Watch out for these eBay.co.uk changes that will affect your business

Have you seen your eBay sales drop over the past few months while your business on other marketplaces and your own website is thriving? Here is what eBay are doing to reverse this trend.

Mobile-friendly descriptions

 

Overview: From July 2016 eBay will show mobile buyers a shortened version of your listing description. To further improve the shopping experience for mobile buyers, eBay will wage a war on templates including active content (JavaScript, Flash) from Spring 2017.

Pros: The number of buyers coming from mobile devices grows much faster than the number of buyers shopping from their desktops and in some countries mobile shoppers are more numerous than desktop shoppers. It’s good that eBay wants to improve their experience. At the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference eBay’s CEO Devin Wenig stressed the importance of growing mobile in 2016 and admitted the company failed at mobile growth in Q4 2015. It’s also worth remembering that the new eBay app initially received very poor reviews and many potential buyers allegedly uninstalled it. eBay have learned their lesson and are trying to win these mobile buyers back. Regarding JavaScript and Flash in listings, at WebInterpret we have always warned our sellers against using active content and creating very long descriptions. We’re happy to see eBay align with this approach.

Cons: How will the shortened version of the description be generated? Will it really contain all the necessary information? I can easily imagine some words such as “is not waterproof”, “should not be used by children under three” or “is slightly damaged” not making it into the shortened version and generating very poor buyer experience (+ probably leading to sellers being banned from eBay due to no fault of their own). Also, if you have just finished relooking your templates with a web agency you will probably be disappointed to learn mobile buyers will never see the end result of all your efforts. Not even mentioning that if you’re using JavaScript or Flash you will have to redo your listings all over again.

Product reviewsCapture

Overview: Buyers will be allowed to write product reviews and not only seller reviews on eBay. Two kinds of reviews will be possible – verified reviews from users who actually purchased the item and unverified reviews from users who didn’t.

Pros: Adding product reviews makes perfect sense

Cons: A lot of things can go wrong with product reviews

  • buyers may review their poor buyer experience (such as late delivery) instead of the product itself
  • eBay will recognise matching products using EAN’s – have you added EAN’s to your listings yet? Are you certain they are the correct ones? Otherwise, you may find your product attached to a review of something completely different
  • eBay has been created basing upon a belief that people are honest but, sadly, quite often they are not! Sellers will end up buying fake reviews – positive for their products, negative for their competitors, buyers will write negative reviews to force you to refund their purchase etc. eBay will have to track fraud very carefully.

Category-specific changes

All of the above are genuinely exciting changes and I believe they are going in the right direction. Do you?

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