eBay have been emailing sellers this week with a number of updates regarding Product Identifiers. There are a couple of dates you’ll want to be aware of and a couple of changes which may well impact how you list, encourage you to add Product Identifiers for some Brands and make other listings (specifically bundles) easier to process.
Headlines for those that don’t want to read the full article are that eBay want Product Identifiers for seller refurbished items, GTC listings with fake or incorrect Product Identifiers will fail to renew, there’s a solution for sellers listing bundles containing multiple products and a delay until further notice for ‘Does Not Apply’ to be banned and new types of Product Identifiers to be introduced.
First a quick refresher on why Product Identifiers are important on eBay (and indeed on many other marketplaces and search engines):
Why do eBay want Product Identifiers?
When you add product identifiers to your listings it gives eBay an insight into the inventory available on their site which enables them to improve the buying and seller experience. For instance if a particular model from a range is seen to be selling (based on the Product Identifiers sellers add), then eBay can promote this model more heavily compared to slower selling inventory. Product Identifiers include the Brand, MPN and GTIN.
eBay can also match listings associated with a product in the eBay catalogue with useful information, such as auto-completed item specifics. In turn, they are able to more accurately describe your items to buyers.
Benefits of eBay’s catalogue listing section may include: Better visibility in search results on and off eBay; Improved merchandising opportunities on eBay; and Links to useful product reviews and pricing guidance.
There are some brands designated by Google that eBay will always require a GTIN for. Put bluntly Google has announced that they won’t be surfacing products from these brands in search results if they don’t have a GTIN so it makes sense for eBay to insist on them also.
Key Dates and implementation changes
Immediate – Bundles
eBay have updated the bundles and lots features so you can quickly and easily differentiate these from your other listings. Make sure you clearly identify any bundles or lots listings so they receive maximum visibility in search and our new product and browse pages.
Identifying a listing as a bundle should also remove the requirement for a GTIN.
14 September – 2017 Good ‘Til Cancelled
eBay will prevent any GTC listings with invalid product identifiers from automatically renewing after the 14th of September 2017. This means you must get your listings in good shape before then.
If by any chance you have been using invalid GTINs then get them updated before your listings fail to renew. Other checks will include things like mis-matched brands and model numbers, ensuring that MPNs only include alphanumeric characters and definitely any text along the lines of ‘compatible’ or ‘see description’ in these fields will cause your listing to fail.
eBay will also be checking GTINs for the correct number of numbers (including ensuring there are no letters or other symbols included) and verifying that different GTINs are used for each variation on multi-variation listings.
eBay will also expect to see the MPN, Brand and GTIN have different values and be checking that Item Specific fields don’t have the same name as the data field (e.g. in the Brand field, don’t enter the word ‘Brand’).
October 2017 – Seller Refurbished Items
eBay will require Product Identifiers for all seller refurbished items from October this year.
Does Not Apply
eBay are delaying the removal of the ‘Does not apply’ option from product identifier fields. This means if you still have listings that you’ve not added product identifiers to then you’ll be OK over the Christmas period.
Bear in mind that using ‘Does Not Apply’ won’t do you any favours as it means that Google will not show your products in search and you’ll get no Google traffic to your listings. It makes sense to add GTINs sooner rather than later if at all possible and to use ‘Does Not Apply’ sparingly rather than as a default option.
New Types of Product Identifiers
eBay are postponing our acceptance of new types of product identifiers, such as Google, Amazon and self-created numbers. eBay will announce new plans at some point in the future, hence you can still use ‘Does Not Apply’ in the meantime.