eBay has unleashed a personalized shopping assistant on Facebook Messenger which it hopes will convert a sizeable chunk of the social networks mammoth audience of 1bn members into customers.
ShopBot takes the form of a personalized assistant which harnesses artificial intelligence to engage people in conversation on what they are interested in buying through text and photos before hotlinking them to relevant sale pages.
Explaining the innovation eBay’s chief product officer R.J. Pittman commented: “We're going to where our users are, versus letting it all play out on eBay.com and our mobile app.”
It is hoped that this will see the platform gain ground on market leader Amazon by enabling eBay to shed its reputation for second hand goods and focus on the deals it can offer on the latest products.
Facebook itself benefits from these interactions by selling ads for its news feed that directs users to a Messenger conversation with the eBay bot as well as other retail partners such as Spring and Everlane.