eBay: We have a Hunch what you will want to buy…

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As we try to get a more personalised online shopping experience and social commerce tries to attract more social customers, we try to work out what our customers are going to want next.  And big brands are keen to understand what their customers want So the news that eBay has acquired Hunch tells me that eBay are right on the money with their acquisition.

Hunch is a site that makes decisions based on your interests, likes and dislikes.   Its a bit like the yellow pages but you can see recommendations from your friends and connections.  It builds something it calls a ‘taste graph’ based on your responses.  You can agree or disagree with the results of the graph.  You can recommend products, search for products and see how closely they match your preferences.

Hunch can also mine your actions on social networking sites outside of eBay and use these results to give eBay users a more specialised set of insights and recommendations, hopefully leading to further sales.

Recommendation engines are key to social commerce sites that want to understand their customers buying patterns, and also track their intention or desire to buy.  Tracking customer behaviour will enable eBay to suggest products that fall into the customers ‘desire to buy’ zone making them more likely to complete the purchase… 

Amazon have a simplified recommendation engine for their offerings based on other customers purchases.  If you’ve bought a particular book, then other customers who have also bought that book, have also purchased this one.  Peer recommendations clinch sales so recommendation engines are important to ensure longevity, sales and customer loyalty.

Better recommendation engines will drive commerce sites to build better customer engagement and more targeted web offerings – ultimately leading to more sales for the brand.  

This acquisition is a really good purchasing decision for eBay and we’ll benefit from it as the recommendation engine is refined and implemented… 

Eileen is a social business strategist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.