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Changes to eBay Item Specifics

February 12, 2020

Harjot Singh

In 2019 we saw the introduction of mandatory eBay item specifics for the very first time. On January the 29th eBay has again announced changes to their item specifics requirements. 

Luckily these changes will not take effect until March 2020. eBay have noted that this release will not include any changes to the item-specifics set, or addition of any new item specifics and will only apply to the Home & Garden and Electronics categories.

For most eBay sellers this should not come as a surprise, as even before the introduction of mandatory item specifics eBay was actively emphasising the importance of the completeness and accuracy of eBay item specifics. 

eBay claims that eBay item specifics have a direct impact on the discoverability of products inside their platform. eBay also claims that completeness and accuracy of item specifics helps them feed sellers products to external search engines and from what we can see this is certainly true.

If you don’t know what item specifics are the impact on eBay SEO, check out our eBay item specifics SEO guide HERE.

So how should sellers prepare for the item specifics change?

eBay sellers with products in the Electronics and Home & Garden categories have roughly 8 weeks to enrich their content to meet the mandatory requirements. 

Of course, depending on how you manage your eBay account this could be easier said than done. 

  1. Manual Management: If you are managing your listings manually via seller hub eBay has already provided the fields and values in the back end of each product listing
  1. File Exchange: If you are managing your listings via file exchange you can import your item specifics via file exchange against pre-existing products or with a new listing creation import. However, this method will require you to complete the item specifics from eBay’s item specifics source data. Click Here to Download
  1. eBay Integration: For those selling via an integration tool, if your tool does not automatically retrieve the latest item specifics and values from eBay you will need to load the item specifics and related valid values in your integration tool yourself by referring to eBay’s item specifics source data. Click Here to Download

No matter how many listings you have, we recommend eBay sellers start completing item specifics now! If you are thinking about getting started with an eBay integration take a look out our guide to choosing an integration tool HERE.

What happens if you don’t complete eBay Item Specifics?

Failing to complete the mandatory item specifics will result in the following:

  1. Revising Listings: You will not be able to revise your listings this means everything from a price change to product title change. 

IMPORTANT: For those eBay sellers using an integration this will mean that your tool will most likely be unable to update inventory until the mandatory item specifics are completed, this is because inventory updates typically constitute a revision

  1. Listing Creation: If you are creating new listings and they do not have the mandatory item specifics. Your listing will not be listed.

It is worth noting that failing to complete the ‘recommended’ eBay item specifics will result in poorer product visibility. 

Through our experience, product listings with item specifics that are complete and accurate are more likely to appear in external search engines and will rank higher than listings with limited item specifics.

Use MerchantSpring Marketplace Manager to find and complete missing item specifics

Marketplace Manager’s built in eBay Item Specifics module is a simple and easy way to complete your item specifics without having to worry about what the new item specifics are or even what the accepted values are. Marketplace Manager quickly diagnoses your existing listings and identifies which product listings need attention. 

Through the innovative optimisation interface users can quickly focus on the missing item specifics and select the recommended values in seconds. Marketplace Manager also has built in ‘Sync’ feature which means all your updated item specifics can be pushed directly to eBay.

During this pre-rollout phase the eBay Item Specifics module will be available for free for all eBay regions to help sellers get a head start on the new eBay mandatory item specifics requirements. 

At MerchantSpring we do anticipate that the mandatory item specifics requirements will be rolled out to all regions across the world, so if you are selling on eBay internationally or planning to (check out our guide to selling on eBay internationally here) we anticipate more items specifics announcements soon! 

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