This post is by Jonathan Pollard CEO & Co-founder of Codisto – a provider of Amazon & eBay integration and listings tools. I met Jonathan in 2016 at Birmingham Online Seller Meetup and we have been in touch since to discuss how we can work together. This post is just a start and I’d like to help Codisto tools reach more eBay sellers in the UK.
‘Marketplace Connect’ is a lightweight extension offering full integration for Magento, WooCommerce & Shopify.
‘Xpress Lister’ is a browser based tool offering bulk edit of existing listings and bulk creation of new listings from spreadsheets.
eBay’s new ‘Active Content’ for listings from June 2017 has been well reported. However, reports have generally focused on what Active Content is and recommendations of what to do for new future listings. Which leaves some important questions unanswered:
- What about the thousands of sellers and millions of existing eBay listings containing Active Content?
- How do sellers remove Active Content from existing listings to enable sales history to be retained?
Are personalised eBay sales templates a good thing?
Personalised eBay listing templates are a good thing for sellers. They allow sellers to stand out from the crowd and promote their brand. However, sellers have often created different forms of their templates over time leading to listings with inconsistent templates that all contain Active Content. Quite often we see the HTML contained in listings varying from product to product depending on when the products were first listed, sometimes stretching back several years.
The heart of the Active Content problem for existing listings is eBay’s ugly architecture. To remove Active Content, the eBay template must be updated. The best way to architect a software solution that allows the updating of templates is to have separate ‘template’ and ‘product description’ elements (that is how we built Xpress Lister because it allows bulk updating of either templates and/or descriptions).
However, eBay’s architecture is such that the “ebay description” is a joint blob, containing BOTH the ‘written product description’ AND the template HTML (used to make the listing look good). This means the HTML is intertwined with the ‘written product description’ and any Active Content is intertwined in the HTML – a messy ‘blob’.
Why is it difficult to remove Active Content from existing eBay listings?
For merchants to remove/replace active content from existing listings they must either:
- Identify and replace the offending active content code intertwined in the HTML of the “ebay description” – possibly on many different templates across many products. This involves using the “Sell Your Item” flow, clicking “Revise listing”, scrolling to “Description”, switching out of ‘wyswig’ editor into html mode, copying that and pasting to a separate editor and picking through the HTML line by line! Moreover, it has to be done listing by listing! Very time consuming and a real struggle for many merchants; or
- ‘Wipe the slate clean’ by removing the old templates and applying new active content compliant template to every listing. However, there are two significant challenges here to this approach. Namely:
#1 Applying the new template to every listing:
eBay doesn’t provide sellers with a suitable tool (Turbo Lister doesn’t include any template functionality). 3rd party template design services will provide Active Content compliant designs but they offer no means of distributing to the listings other than copy/paste listing by listing. Furthermore, even if merchants are prepared to apply the new code listing by listing on eBay by copy/pasting on each individual listing, once it’s deployed the template code is ‘dumb’ or ‘orphaned’ – there is no way to make changes to the template later and have it automatically flow to every listing e.g. updating a logo or terms of sale – it’s a case of going listing by listing AGAIN!
#2 Having ‘clean’ product descriptions to apply a template to:
Unless merchants have ‘written product descriptions’ readily available elsewhere, the product description is only available on the existing eBay listings and is intertwined with the template HTML! This means sellers have to pick through the ‘ebay description’ blob one by one to retrieve their written product descriptions.
Due to the reasons explained above, removing Active Content from existing listings to retain sales history is going to require a little effort. If you have written product descriptions available on a spreadsheet it will save you some time as some 3rd party listing tools offer the ability to import and bulk update your existing listings with ‘clean’ descriptions and add an Active Content compliant template separately. But it’s also possible to clean Active Content if your descriptions only exist on eBay listings and you can’t import from another source.
You can use Xpress Lister to remove Active Content for free by following our guide here
Terapeak recently introduced Product Research 2.0 function which is another way to learn more about competition. Before recent changes we used to be able to see top seller’s ID, a powerful tool for many sellers. This post is all about my observations on new research function
The *New* Sellers Tab
I searched for “organic coffee beans” using Product Research 2.0 and screenshot above shows the information I get that matched my search:
- Anonymous sellers
With new policy seller’s IDs are hidden which used be powerful tool for competitive analysis before.
