Is anyone reading your eBay descriptions?

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Increasingly buyers are no longer reading your eBay descriptions. That probably doesn’t come as too much a surprise, for as long as I’ve bought and sold on eBay I’ve heard sellers wailing that their carefully crafted description has been left unread and it’s the buyer’s fault that they’re unhappy with their purchase.

It’s important to understand the buying journey however and what buyers get to see. On eBay’s mobile platforms buyers have to click to see the description. That’s why eBay introduced their shorter 800 character mobile friendly item description field. It’s your opportunity to specify what text the buyer sees without having to click into your description and it makes sense to have any key information (especially any flaws in the product) highlighted up front.

Since 2015, we’ve increasingly seeing tests on desktop views where the full description is hidden and a click away similar to the mobile view. However what you may not have realised is that eBay often send buyers to a view such as the screenshot below where they can complete a purchase without ever seeing anything other than the title, pictures, price and item condition.

This is an example of eBay’s new product pages and as well as a summary of the item you wanted to see will also show you alternative buying options, sponsored items, similar products, complementary products, key product information and ratings and reviews for the item. The information is all collated based on the Product Identifiers that eBay ask to be added to each listing.

Whether you like this view or not isn’t really relevant – what matters is that this is what eBay are showing to buyers so if you want your products to be found then it’s probably best to get with the flow and make sure your listings are included. if eBay would rather show a product page than take the buyers directly to your listing then adding product identifiers is the first step towards having a shout at being seen. Then you need to consider your images and title to make sure that a buyer can make a purchase decision without necessarily clicking into your listing. This won’t be easy for all categories of product, but be warned that buyers could well be tempted to view the same item from a different seller if their basic product information is more compelling.

Below is a full page screen shot showing the landing page for a USB battery charger. You can click the image to embiggen.

7 Responses

  1. This is all the more reason why the text and other descriptive elements that ebay banned from photos is actually now more important than ever. Typical ebay though, anything that might be helpful – such as the above, active content, contact details in listings – they get rid of.

    They have lessened the impact of poor feedback too. I’ve never been a fan of the feedback system but that’s another move which favours bad sellers. It would have been something to help buyers differentiate between a good and bad seller where a description was lacking but no, they’ve taken it away.

    I have seen many examples of this already, where poor sellers are selling more than decent ones, and it’s purely the luck of the draw – a couple of buyers buy from the “bad” listing first, having little to differentiate between the two. That listing then gets a ranking boost and the bad seller goes on to sell bucketloads while the professional business sells nothing. The whole system is a complete farce.

    Product identifiers will be another ebay masterstroke (not) – it will now make products easier to find the same items more cheaply on other sites via search engines. Not that I’m complaining, it might increase my website sales so that’s fine by me.

  2. As a regular buyer on ebay most of the time I am looking at the description for extra detail such as the size, colour, power etc. but most descriptions are just the usual rubbish about the seller being the best on ebay and their payment methods and shipping times. Which I already know and am not interested in, the details I am interested in I would say around half the sellers don’t provide so I either have to go through the hassle of messaging the seller, which is a pain on ebay, or I move on to the next seller on the list.

  3. this is one that really could use a description; describing exactly how they fit 50,000 mah into a vessel that size (spoiler, they don’t, it’s a scam).
    not surprising you’ve picked a fraudulent listing, it’s ebay’s specialty nowadays, cheap crap from china covered in lies.
    without even looking at the thing further than the screenshot you provided, i can tell you its not possible, the technology doesnt exist, otherwise all our phones would run for a fortnight on a single charge.
    how difficult would it be for ebay to remove clearly fraudulent listings like this? not difficult at all. will they? no.
    instead they highlight 5-star reviews from unsuspecting people who dont realise they’ve been conned. much the same as the fake memory cards ebay have been aware of for years and done nothing about.

  4. Yes, 100% agree with that. A few years ago, before Royal Mail banned posting them, we used to sell mobile batteries. There was one seller on there who sold 10x what we sold at a fraction of the price (he’s still on ebay now), with 6-figure feedback selling fakes. He’s changed his descriptions now but seemed to get away with small print at the bottom of his listings which said “We make no guarantees that these are genuine batteries”.

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