Tuesday, 16 October 2012

New eBay search feature to dramatically alter seller performance

We at eSellution have been looking at how eBay are set to replace their search engine system "Voyager" with a new search engine named "Cassini." The idea behind the new search engine is to give buyers a new way to personalise their search results. However, while this personalisation is good for the buyer, it could seriously harm the ability for an eBay store to make sales. 

One of Cassini's biggest features allows buyers to rank their search results based on four different criteria: trust, value, diversity and relevance. For example, if a customer wants more variety but has less of a priority on price, they will choose to have the diversity factor to be more relevant than value. However, if the cost of a product is the most important factor to a buyer, they will choose to prioritise price over any other factor. This new feature could help some stores increase their sales but seriously harm others. How popular your store becomes in terms of search result relevance is going to be entirely dependant on what a buyer's shopping habit is and as some stores traffic comes primarily from search results, some stores could see a dip in not only traffic but any subsequent sales. 

The trust factor within the new search engine looks at a number of different things to do with a particular eBay store. Cassini not only looks at the seller rating for a specific eBay store, but also searches through all of the feedback for that store to look for any positive and negative words. These words, when combined with the seller rating, will determine how high a user's store will appear within a specific search engine when the results a filtered so that "Trust" is the most important. This new algorithm for determining a store's trust levels, will also be used are part of eBay's scheme on putting a stop to fraudulent sales on the marketplace.

The fact that buyers are now able to personalise their search results, may now see eBay cutting back the total number of results that are displayed to a user when they carry out one of these searches. The question many ecommerce stores within eBay now have is simply, if eBay's new search engine will tailor a buyers search results, why should some online stores be paying seller fees when their products aren't even being displayed with the majority of results? If they do decide to make this change in terms of the number of results appearing within a search engine, it could potentially see the removal of not only seller fees but also the detailed seller rating.

As many customers are always looking for the best possible deal they can get, any store with lower prices than their competitors are always going to see a strong level of traffic and sales no matter what ecommerce software they may be using. This feature has been in testing for a few years and is set to be launched some time in 2013.

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