Help eBay improve colour item specifics

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eBay Item Specific Colours

eBay have struggled with clothing colours for fashion Item Specifics for years. Over time they’ve tried variations of colours (e.g. Dark Blue, Light Blue) and currently have plumped for what is supposed to be limited set of colours (e.g. Reds, Greens) as a Main Colour attriubute with a secondary Exact Colour option so that you can tell you customer exactly what shade the item your selling is.

The dilemma for eBay is that in order to search for items eBay’s algorithms need to know what colour your item is and if you specify it as Emerald it’s unlikely to be returned in search when a buyer is looking for Green.

The current system for specifying colours

An ongoing problem is the simple understanding of how the current system works. It’s imperative that you select an eBay option as your Main Colour, for example using “Blue” means that your item won’t be found – you have to specify “Blues”. Many sellers simply don’t do this and some listing software still allows free text entries for the main colours but apparently this is going to be fixed by the 10th of September from which time only the mandatory colours will be allowed.

The Main Colour is used in the left hand nav bar product finder so regardless what shade your particular item is buyers looking for a “Green” coloured item won’t find your item unless you checked the “Greens” Main Colour Attribute. Around 10% of buyers use the Main Colour to filter their searches. When they land on your listing they can then see the “Exact Colour” attribute where they can see that your item is actually “Lincoln Green” or whatever other shade you’ve entered.

eBay want your opinion

eBay are looking at how colour Item Specifics are used by sellers and have opened a thread on the (PowerSeller login required, duplicated on the ) to ask three questions:

• How are you currently using these fields? Are you using both fields or just one?

• How could we improve the way we capture colour information? Are you selling on other platforms where it is easier to give colour values? If so, how?

• Would you like us to merge the two colour fields into one?

Why this matters to you

If you sell in the fashion categories you really do want to make your voice heard on this topic. Firstly if you have a particular gripe (a common one is why no burgundy? It’s not really “Reds”), then make sure that eBay know your opinions whilst they’re looking at the colours issue.

Secondly this has the potential to affect your overseas trade as well. I remember a time when eBay mapped “Beige” in the UK to “Nude” in the US and the feedback wasn’t particularly complimentary and certainly not the fault of the seller.

Most importantly whatever changes eBay make is going to create an awful lot of work for you. Even if they map existing fields to whatever new fields may be created you are going to have to check each and every listing after the change. Merging the two fields will certainly mean the loss of one or other value. Changing the values may mean that your burgundy items are classed as red even if there’s a new burgundy field.

Item specifics have been the bane of my eBay selling career and I’ve never found an easy way to manage them. I’m not alone in this, every company I’ve spoken to agrees from the very smallest sellers right up to the enterprise customers like Littlewoods complain about Item Specifics.

Any change will be painful, so if eBay are going to change the Fashion Item Specific Colours make sure that at least they’re changing them to benefit you by adding comments to let them know your thoughts.

3 Responses

  1. We currently use eSeller Pro to list our products and if a product is mutli sku and is the same colour, ie two t-shirts with different designs are blue, then they cannot be listed on the same SKU under the same colour specific.

    A nightmare when setting up weekly deals as if we have two white tees, one has to list as ivory.

  2. “eBay want your opinion”

    Every time you make a change, we have to manually go through all listings to change them. Its this that is the frustrating thing, not the actual colours or lack of colours.

    Amazon have not changed one aspect of this since they launched clothing shop a few years ago. The stability they provide is a benefit to listing on there. Their item specifics work well – its worth taking a look.



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