|Thu June 20 2013 21:41:13|
Will Cassini's Arrival Save eBay Search?
By: Ina Steiner
To say eBay has been dissatisfied with its search engine would be a vast understatement - top executives have made no secret of the fact and have been eagerly awaiting a new search platform, dubbed Cassini, for some years.
eBay began testing its new Cassini search platform on live listings in December, and a "small fraction" of users are still getting Cassini by default in live-listings search, according to eBay Vice President Hugh Williams. One of Cassini's major features is its ability to search descriptions, something some sellers fear could have unintended consequences.
Cassini is scheduled to roll out fully in North America by the end of this year, and internationally "by 2014," putting it more than a year behind schedule. In an interview 2 years ago, Williams had told The Register Cassini would roll out fully in 2012.
There's a lot of misinformation about eBay's "next generation" search platform - some sellers believe eBay has already launched it fully on the site and have been blaming it for low traffic to their listings.
In fact, there are many threads on eBay discussion boards written by sellers about falling traffic and sales, and we hear the same from readers. Yesterday a reader wrote to say her sales had tanked in one particular category, despite being a Top Rated seller with near perfect DSRs and offering free shipping, one-day handling and 14-day return policy.
Another seller wrote about a thread on the eBay UK boards started in April that talked about a drop-off in sales where sellers continue to discuss the problem. In fact today an eBay moderator posted advice for sellers who were experiencing declining sales (post #1085 on June 20), including the following:
"To those experiencing decreased sales have you looked around the marketplace at what your competitors are doing? Do you review your prices in line with them to stay competitive? You can run listing analytics reports on your Seller Dashboard to see how often your items are showing in search and the sell-through rate is also shown versus the top performing items in your category, if they are not performing well it might be time to give listings fresh photographs or better descriptions."
eBay is obviously hearing the complaints from sellers about search visibility - Williams also offered advice for sellers trying to rank higher in eBay search - see Friday's EcommerceBytes Newsflash to learn what he had to say. And then weigh in with your own thoughts about eBay search, Best Match, and Cassini!