ebay Adds Machine Learning to Enhance Email Marketing Platform
eBay, the American multinational e-commerce company, has recently incorporated Machine Learning to improve its email marketing capabilities. In an interview with eMarketer, Alex Weinstein, Director of Marketing Technology and Customer Relationship Management (CRM), explains how Machine Learning will help eBay in personalization. eBay’s traditional approach in reaching the prospects over the years has been batch-and-blast email. eBay recently changed the approach to catering the customer expectations by building its own personalization platform.
In the interview, Alex commented that eBay wanted to focus more on one-to-one personalization, and traditional email marketing methods couldn’t do that. Alex quoted, “We needed to reinvent our strategy to be more customer-focused and treat each customer as an individual, rather than a member of a group [of millions].”
On how the personalization will help eBay, Alex said that depending upon the browsing history of the customer, machine learning model would search all the virtual buckets and offer best of the deals to the customer on the website. eBay has developed the platform in-house, and Alex says the company couldn’t find a vendor who could build such a huge platform owing to the scale of the company that has around billion items listed on the website and 167 million active buyers.
During the interview, he said that real-time data pipeline will help marketing campaigns. Based on the real-time activity of the customer (buying or browsing), certain triggers embedded in the system will be set. Triggers are applicable to items and customers. Customer will receive an email when the price for a particular item changes that he/she has previously viewed. Alex said that eBay faced a major problem when customers opened the mail late, and until that time, the item had already been sold. To tackle this, eBay has started using real-time data that would enable them to offer the most relevant ad at the time customer opens the mail, and not at the time when eBay sends it. eBay’s mechanism will allow changing the ad slot every 20 milliseconds in the mail.
eBay has also used personalization in not just emails, but also in their display ads by connecting display stack to the real-time data pipeline. eBay is also developing a cross-channel Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.