In early November eBay changed the way that multi-variation listings appeared in eBay search results. Rather than showing the seller’s collage image they showed either the best selling variant according to Best Match, or if a specific colour was entered as one of the search terms eBay would show the matching colour variation.
Sellers have in the main been complaining vociferously about this change, although some welcomed it as their items appeared higher in search than prior to it being implemented. The main complaint is that if a buyer doesn’t see the variation collage picture and doesn’t want the colour displayed, they would probably continue scrolling down search results and not realise other options were available.
eBay have now said that the’re aware that this is impacting sellers, as it affects generic searches as well as searches by colour and as a result of this feedback, they’ve decided to go back to using the main “shared picture” on the search result page for all generic queries, across all categories.
This roll back will take effect from the 5th of December onwards. eBay will still use the colour variation photo for a colour-related search.
Don’t use variant attributes in item titles
There is however some interesting information which has come out of the change/roll back. Since looking closer at multi-variation listings with the new selected image being shown, it’s become apparent that some sellers items are being incorrectly categorised in eBay search results.
An example of this is shown where a search for a “Blue Dress” brings up an eBay selected image of a Red Dress. CLicking on the search result also links to the red variant when you land on the seller’s listing page.
The reason for this is that the seller has included variant information in the item title as well as in the Multi-Variation Item Specifics. The title includes “DRESS BLACK WINE BLUE NAVY RED SIZE 8-18” and the effect of this is that eBay’s search thinks that the red variation is blue because it’s got blue in the title. In fact eBay think that all variations have all the attributes mentioned in the title!
When listing multi-variation items you should not include any of the variation attributes in the title of your item. It’s important to remember that the multi-variation attributes themselves are indexed by eBay’s search, so if you don’t want eBay to think that your red dress is blue don’t put the colour options in your title.
We’re eagerly looking forward to the change back to collage images in search results, but for those sellers who do have variation information in their titles it’s unlikely that collage images will be shown, in fact it’s quite likely that the wrong variation image will still be shown. If that’s you then you’ll want to amend your listings as soon as possible to remove variation attributes from your item titles.
Image of an eBay multi-variation collage image at top borrowed from eBay listing as it’s a stunning example.