eBay deploys computer vision to make sellers’ products pop

When it comes to selling stuff online, a decent photo is key in grabbing the attention of shoppers.

With this in mind, eBay is about to launch a new tool for its mobile app that uses computer vision to strip out any distracting background clutter so that the item you’re selling is the center of attention.

Most experienced online sellers already know how to use Photoshop or similar software to create a plain white background for their product, but newbie merchants most likely don’t. But the new feature makes it happen in just a few taps.

How it works

When you go to sell something on eBay, you’ll need to add a photo of the item, or preferably several photos showing it from different angles. Once you’ve uploaded a photo, you’ll see various editing options along the bottom of the display. Tap on the “remove background” icon to the immediate left of the trash can and let eBay’s smarts take over to create a white background. After that you’ll see additional options where you can tweak the image, removing any parts of the background that are still showing (possibly around the edges of the product), or even painting back in bits of the background that you want to remain as part of the shot.

“At eBay, we want to make sure your products stand out from the crowd, both within the marketplace and on external search engines,” the company said in a message announcing the new feature. “Our new background editing feature on the eBay mobile app uses computer technology to make it quick and easy for you to get rid of noisy backgrounds on your product images — no need to pre-edit photos before adding to your listings.”

eBay also makes the important point that having a white background on a product image can help to improve the listing’s visibility on its shopping site as well as on search engines.

We think you’ll agree that a plain white background for your products is far more striking than a cluttered background, or even a plain one such as a coffee table — unless of course you feel it’s important to show your product in context.

The online shopping giant will gradually introduce the feature for mobile during this month and next. To use it, you’ll need to ensure you have the latest version of the eBay app installed on your device (5.39 or newer for iOS and 5.40 or newer for Android).

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