In today’s UK eBay Seller Release, it’s no surprise to see eBay reminding sellers that they are rolling out more mandatory eBay Item Specifics which come into effect on the 8th of October with more coming in 2020.
eBay say that they are mandating Item Specifics that they see buyers actually using. Some are obvious such as Colour, other’s less obvious but according to eBay vital for getting your item seen.
eBay working to support sellers by improving the experience when you list. The changes will make listing more intuitive, show you prioritisation and information on buyer searches so it’s easier and clearer to add Item specifics and will work with third party tools to assist them to display the information.
Improvements to the eBay Item Specifics experience
eBay have listened to sellers and are now starting to categorise Item Specifics to indicate their importance. You’ll now see which eBay Item Specifics are:
Such as brand, size, colour – these are deemed critical to the buyer experience and will help improve your item’s visibility.
These enhance the search experience for buyers. We strongly encourage you to provide these to optimise your listing and give your buyers the best experience.
These help buyers know more about your item and its features, and can play a role in the buyer’s purchasing decision.
New filters for buyers
eBay re also developing the Item Specific filters and buyer search experience. For example, adding the ability for buyers to select multiple filters at once, so if they want to look for a ‘Black’ and ‘Green’ dress at the same time, with our new developments they’ll be able to do this more easily.
Early next year, there will be additional support within Seller Hub and My eBay to help you add eBay Item Specifics to existing listings. There will be further developments like this on the search experience to help show your inventory in the best way using the data you share with eBay.
October eBay Item Specifics
eBay are introducing new mandatory Item specifics in four categories (Home, Furniture & DIY, Clothing, Shoes & Accessories, Jewellery & Watches, Toys & Games). Having given 8 weeks notice, this change will come into effect on the 8th of October 2019 and will apply to any new or revised listings. However, to make sure you stay competitive and can be more easily found by your buyers eBay suggest that you make these updates to your existing listings as soon as possible.
Why do we have to have Mandatory Item Specifics?
If Item Specifics are so good for business, why do eBay find it necessary to make them mandatory? The only possible answer can be because they’ve not done a good enough job of selling them to sellers. eBay share lots of stats such as:
- Furniture listings with “size” Item specific filled in, sell 56% better than those without.
- On average, listings in Fashion categories with Item specifics filled in, sell 47% better than those without.
Why isn’t this enough to convince you to update your listings?
As a corollary, we’ve gone back to the mandatory item specifics that were introduced in November 2018. If they are mandatory, then after a year every new listing should have them completed (apart from listings which haven’t been listed for over a year).
We checked the Sleeve Length Item Specific, mandatory since November 2018 for Women’s Tops and Shirts, and discovered that out of 15,717,504 listings 1,395,283 have this Item Specific listed as “Not Specified“. That’s approximately 8% of listings which aren’t categorised correctly and sadly in many instances it’s not that the seller hasn’t done the work, they’ve simply entered a value that isn’t on the pick list buyers can choose from.
eBay’s options are ‘Short Sleeve’, ‘Long Sleeve’, ‘Sleeveless’, ‘3/4 Sleeve’, and ‘Not specified’. However sellers have used values including ‘Strappy’, ‘Cap Sleeve’, ‘Spaghetti Strap’, ‘1/2 sleeves’.
This appears to be partial confusion with a different Item Specific, Sleeve Style, which includes ‘Batwing Sleeve’, ‘Bell Sleeve’, ‘Button Cuff’, ‘Cap Sleeve’, ‘Cold Shoulder Sleeve’, ‘Flutter Sleeve’, ‘Kimono Sleeve’, ‘Puff Sleeve’, ‘Raglan Sleeve’, ‘Roll Tab Sleeve’, ‘Shirred Cuff’, ‘Slit Sleeve’, and ‘Spaghetti Strap’.
There are too many Item Specifics and choosing values that aren’t eBay friendly, or that belong to different Item Specifics will simply get your listings excluded from search result – if the mandatory Item Specifics being introduced are the Item specifics that buyers use then more rigid recommendations for attributes buyers can select should be in place. There’s nothing worse than a seller doing all the work that eBay mandate just to get their values wrong making their items harder to find.