GenAI powers eBay’s new seller tools 

By April Berthene

July 3, 2024
eBay sellers use Gen AI for background generative artificial

EBay’s casual sellers need sophisticated tools. And generative artificial intelligence is the vehicle to get that job done.  

That’s what the marketplace giant determined last year when it started doubling down on investing in the seller experience for its casual sellers, said Xiaodi Zhang, vice president of seller experience at eBay.  

Most recently, eBay debuted a tool that allows its marketplace sellers to remove the background around the product on a photo, and replace it with a more professional looking background created by generative artificial intelligence.  

This tool can help who Zhang calls casual sellers, or sellers who are neither large brands nor regular at-home sellers who have invested in studio equipment to take photos. In fact, 40% of the gross merchandise volume of eBay’s marketplace sales in Q1 2024 were from used goods, with the other 60% from brands listing new goods, CEO Jamie Iannone told investors according to a SeekingAlpha transcript.  

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a consumer seller or a large brand, we want to make the seller experience as seamless and efficient as possible,” Zhang said.  

Casual sellers may not take the product photos within the context of how consumers typically use the product, or the home background might be distracting. 

How eBay’s genAI background tool works

With the new tool, eBay can remove the background and place the product on a white background, any studio look, any surface type or in different outdoor settings. The tool uses generative artificial intelligence to create the background so no two backgrounds are the same.  

The tool can analyze what the product image is and suggest backgrounds that are often associated with that image. The goal is to have the product image look natural and not like it is floating, eBay said. For example, if a seller is listing a sneaker, the generative AI may recognize that other images of sneakers are often placed on pavement backgrounds and may suggest this as a background. 

Sellers can continue hitting the “generate more” button to view more backgrounds with their products. EBay developed this tool over several months and put parameters in place so the background will be appropriate, the marketplace said.  

The adoption rate for this feature is still low, but early feedback from sellers is positive, Zhang said.

“With the introduction of GenAI, we really saw this as an opportunity to innovate and transform the experience for these consumer sellers,” Zhang said. 

EBay’s new generative AI tool writes social media captions for marketplace sellers

EBay also introduced a tool that allows sellers to use generative AI to write the caption on an organic social media post for a product listing.  

When a seller creates a listing, they can tap if they want to create a post for Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook, and the tool will write the caption and include hashtags and emojis. Sellers can rewrite the caption if they choose, and also schedule the post for the future.

“Hopefully for sellers this saves them time and they can sit back see the traffic increase as their social followers see the listing,” Zhang said.  

For sellers that have used the tool, more than 80% have a high satisfaction rate with it, which is exciting to have this high positive feedback, Zhang said.