eBay held a webinar yesterday in conjunction with ChannelAdvisor covering the fundamentals of appearing in search along with hints and tips for Best Match.
eBay emphasized the difference between Search and Best Match – Search determines which products are selected based on the keywords a buyer searches for. Sellers need to understand what terms buyers use and include popular alternatives in 55 character title. (eg motorcycle/motorbike). Good keywords, along with selecting the best category and item specifics, will avoid your item being filtered out of search results before they’re sorted by Best Match.
Once a set of search results is found they are then sorted with Best Match. For auctions the only criteria for Best Match are DSRs (4.4 or above to avoid demotion) and Ending Soonest.
Fixed price items are sorted in Best Match on a combination of factors which vary by category. Best Match responds to recent buying patterns so it evolves according to which combination of sorting criteria is working best for that particular category, including Recent Sales, title relevance, 30 day DSRs and price.
Recent Sales is the most important factor but does vary by category. Where few multi-quantity items are listed then the title and price become more important. Time ending soonest is not a factor for sorting fixed price items in Best match. If Recent Sales, DSRs and the title can’t distinguish between listings then price becomes the deciding factor in determining the sort order.
The price used in Best Match does not include P&P but reasonable charges will help keep DSRs high and avoid demotion. If any of your DSRs fall below 4.4 then both auctions and BINs are demoted.
Don’t split sales across multiple listings – from January you’ll only be allowed one fixed price listing for each product line you sell. Gaining sales on a single listing over the Christmas period will put you ahead of any competitors still running multiple listings for each product and in a months time they’ll have no listings with large numbers of recent sales.
Recent Sales boosts will be lost when you relist if you: Increase the start price; change the category; change the title; change the item condition. You can add to the item description, but not change existing description.
Ideas for driving sales include using Best Offer or MarkDown Manager for pricing promotions and using Featured First and Featured Plus to increase visibility.
One final tip which is a new one to me, Item Specifics are used to determine which products are returned in search results. If you’re selling a shirt and you specify “Denim” as the fabric but don’t have it in the item title it will be included in searches for “Denim Shirt”. However when Best Match sorts the search results it does not use Item Specifics. This means a shirt with Denim in item specifics may not be considered as relevant as one that has Denim in the actual title. Although Item Specifics are useful for appearing in search it’s still the keywords in the title that are the most important.
eBay Search and Finding has changed beyond all recognition over the last year but the fundamentals remain the same: Use good keywords, fill out all available fields including item specifics, select the most appropriate category and price competitively, provide top quality service to your buyers and pretty much everything else will take care of itself.