined. But they should be about more than hunting deals and standing in lines. They are a personal moment—a time to connect with your family and the people who you love most. A time to think of someone else, and when you give them a gift—give them something that’s thoughtful and unique.  

You can see this point of view reflected in eBay’s latest marketing campaigns, where we’re challenging the mindless way of shopping and fighting beige—or conformity. We want you to shop differently.

We want to enable you to find your perfect gift, no matter what that is. With all the improvements we’ve made in the product and shopping experience, we’re confident that you’ll find that unique and personalized gift on eBay. With more than 1.1 billion listings for sale in our vibrant marketplace, the breadth and depth of our selection is unparalleled, and easier than ever to navigate. And the best part is you don’t need to wait around for Black Friday to snag that big discount.   

Find the Right Gift at the Best Value

At eBay, we’re focused on helping you find the right gift, but also offering it to you at the best value. And we are doing it earlier because research shows that people want to start their holiday shopping earlier. According to a new holiday survey done by eBay across the U.S., we found that nearly half of Americans start holiday shopping well before Black Friday, while 72% shop early because of better gift choices.

We kicked off the holiday shopping season with competitive early deals this year, allowing you to shop the best brands well before the traditional holiday season even begins. We kicked off November with  First Minute deals featuring real bargains from top brands like Adidas, Dyson, Mattel, KitchenAid and more. And this week, we debuted our Don’t Wait for Black Friday campaign, giving you early access to deals on the most coveted Black Friday items before Thanksgiving.

To make sure you’re getting the best price, our Price Match Guarantee extends to more than 50,000 eBay Deals with no blackout periods. Meaning you can get the best value on any eligible deal you find, at any time, 365 days year.

We also know that once you find that item you want at the right price, you expect it to be delivered quickly. That’s why we introduced our Guaranteed Delivery program, which ensures that more than 20 million items in our marketplace will arrive in three days or less. And if that’s not fast enough, you can search for and filter items by 1- and 2-day delivery.

Beyond these fantastic deals, we’re also transforming the shopping experience across the eBay marketplace.

Shop Differently Through New Experiences

You’re hearing a lot of talk about artificial intelligence and machine learning these days. At eBay, it’s more than just talk, it’s integrated into our shopping experience in a very practical way. For example, you can take a photo of an item that catches your eye and use that image to search directly within the eBay app. You will see items that are a close match or visually similar to what you want to buy. Find It On eBay and Image Search let you search with pictures on eBay, making it even easier to find that perfect gift.

When you need a little inspiration for gift giving, you can shop by interests or passion—whether they’re into sneakers or Nintendo—via the new curated interest pages on our platform. We’re customizing the holidays for you, making it as easy a possible to find that perfect gift.

A Destination for This Season’s Most In-Demand Items

The early response from our First Minute Deals has been strong. Right out of the gate on November 1, a smartphone was selling every 5 seconds, while one of our most popular deals—a KitchenAid® 6 Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer for over 55% off—was selling every two minutes.  

But while holiday shopping starts earlier, two of the biggest days of the season are still Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Last year on Black Friday, we sold a Hatchimal every 30 seconds. This year, our search data is indicating a number of hot items, including Fingerlings, Feisty Pets, Nintendo SNES Classic, and Star Wars-related products.

And unlike some of our competitors, when you shop on eBay, you are supporting the millions of small businesses that fuel our marketplace. People like Ciara Brown, owner of the Diamond Hanger, who helped support her way through college by launching a luxury consignment business on eBay. In celebration of Small Business Saturday, we launched a curated shopping experience highlighting the best inventory and deals from our top small business sellers.

Whether it’s deals on the most-in demand items or inspiration for that perfect gift, we’re helping you do the holidays like nobody else. So when you’re holiday shopping this year, don’t just check people off your list. Don’t buy beige. Shop differently—fill your cart with color and draw inspiration from the world around you. And find it on eBay.