How eBay catalogue impacts your listing strategy

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How eBay’s Catalogue may affect your search position

There are a number of reasons why having your product matched against eBay Catalogue affects you ranking in search results. Knowing what they are is the first step in knowing how to list to your best advantage.

You can’t use your own title
If you have a listing matched against eBay Catalogue you can’t call out key features in your title. You have to rely on eBay’s title on the product card to draw the buyer’s eyes to your listing.

Your title keywords will be picked up in search results but they won’t be displayed to buyers to confirm that they’ve found what they’re looking for. Your subtitle also won’t be displayed so you can’t call out features such as Next Day or Free shipping.

Pricing doesn’t include carriage costs
The price show in search on catalogue product cards shows the lowest item price excluding shipping. This gives a serious disadvantage to sellers who include shipping in the item price as it makes them look expensive. The sellers who charge extortionate shipping to keep their item price low are being advantaged in search and again on product pages.

Auctions aren’t sorted Time Ending Soonest
If your auction is matched to eBay catalogue it will be sorted according to the best selling new fixed price item. If that item is particularly poorly performing then your auction will never rise to the top of search results which is bound to affect views and bids.

The only good news with auctions is that many buyers will still change the sort order to Time Ending Soonest, but that still leaves a large proportion that won’t!

Item conditions are misleading
Sellers who are selling used items are quite blatantly describing their products as refurbished. The highest item condition is most usually presented first on the product card.

Whilst some items are most certainly well refurbished by reputable sellers or manufacturers most of the so called refurbs on eBay are low grade customer returns, damaged and repaired goods, or quite simply used items which have been given a quick clean and wipe over and called “refurbished” because it sounds better than used. eBay are giving buyers a pretty poor experience by presenting these products to buyers who stipulate they want a new product.

What can you do to tilt the table in your direction?

Tomorrow we’ll look at how sellers might want to take advantage of the gaps in eBay catalogue and how to free your listings to be ranked on their own merits.

7 Responses

  1. So a good buying experience then.

    When are ebay going to learn that catalogues are only suitable for NEW items?

    And auctions should not be included amd mixed in with a search that includes NEW catalogue items.

    Anything other than NEW should not be permitted to use catalogue listings. They should be restricted to NEW BIN only.

    In fact “eBay Catalogue” should be an entirely seperate entity and have its own tab exclusively for catalogue.

    Allow sellers to put listings both in catalogue and in the normal eBay section.

    That is such a mindnumbingly simple solution!

  2. And what is the point of an eBay system where sellers can gouge on the shipping and rip off eBay for its fees whilst at the same time receive a big search advantage!

    All catalogue listings should be FREE shipping end of story.

  3. Hopefully Chris your guide relating to how to prepare listings to be search friendly will offer short term measures and solutions and that ebay will be taking action in the medium term to close all the loopholes and fee avoidance scams and create a better buyer experience.

    A buyer experience is not just about positioning any lowest priced top selling item at the top of search regardless of what the buyer is searching for.

    eBay seem to think that it is!

  4. It seems counter-intuitive that catalogue listings will advantage the lowest listing for an item (without shipping), but eBay’s standard search engine rewards Free Shipping, thus it rewards listings with the lowest all-in price. At least for the catalogue search, it seems like a return to the “bad old days” where sellers were gaming the FVF by charging a $1 for the item and $20 for shipping.

  5. Actually one of the worst things (at least in the video game category) is their definitions of each condition…

    Lets say you are selling a pristine but loose atari 2600 game cart.

    You MUST by their descriptions of the conditions list the game as “acceptable” the LOWEST condition because it does not include the manual.

    Worse — 70% of the people CHEAT.

    IE I put a game up as acceptable and I get all sorts of messages asking what is wrong with it and I end up having to list with a disclaimer that “acceptable doesnt have anything to do with the condition of a game cart — just that no box or instructions are included.”

    Others list a game as “good” or even sometimes as high as “like new” which really is kind of messed up. I mean by their definitions if someone puts up a loose game as say “very good” I as a buyer SHOULD EXPECT the box and manual to come with it and am fully within my rights to ding the seller when it does not arrive.

    In essence (for used goods) the condition system just messes things up worse. I mean if everyone used it properly it would merely be semi-meaningless but as stands it is the kind of thing that makes things harder to deal with.

    They should have “Very Good” “Good” and “Acceptable” tabs for LOOSE games.


    Then you try to list a rare colecovision game not in their catalog and they do not accept your proposed item specs but still put the yellow triangle that you SHOULD be listing with a catalog entry in their mandatory use categories…


    All of this just serves to make my games sell worse and for less money if they do sell.


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