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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2453 - January 10, 2011 - ISSN 1539-5065    2 of 5

How eBay and Online Merchants Should Optimize for Mobile Shopping

By Ina Steiner
January 10, 2011

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Online merchants are eager to capitalize on the growing popularity of mobile shopping - eBay research showed 60% of sellers are willing to adjust their eBay listings for easier viewing on mobile devices. But according to the National Retail Federation, 65.2% of U.S. retailers don't have a mobile-specific website. However, merchants can optimize their online product listings for mobile shopping searches.

Structured data and location are the most important things merchants should be thinking about with regard to optimizing their product listings for mobile search, says Ben Saren, Vice President, Marketing at Litle & Co., an authority in card-not-present commerce, transaction processing and merchant services. The mobile web is the same as the desktop web, it's just a different interface, he said, explaining that mobile relies more heavily on structured content. Good SEO is driven by meta data, such as manufacturer, model number, color, price and other attributes.

"Local" is extremely important to mobile searches too. But what if you're running a business from your home or a warehouse with no walk-in location? Saren said merchants should still provide location tags - "everyone should be doing local," he said, but merchants should make it clear to consumers if the item is not available for pick-up.

Nearly three-quarters of eBay sellers responding to a survey felt it was important that shoppers have the ability to browse and buy items on eBay using mobile devices, according to eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff. eBay has a plethora of mobile apps, and Hoff said all eBay listings across all categories are viewable on the apps.

Hoff provided the following tips on how sellers could better optimize their listings for mobile viewing:

Use descriptive titles:
When shoppers are browsing through a list of items on varying sizes of mobile device screens, yours need to stand out, so keep the title focused on what the item is.

  • Avoid using all caps or symbols
  • Avoid using words that shoppers don't search for like "Wow" or "L@@K"

Use great photos:
Follow eBay guidelines for picture quality and uploading. Keep the picture square so it fits more easily within any mobile device screen. Placing the items on a white background looks professional

Keep your item descriptions to a minimum:
Shoppers are going to read about your item on a relatively small screen, so keep the description to the basics Product Details: You can use Product Details (pre-filled item information if you list an item from our catalog) when available to more quickly fill out your listing information

Respond to questions quickly:
Mobile shoppers may be comparing prices while in a store or need an item urgently, so be as responsive as possible to their questions.

Use Buy It Now with your Auction listings:
Many mobile shoppers are looking to buy an item while shopping. Listing your item in a Buy It Now format (either as a fixed-price item or as an auction item with a Buy It Now option) will attract these shoppers to your items.

Accept PayPal:
Accept PayPal so your buyers can pay/checkout from their mobile devices immediately

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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