Here’s a comment on recent Tamebay article:
“After 6 years of a terapeak subscription, I have just cancelled because of this. It was all I used it for. Is another company going to fill void? Could someone post a link?”
- Number of items sold
Historical number of items sold helps to decide whether the product I am looking for actually worth investing.
- Average transaction price
Average price helps me decide a price point and perhaps helps making that sourcing decision.
- Average shipping cost
Shipping cost is going towards “0” and it is now acceptable practice to include postage on item price. In this particular example there are some sellers with £4.00 shipping charge on average.
- % of Listings with free shipping
Over 90% of listings with free delivery, this is suggesting me to adapt free shipping.
- Total Transaction value
This gives me total value of sales to help me decide if my venture is worth any penny.
All in all, this is certainly a helpful tool for new sellers to measure competition. The sortable list allows to correlate item sold, average price, shipping and total sales. E.g. sorting by number of total item sales shows how many items were sold corresponding to the average price.
Other interesting result
Many sellers I work with like to keep track of few of their competitors. E.g. If you are in a “Small Kitchen Appliance” category, you’d like to keep track on Andrew James brand. They are one of the top sellers and they sell on most marketplaces including Tesco. We can track their performance with new sellers tab.
The screenshot below shows all we discussed above just based on my search query “Andrew James”. I can see their sales, item sold and price on a particular product category
To see a good result use filters like below to avoid auctions or private resellers.
Another interesting addition to the recent changes is the ability to search with EAN. The screen shot below shows how to use filter to get result.
This screenshot below shows information we already discussed with the time frame but only based on EAN. Given that EAN is correctly entered on listings, the results will tell me information on exact product I am looking for. This is fantastic !
I hope you found these information useful. Let me know your thoughts.
Here at DaytodayeBay, we use research tools like Terapeak to provide marketplace consultancy on eBay. We have also written a sort case study of how we have made improvements on one of the eBay accounts we worked in the past.
We have worked with sellers on various categories and helped them develop and optimise their business. I’d love to help you, please get in touch.
eBay in Australia has over 8 million unique visitors every month and it is the largest shopping destination. We have seen many UK sellers benefiting from Australian customers. Earlier this month I met a Northern eBay seller selling caravans to Australia on eBay. If you can sell a caravan to Australia, what else could you sell?
This made me look at various online selling platforms available in Australia and Neto particularly caught my attention. It offers full eBay management, from listing products to dispatching orders. It also offers epos integration helping you create a successful omnichannel business. If you would like to find out if it is the right tool for you check out their FAQs and the video below gives more insight on how their eBay integration works.
We’ve come across this brilliant eBay tool called picclick that helps buyers easily discover products they are looking for on a one standard picture view. It is mobile responsive and there is no banner ads which is very pleasing.
This also means sellers need to be careful of their image quality as higher quality images get more click through. As a seller it also good practice to check how your listing images looks compared to others on a periodic basis.
Additionally, when buyers type product details on search bar, picclick starts recommending different products. This could be another resource for sellers to understand additional keywords for their product titles. We have also noted that recommendations are same as on live eBay site.
What are your thoughts about picclick ?
eBay collections launched in 2014 is an interesting development to attract potential customers for latest trends. I have mostly watched items that I am thinking of buying and now that I have discovered collections, it is my favourite options as I can see when seller adds to the collection. It is more personalised keeps me in track of latest trends.
Take a look at this “Tech it out” collection. Its follow feature helps those interested to keep upto date with the products they love. There is also selection of popular collections on eBay Today board. As a seller, you can now create collections based on customer’s interest and increase the chance of your products being viewed and hopefully conversion as some point. It is also good idea to include collections on your email marketing encouraging them to follow you and increase the chance of repeat buys.
If you have already tried eBay collections, let us know how useful it has been for you?
We have all heard about eBay changes for spring next year with regards to active content which is a brilliant move for shoppers as they can just see product description on product description block. This also means quicker load time on mobile devices.
We think this is the right time to look into your listings and plan to implement changes gradually. Recently we spoke with an electronics eBay seller based in Leeds and their plan is to totally get rid of design and apply text. There will be many retailers going toward this way as this will save investment on yet another design. If you’d like to check active content on your eBay listing please use this tool.
