The past couple years we’ve had some long comment threads about eBay’s search engine and how to make sure your listings are “fresh”. The hypothesis is if you end listings and re-list as “sell similar”, then you can fool eBay into thinking it’s a new item and get to the top of the search. We’ve always asked for some data to see if this is true, but no one had any. Seemed like busy work. It’s been a hypothesis and not a proven theory.
But this week we had a bit of proof from eBay itself. We called the new Customer Service line for sellers with Anchor Stores. The woman told us that many of our listings were “stagnant” because they were missing a lot of required data. Many of these listings were several years old before eBay started transitioning to “mobile friendly” formats. They said we needed to make sure every listing had 12 photos, item specifics, and NO html templates with photos in the description. They also said to end the listings and relist as “sell similar” so it had a new listing number. Below is the actual email they sent us after the call:
Thank you for contacting Merchant Support today about your concerns. As promised, here is your stagnant listing report. The spreadsheet that I’ve attached to this email will show you items that haven’t sold it over 60 days or more. The attachment can only be opened through your personal email.
Stagnant listings are listing that you have on the site with very little visibility. Here is an overview of what we spoke about today:
1. Title: Use all 80 characters, use keywords that are relevant to the product being sold, use keywords that describe the item as the buyer would look for it, don’t include special characters and include: brand, model, style, type, part #, and EAN/UPC codes.
2. Item Specifics: Ensure required product identifiers for the categories your listing in are being used. Fill out all relevant options and recommendations within your syi form. Use custom specifics for setting clear buyer expectations: measurements, colors, material, etc.
3. Images: Use all 12 photos (3+ will give your listings a boost in visibility), add high quality photos (800-1600 pixels), use a white background (your listings will look professional), use gallery to identify any flaws, stock photos are only ok for items listed as “new,” and please do not use logos. *If you have watermarks, please keep specs to 5% of the total size and 50% or less opacity. Please keep in mind that Google’s doesn’t allow images containing promotional elements, names or logos of merchants.
4. Description: Keep it simple, clear and short business policies. With the increase of mobile purchases, you want to avoid using photos in the description. Also, please avoid using Java Script, Flash, plug-ins and form actions as it inhibits purchases on mobile devices.
5. Looking into your competitors’ listings to figure out what they’re doing differently that’s allowing them to sale these types of items. Sometimes it could be the pricing on your listings isn’t competitive to theirs. If you are unable to change the pricing, what makes your listing stand out vs your competitors listing?
We recommend that you end your listings on the report and relist them using the “sell similar” option with new information based on the research you were able to do. Relisting the item will allow the items to jump back to the top of the search results, as when a listing doesn’t receive any sales on it and consistently is being renewed on the site.
Please keep in mind that we don’t want you to update your multiple quantity items that have had recent sales just because they are counted differently. The listing may have higher impressions, clicks and click through rates so they may have a higher ranking in search vs one of your older listings that have very little impressions and clicks.
Our goal is to help you to get more visibility to your listings. One last suggestion that I forgot about on our phone call was to consider putting your items on sale. Placing your items on a sale can add urgency to your listings and gain attraction by buyers. If you need any more ideas or strategies for listings, please feel free to contact us.
So there’s the proof that listings can go stagnant. What’s amazing is that we’ve been selling like this for the past several years and still making decent money. Strange that eBay didn;t just tell sellers the above info in a big announcement. Have we missed it somewhere? What will be interesting is to see if we actually sell more now that we’re updating all our listings. That will be the real proof.
Here are the links we mentioned in this podcast:
–Kadie let us know that you can order “Tracking Labels” from USPS for free. This lets you mail items to buyers in envelopes and add antracking number so eBay is happy. Wow!
UPDATE: Though the USPS site doesn’t say the tracking labels cannot be used for letters, multiple sellers have told us that you must pay the extra fee for letter tracking.
–David Hall created a website that reminds store owners when new quarterly coupons become available and where to find it: http://wheresthecoupon.com/. Double Awesome!
Sales were decent for us this week. Keep listing. Xmas is in only 6 months.