September 17, 2019
Disrupting eCommerce

Disrupting eCommerce


[MUSIC PLAYING] LARRY COLAGIOVANNI: Awesome. I am stoked to have
the opportunity today to share a bit about eBay and
how we’re taking advantage of the cloud,
artificial intelligence, and what we call the
fabric of commerce to drive innovation
in this space. EBay continues to be the world’s
largest global marketplace. Our mission is to connect
millions of buyers and sellers around the world, empowering
people, and creating economic opportunity for all. We don’t compete
with our sellers. We are a true marketplace. We offer more breadth
and depth of choice to help people shop
for their passions and find their
version of perfect. Whether it’s inflatable pink
flamingos or new backcountry skis or new laptops
or luxury vehicles, we literally have
it all on eBay. And, no, you don’t have
to sit through an auction to get any of that. The reality is 88% of what
we sell is fixed price and you can buy it right now. And 80% of the inventory
on eBay is new. We have 175 million buyers
in 190 markets shopping our 1.1 billion listings. To give you an idea of what that
looks like, in the US alone, a watch is purchased every five
seconds, a camping and hiking item every six
seconds, a TV, video, or home audio item
every three seconds. You can imagine the scale
of the infrastructure that we have to build
to support that and also the amount of data that
we amass on a daily basis. One of the things I’m
most excited about and count myself very fortunate
to have the opportunity to work on is our eBay for
Charity platform as well. We also like to give
sellers a choice with that. And so sellers can earmark
anywhere between 10% and 100% of their sales proceeds
to benefit a charity. And we’re proud to say that
we’ve raised over $810 million to date for nonprofits
in the US and UK. I worked in the commerce
industry for over 14 years. And I have to say, it is
changing more quickly than I’ve ever seen it in the past. Advances in artificial
intelligence, cloud, and fabric are altering how, where,
and when people shop. The technologies are also
shifting user’s expectations, especially millennials
and Generation Z, and driving the creation of
disruptive new business models, such as subscription
services, direct-to-consumer, and on-demand shopping from the
home, car, and mobile devices. Brands, retailers, small
and medium businesses alike must both recognize
these opportunities and take advantage of them
or risk being left behind. My team at eBay was
created to enable us to innovate with
these new technologies, move fast, and target new
customers without disrupting the experience for
our existing ones. EBay no longer wants to rely
on users coming to our website or downloading our app. Whether it be on Google
Home, in Facebook Messenger, on VR devices, or
on the TV, we want to go where our customers spend
their time today into what we call the fabric of commerce. This is one of the
many ways we’re starting to attract new buyers
and sellers to our marketplace. Last year at Google Next,
we demoed for the first time the voicework we had been
doing with Google Home, helping people find out
how much an item was worth. Since last year, we’ve
continued experimenting with conversational commerce and
expanding our natural language processing capabilities more
broadly on Google Assistant. We’re also using our
AI to help buyers sift through the 1.1
billion items in our catalog to find what they’re looking
for without having to scan through pages and pages
and pages of search results or having to select
a bunch of filters to narrow down the results. We don’t want people
to keep coming back to eBay and every
time entering in, I want a medium shirt,
I want a medium shirt. We want to remember
what your interests are, what size you wear,
and which brands you love to personalize your
shopping experience on eBay and help you more quickly
find what you’re looking for. With shoppers relying on image
search more and more each day to find what
they’re looking for, we also continue to innovate
in the field of computer vision as well. Our billion-plus listings
and all the images associated with them have
given us the training data to create industry-leading
models to predict the leaf category of an image. And since we started using
Google’s advanced TPUs, we’ve been able to improve
the accuracy of those models by 10%. Not only did they help
improve our accuracy, they cut the time it took for
us to create a robust model from about 40 days to four. And with the new TPUs that
were announced earlier today with the v3, we’re
expecting to be able to iterate on those models
in just a matter of hours. Taking advantage
of the cloud TPUs helps us ensure that
our customers see the freshest possible
product listings and find what they want every
time that they shop on eBay. Our work with computer
vision has also enabled us to
start experimenting with augmented, virtual,
and mixed realities as well. A few months ago, we
released a clever solution built on Google’s AR
core platform, which uses augmented reality to enable
our tens of millions of sellers to select the best USPS
flat rate box for items they need to ship. Sellers select a box size, place
the virtual box over their sold item, and move it
around the item to make sure it will
fit inside, helping eliminate the hassle of
finding the right size box for shipping. This was one of the
first of many innovations you’ll see from us in the
AR space in the coming year. We’ve also been hard at
work improving the customer experience for those shopping
on eBay from China as well. We started hosting some
of our infrastructure in Google Cloud in Tokyo, closer
to where our customers are today, which helped improve our
page load times by over 40%. As we iterated on
the experience, one of the biggest challenges
we faced was localizing it. While we tried leveraging
some of the publicly available translation APIs,
they weren’t trained with commerce-specific
data, and thus weren’t accurate enough for the
customers shopping on eBay. So we started training our
own commerce-specific models and built a machine
translation service on Google Cloud that’s
now powering query, title, and description
translation on our site. Training the models with
the commerce-specific data helped us achieve a 50%
improvement in our BLEU scores for query translation
as an example. We learned firsthand what a
challenge building a localized site for China can
be and how that can hold back some retailers
and whatnot from experimenting in the Chinese market. So one of the things
that we’re doing today and we’re excited to
announce is we’re actually making that machine translation
service available externally to all third party developers
through the developer.ebay.com program, so that other retailers
and startups and whatnot can benefit from it as well. We’re starting with
Chinese and we’ll add other languages in the
weeks and months to come. To close, the world
of commerce is undergoing yet another
massive round of disruption. The entire ecosystem
must recognize the shifts in technologies and
behaviors driving the change, and be agile and bold enough
to capture this opportunity. Leveraging the
cloud, AI, and fabric are some of the many
levers we are pulling at eBay to do just that. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC PLAYING]

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