eBay shop design industry need to refocus their businesses

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Today’s eBay Seller Release has wiped out the entire eBay shop design industry at a stroke with their announcement that custom eBay shops designs are to be migrated to a native eBay shop in the near future.

eBay’s announcement ending custom shop design

After May 2018, it will no longer be possible to set up a custom eBay Shopfront and it will not be possible to convert back to the old experience.

“We highly recommend that you do not invest in any custom HTML Shop experience, as this will not be supported after May. We recommend that you use the native eBay Shops experience.”
– eBay Spring Seller Release 2018

The size of the eBay design industry

Over the years a massive industry ranging from companies specifically set up to provide eBay to design to cottage industries of home based designers have served the eBay community. Their designs not only add strong branding to eBay shops, but often times add innovative search and other technical features not offered by eBay themselves.

A quick search of Google reveals over 21 million results for ‘eBay design’ and a search on eBay itself returns 5,649 listings selling eBay shop designs or eBay listing templates.

eBay custom designers will need to diversify

Today, companies involved in eBay design will need to evaluate their entire business and diversify to support other platforms as online merchants who read today’s announcement will be extremely reluctant to invest in eBay design, whether that be for eBay shops or listing templates.

Whilst eBay have only announced the sun-setting of custom shop design, it would appear likely that at some point in the future they will also ban custom listing templates. In any case, perversely for many years sellers have invested in their eBay shops but often found it too much work to apply templates to their auctions – perhaps the wrong approach as it would be a listing that buyers first find and for the past decade eBay shops haven’t even been visible on the eBay mobile app.

There are of course many platforms other than eBay, such as Magento, Bigcommerce, Shopify, OpenCart and EKM all of which support custom designs. The issue of course is that there are any number of superb design agencies in the UK and around the world and if you’ve SEO optimised your website for eBay shop design then significant work will be needed to optimise for alternative platforms.

What about outstanding contracts?

Design businesses need to be prepared for issues with recent and ongoing contracts with their eBay customers. With the announcement it is natural that buyer remorse will set in but whilst it will no longer be possible to launch a new eBay shop design from May this year, there is currently no set date when existing designs will be forcibly migrated to the native eBay shop format. Getting a plan in place to deal with such clients is essential, especially for those sellers who have advertised their designs as “HTTPS Secure 2018 Compliant” or similar.

The most contentious issues will be where eBay sellers have recently signed contracts to commission eBay design work – particularly where it is for shop design rather than listing templates. Designers will naturally be reluctant to cancel existing revenues whilst their customers will be keen to cancel contracts and cut their losses.

Here at Tamebay we have come to personally know many individuals in the eBay design businesses over the years and know this will be a difficult time. We’d love to speak to you about your plans for the future and promote your other services so do get in touch.

5 Responses

  1. This has been on the cards for a while IMO

    I’ve been approached from various companies as recently as December about custom ebay design – I replied that ebay are seeking to remove script and make mobile friendly etc

    .. if ebay can standardise and improve the shop admin experience both from an appearance and SEO point of view I’d welcome that change. Hopefully it can bring in more traffic from Google. If you search for an ebay seller in Google, it can be hard to find them.
    (You normally have to find a ‘followers’ or ‘collections’ random link to eventually get to their items/shop. )

    It’s important that sellers know what is required to give us the best chance of success

    feel for those that could have recently invested thousands in a bespoke design .

  2. Am a bit confused with this. We have a shop design all very nice etc. Does this mean we will actually lose this???? and get some bland ebay generic rubbish instead.

  3. I’m not sure how many actual “businesses” use this as their primary income stream.
    from what i’ve seen, most people hawking auction templates are either programming students making a couple of quid on the side with quick, cheap work, or it’s overseas sellers who have just copy/pasted and changed a few lines of the code.
    it’s not a hard job and it’s not an exclusive skillset, unless you have a ltd company with several employees doing this full time (which like i said, i imagine there are very very few of these) then migrating to other work should not provide many problems.

  4. “for the past decade eBay shops haven’t even been visible on the eBay mobile app”

    I think our eBay store looks great on the eBay mobile app
    We spent many hours developing it with the guys at KIMPSTER.
    I hope they can find enough other work to keep them busy!

    The shop is here: https://stores.ebay.co.uk/motorsport-merchandise-store?_trksid=p2047675.l2563

    or use motorsportmerch in eBay title search

    It will be good if we get another year or two with our own design shop

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