Alexia Lefeuvre, Communications Manager, PriceMinister

Everyone has a corner in their house where things pile up waiting to be given away or sold. In the past, flea markets or newspaper classifieds pages were the usual forum for such sales. Nowadays, it’s online C2C marketplaces. But, even as the technology has changed, it seems the effort required to complete such sales has not. Online markets still require you to take photos, compose appealing product descriptions and find the appropriate categories…

Now, to help us more efficiently turn our piles of old stuff into piles of new cash, PriceMinister has joined forces with the Rakuten Institute of Technology in Paris. Their solution is called Quicksell and it takes advantage of the latest image recognition and artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

For some time, PriceMinister has offered a barcode scanning function with which sellers can use a webcam to simplify the product registration process. Now that scanning function has been taken to a new level. Using a smartphone and the PriceMinister app, sellers can identify and register products simply by taking their photo.

The seller simply clicks on “Sell” in the app, takes a photo of the product they want to sell, and then Quicksell automatically assigns it to its appropriate category. The seller then just needs to hit “Confirm,” and their work is essentially done. Not only does this feature save time, it also allows sellers to sell more products more efficiently. Customers shopping on PriceMinister also benefit from more accurate categorization of products and therefore a more transparent, entertaining and expedient shopping experience.

Developed by the Rakuten Institute of Technology (RIT) in Paris, this new feature is based on the latest deep learning technology, a branch of machine learning that is part of AI. The algorithm continuously improves, learning how products should be categorized just from their photographs. The more knowledge the machine gains, the more intelligent and useful it becomes.

“Mobile is now the perfect media to sell quickly and efficiently. With Quicksell, PriceMinister-Rakuten significantly simplifies this process, which can be time consuming for the seller. The buyer can also rest assured that products are categorized correctly and their searches will yield high-quality results,” says Olivier Mathiot, CEO of PriceMinister-Rakuten.

The idea behind this project was to create synergy between the research and development team and an actual business case, and to target a greater audience with disruptive innovation that can be used everyday to change the way we sell online.

Quicksell is currently only available for iOS, which represents the majority of users on PriceMinister-Rakuten. Interestingly enough, most of those iOS users also belong to the recently introduced PriceClub membership system. PriceMinister-Rakuten will do some intense testing with iOS users before rolling out the function in the Android app in the near future.

Thanks to the work of the RIT, PriceMinister-Rakuten is also planning new evolutions of this function in the coming months.

Now it’s time to finally make some space in your home. Grab your phone and get going. After all, it’s never been so easy.