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High street chains access eBay's data on consumer habits

19 August 2013 - 13:33 by Graham Miller

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Online auction giant eBay is creating a new scheme that is intended to benefit high street retailers and consumers alike.

Known as the Retail Associate Platform, it basically means that shopping assistants at real world stores will be able to see information about the habits and tastes of consumers based on their activities with eBay's e-commerce site.

This is not some kind of covert program that compromises customer privacy, but instead a service which eBay users with PayPal accounts will need to opt into, so that they can take full advantage of its potential benefits.

As well as being able to see what products people have previously purchased via safe shopping online, the high street retailer will also get information about the typical size and colour of item that a person usually purchases.

This means that it will be possible to work out whether they actually have appropriate products in stock, without having to rifle through the back room, while also being able to recommend other suitable high street stores to customers which may be able to meet their needs.

Customers will be able to use their smartphones to check in when they visit a bricks and mortar store and it should make it easier for them to enjoy a bespoke experience, which emulates the benefits and levels of choice of shopping online, according to Marketing Week.

This week eBay also published the findings of a report which it commissioned, showing that 85 per cent of high street retailers lack the ability to offer any degree of customisation for the kinds of experiences that modern consumers receive in-store.

It is clearly hoping to capitalise on this deficit through the creation of this new scheme and could help to improve the high street's chances of survival.