Online shoppers could soon make greater use of eBay delivery services as a result of improved search facilities on the auction website.
The site is developing a new search engine to put it in a better position to compete with web retail giant Amazon, reports Reuters.
One of the aims of eBay's project is to address the fact that many shoppers who cannot quickly find what they are looking for on a particular website will go to a rival site or choose to visit a high street store.
Scot Wingo, chief executive of ChannelAdvisor, a company that helps retailers boost online sales, said the auction platform still has some way to go before its search technology rivals Amazon's.
"Amazon is on version 8.0 of search," he told Reuters. "eBay is at 2.0, but they are thinking about how they make this huge leap to 3.0."
The auction website has been using the same search engine, known as Voyager, for a decade and launched an initiative to improve the system after hiring Mark Carges as its new technology officer in 2008.
There has been a threefold increase in the number of employees working in the area, with new additions to the company's workforce including Hugh Williams, who is overseeing the development of the Cassini engine.
Due to be rolled out in 2013, Cassini will take into account full product listings rather than just titles and match queries to photographs of items for sale.
It will also encompass account information about the seller and buyer, leading to more efficient searches and potentially more purchases and greater use of eBay courier services.
Speaking about the importance of this particular aspect of the online shopping experience in a recent interview, eBay chief executive John Donahoe said: "More customers, plus better search, means people buy more stuff."
Author: Adrian Medland