eBay will give sellers the option to create entire product listings from just a photo using a generative AI tool, the company announced on Thursday. eBay believes the AI-driven product listings will accelerate the selling process, especially for new merchants who might feel overwhelmed by all the details they need to provide.
The new tool uses pictures uploaded by sellers to fill in details like a product title, description, item category, and other key information a buyer might want to know. Right now, it’s available only in the iOS app, and according to TechCrunch, it will be available on Android in the coming weeks.
As someone who spends a lot of time on eBay, I’ll be the first to say that the platform is sort of like the Wild West when it comes to shopping. Product listings often have typos or lack information, and descriptions can be three words or three paragraphs, depending on the seller. AI-generated listings could make the information about items more consistent or robust — but then again, sellers tend to be very responsive to questions, at least in my experience.
The image-based generation tool isn’t the company’s first foray into generative AI. The company recently began offering a pared-down version of the new tool that generated a product description based on other details a seller had inputted. As TechCrunch points out, sellers have complained about the quality of the text that’s being generated.
Having played around with the earlier version of the tool myself, I have to agree. When I experimented with it, the result was stilted, cliché language that added more words but nothing very useful. My initial description included a note about the condition of a vintage clothing item and a misleading size tag, but the AI tool removed that information that a potential buyer would probably want to know. In the end, the AI description tool didn’t save me any time — and if left without edits, I’d expect a complaint from whoever ends up purchasing my item.