Gumtree Australia\u2019s first female CTO says the company\u2019s biggest customer-driven shake-up in 10 years has triggered major improvements to its website and technology capabilities.\nGumtree has embarked on a rebrand to coincide with its 10-year anniversary this year. The marketplace connects buyers and sellers in the local community, and is visited on average by more than seven million Australians each month via desktop and mobile sites, as well as iPhone and Android apps.\n \nAccording to recently appointed CTO, Roisin Parkes, a core element of improving the brand offering has been overhauling website functionality to provide both buyers and sellers with a better digital experience. \nParkes came on-board in May as Gumtree\u2019s first female CTO, and took a leading role in the site overhaul. \n\u201cAll of the changes reflect the level of innovation and development that we\u2019ve been doing behind the scenes,\u201d she said. \nAmong the list of features in the new-look website are enhanced interface speeds and a simplified processes for buyers and sellers, 24\/7 support, and a new payment option. There\u2019s also improved search functionality and speed, including make, model, colour attribute selection in cars; clothing and shoe size attributions; smart category redirects for certain keywords; and a photo attachment capability on My Messages. \n\u201cFor the buyer side, we\u2019ve made it much easier to find an item,\u201d Parkes continued. \u201cWe\u2019ve enhanced the attributes in cars that allows you to find an item based on make and model of a car, for example. And within clothing, you can actually find by size now, which is very handy. And we\u2019ve got some smart category redirects.\u201d \nGumtree has also launched a dedicated jobs app, plus a new option to pay with cash or via peer-to-peer payments with PayPal. Customer support, meanwhile, has been beefed up with the introduction of 24\/7 live chat and greater visibility of the customer community support offering onsite.\n \nAs previously reported by CIO Australia, Parkes was hired to be the \u201cvoice of the technology team\u201d and drive the next phase of growth. Her remit includes leading a team in building and deploying scalable tech and product solutions.\n \nParkes said she\u2019s been busy building the tech team, growing headcount from 30 to 40 staff over the past four months with a view to hiring more. She added she\u2019s proud to be a leader in one of the most gender diverse tech companies in Australia, with 50 per cent of the board being women.\nNo caption\nThe latest rebranding and redesign involves what Parkes said is a \u201cmodern and vibrant new look\u201d tested with the Gumtree Australia community. Overall, the goal of the new website functionality was to move to more seamless transactions, Parkes said. \n\u201cIt has been a huge positive experience for me to work in a company where we design and build the actual product itself here for the local Australian market,\u201d she said. \nGumtree is one of the top 20 digital destinations and one of the top shopping apps in Australia, but Parkes has \u201cambitious plans\u201d to crack into the Top Ten list. \n\u201cWith my role as CTO, I\u2019m on the lookout for new talent to attract to our team and new technologies that we could innovate with,\u201d she said. \n \nParkes highlighted augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) space, as well as machine learning, as emerging technologies of interest. She revealed Gumtree has also been experimenting with its own Facebook Bot, GumBot. The chatbot allows users to interact with the GumBot and is already available in FaceBook Messenger. \n\u201cThere\u2019s a lot of work happening - a lot of exciting stuff happening - in that space right now,\u201d she said. \n \nAn exciting use case for these kinds of emerging technologies involves when a seller wants to sell a car and is able to take a 360 photo, both inside and outside the car. \n\u201cFor buyers, it\u2019s a real immersive experience to be able to put on the VR headset and see what it would feel like to be inside a car,\u201d Parkes said. \n \n"So watch this space."