An eBay Item Specifics SNAFU has hit sellers today as the new October mandate rolls out with mismatched information required.
eBay are fixated on Item Specifics following the roll back of their attempt to build a catalogue for listings on eBay. Sellers begrudgingly accept this… begrudgingly because Item Specifics are being mandated which means sellers aren’t willing to adopt them voluntarily in large enough numbers. This tends to suggest that sellers are being forced to adopt under the mandates but if they were truly sold on the value then surely they would be eagerly adding them and benefiting from the resultant uplift in sales.
Today sellers have discovered that the 8 weeks notice that eBay gave for Item Specifics contained incorrect information. For decades on eBay, the “Inside Leg” attribute has been used but in today’s roll out and a major eBay Item Specific SNAFU sellers are discovering that it’s been changed to “Inseam”. (See above image of eBay’s advance notice of new mandatory Item Specific Spreadsheet and the Sell Your Item Form today).
eBay may well have mapped the two attributes internally, but sellers working on spreadsheets, sellers using third party tools, sellers using repricing software, indeed sellers using just about any third party tool, have discovered the change in name has broken their solutions.
If you have a spreadsheet that’s looking for the Item Specific “Inside Leg” then yesterday it worked. Today, you won’t even be able to reprice your listings because you need a new (or to rename) your spreadsheet to “Inseam”. Not only that, but in the past on eBay the Inside Leg Item Specific was of the form ’30L’, ’32L’, ’34L’, ’36L’. The new format is ’30’, ’32’, ’34’, ’36’.
As a side note, bizarrely the pick list goes all the way up to ’40’ and frankly I’ve never met anyone requiring jeans with a 40″ leg! Bearing in mind that this pick list for ‘Inseam’ is brand new today, why have eBay put absurd values in? This is just begging sellers to screw up and select an incorrect value.
We know changes on eBay have to happen. We appreciate their 8 week notice period for the new mandatory Item Specifics. What’s unacceptable to sellers is when the spreadsheet download detailing the new Item Specifics notifies sellers of one value and then springing a totally different value on them on the day of launch.
Don’t forget this is Q4. We are just five weeks away from Black Friday. This is not the time of year to be making changes and new attributes are universally detested at this time of year but when they break your entire operations it’s catastrophic. Don’t forget, this isn’t just going to impact you if you launch a new listing, it means you can’t replenish stock and edit available inventory or even drop your prices for Black Friday deals until you update the Item Specifics with the values you only discovered today.
There are more changes coming in 2020, we’re already crossing our fingers it’s not another Item Specifics SNAFU that will frustrate sellers who just want to list, accept orders and ship goods. Perhaps it’s time for eBay to scrap mandates and deliver stratospheric sales to sellers who complete Item Specifics – that would have sellers falling over themselves to complete the values. Even then, it would be useful to have the correct values published and not change both the Item Specific name and the attribute values on the day they become mandatory. An 8 week notice period has turned out to be useless.