Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

eBay turns to you and Google to help with holiday shopping

Google can do a lot of things, from finding info about practically anything to serving up mail and music. And with the help of eBay, it will even be able to choose a gift.

Australians have quite a few options to turn to when it comes to finding the right present. There’s the traditional brick and mortar stores we pass every day to work and home, the online shops we favour, and even the massive eTailers like Amazon that manage to surprise and slightly fizzle (though they will get better).

And then there’s eBay, which has announced that today — December 11 — will likely set new records for people shopping on a mobile on its website, estimating more than 2.7 million people will visit eBay Australia, with well over half (1.8 million) doing so through mobile devices.

These estimations come from eBay’s history, which has been tracking shopping purchases for as long it has been around, and December is the biggest shopping season, hardly a surprise, I’m sure.

However eBay expects it will track shopping behaviour through mobiles aggressively at night, with the fifteen minutes between 9 and 9.15pm resulting in eight items being purchased every second. To that end, eBay predicts that a toy will sell every three seconds as will a piece of jewellery, a pet care item every nine seconds, a Star Wars item every 60 seconds, and an electronic item every second. Yikes.

Buying the gift you want is one thing, however, but finding it is something completely different, and so to help, eBay has teamed up with the Google Assistant to build a virtual gift finder, running you through a series of questions to find the right gift, and then linking you to them on eBay.

To start, you just need the Google Assistant on something — your phone, a tablet, a Google Home — and say “Hey Google, ask eBay to find a gift”, and Google will kick into gear, load the questions, and help narrow down the sort of things needed for that buyer.

“We know inspiration can come from anywhere, at any time, so we’ve partnered with Google to open up new and intuitive ways to search and shop,” said Gavin Dennis, Chief Financial Officer and Head of Retail Insights at eBay.

“eBay has a long-standing history as an innovator in Australia, continually looking for ways to enhance the customer experience,” he said, adding that “eBay was the first marketplace to offer voice assisted shopping, and the expansion of our partnership with Google to create the eBay Gift Finder shows the remarkable power of this technology for the retail landscape”.

“We are launching the eBay Gift Finder today, because we know there’s always that one person who is difficult to buy for and we want to simplify the process, helping people when they don’t know where to start,” said Dennis.

We’re not sure how long eBay will keep this tool around, mind you, though we can’t imagine it would necessarily stop working after this holiday period is over, since finding a gift can be difficult at all times, not just the holiday season. Still, if you’re curious about how it works, you know who you need to talk to, and she’s just on the end of an app or a Google Home-product.

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