We can see eBay is going Amazon way ! Currently EAN and ASIN are already part of product pages and when customers are driven to eBay product pages their experience would remain similar with different sellers like on Amazon. We can also see the future of eBay listings to be merged product page with different retailer to shop options like Amazon. Similar development is already seen on Google Shopping results so, it looks like eBay, Amazon and Google results would be somewhat similar.
So, what’s there to be done? We think the focus should be on developing product pages with better title, specifics and provide faster shipping. There is always option for advance listing design like the one we did for Reliancegifts.
Today we had a really interesting day with a Toy Online Seller in London. The business, a manufacturer of hand-made toys, is selling successfully on Marketplaces ( eBay, Amazon) and Website. We were booked to help the business grow across all channels and find new channels to grow the existing business. So, we spent the day discussing:
#1 How business could effectively use Amazon FBA?
FBA is a good option for many businesses but not for all. With our experience of helping sellers across many categories, we were able to help business decide the right way forward.
#2 How to expand sustainably across Europe ?
Whilst Amazon is relatively easy platform to expand into Europe and so is the eBay, we focussed our discussion most profitable products to sell in Europe.
Additionally, we found out Amazon US as a very lucrative market which could be true for many retailers. We used Amazon research tools to help out estimated sales for our product category which helped to make a right decision.
#3 eBay and Amazon SEO.
eBay and Amazon are relatively easy platforms to use and can be mastered in a day but experience always helps. We discussed proven strategies to get on the top of eBay and Amazon search results.
#4 How to leverage Amazon Marketing options ?
Amazon is an innovative retail channel and most fail to take full advantage as there are very less information out there. During this discussion we were able to include best practices of using Amazon PPC.
Additionally, we discussed how Amazon Vendor account could benefit the business with increased sales.
#5 Choosing the correct Multichannel platform.
This was an interesting discussion as there are so many out doing similar stuff. We took “business & user centric” approach which enabled us to finalise the right channel to consider.
Further more, we discussed how we can grow website sales with Google Shopping and Social Channels. It was a really enjoyable day and we ended the day with a strategic plan for the business. We are increasingly seeing businesses demanding for one to one session to develop the business are we are getting better at this. Free resources like webinars and blogs does help to understand so called “expert” opinion but personalised session like today aims to help business grow.
We can help your business grow too on Marketplaces and through your own website. So, get in touch today to find out how we can help.
We have been working with eBay store design for over a year. We have now updated our website with Professional and Branded eBay Store design page which includes:
- Advanced Store Design
- Mobile responsive
- Advanced Listing design with filters
- Related products options
- Setup live store
- Listing in single active product
eBay Store design is a branding exercise and our designs are bespoke to your needs. If you already have a website we will design eBay store based on your existing design to help you with consistent branding. Please find more details here >>
There is a lot going on about EAN and UPC recently. For eBay sellers this has been a real pain. However, Amazon started indexing products with EAN / UPC since the start with exceptions in manufactured products and seeds. Out of interest, I looked into one particular EAN in Google “8711600536661” to see what results I get. I immediately saw it was a Dove soap with images and few other things that are listed below:
#1 UPC index link shows this product originated in the Netherlands and also gives the details of company who registered this set of codes. If you did not know any products that starts with prefix 870 – 879 belongs to product from the Netherlands as this is allocated number for that country by GS1.
#2 The result further down shows this product’s availability in Russia and Italy. There is another link that shows its origin in Germany which is conflicting information from the one shown by UPC index above.
#3 Towards the end of the first page, the result shows that pricecheck is the UK distributor for this soap.
#4 When clicked on shopping there was only one result with only four sellers retailing in the UK including two on eBay which points out to an Italian account. The supply chain from pricecheck seems to end with only few retailers in the UK. So, this product may either be discontinued product or perhaps other reason which pricecheck may be able to answer.
There is a wealth of information you can dig with single set of numbers. We could easily find where it was made and who is distributing it in the UK. And if you had this EAN with your eBay listings your products will be identified easily as genuine with the rest of the listings and this is a very good reason for eBay to take it seriously. Currently, EANs are flooded in the market through resellers and they are cheap ( 10 for 99p). These may work but they are not assigned to your company and any serious business would consider getting their own set from GS1.
We have recently completed a project for a midland based eBay seller to include EANs in all of their listings at a very reasonable cost. If you need help in getting you products listed with EANs please get in touch.