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The Challenge

Bring humanity to customer behavior data.


“Everyone, even the CEO, has it downloaded on their iPads.” — Richelle Parham, eBay CMO, in FastCompany.


  • IDEA Bronze for Digital Design in 2013

The Outcome

An app that integrates data, business opportunities, and customer stories to help employees better understand their customers.

Stephanie is a college student. She runs a successful beauty blog and shares new finds with her 20,000 followers. Jennifer is married and lives in Chicago. She considers fashion to be an expression of her identity. How do we know all of this about Stephanie and Jennifer? They’re both eBay shoppers the IDEO team met while designing a better way for the retail giant to get to know their customers.

It’s easy to forget that behind data cells exist flesh-and-blood people. eBay has 128 million buyers and sellers, and wanted to find meaningful stories about real people in order to uncover their wants, needs, and behaviors.

The company partnered with IDEO to create a digital ecosystem that integrates Big Data, business opportunities, and customer stories drawn from IDEO interviews to give employees deeper insight into how and why people use the site.

Everyone, even the CEO, has it downloaded on their iPads.

Richelle Parham, eBay CMO, in FastCompany

The app, which launched in September 2012, is available on desktop and mobile devices to eBay employees worldwide. It’s an easily accessible resource for eBay employees where they can glean insights about their customers by learning about key customer types. The app brings customer needs to life using words, images, and video interviews from select research participants. The power of that experience prompted eBay to overhaul its website, too, giving it a fresh, human-centered appeal.

Desktop and mobile versions of the app allow eBay employees worldwide to easily access data.

Visualizing detailed customer data.

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