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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2688 - December 05, 2011 - ISSN 1539-5065    1 of 5

What Every Seller Needs to Know about Attributes and eBay Best Match

By Ina Steiner
December 05, 2011

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Small sellers may actually be doing a better job at supplying product attributes to eBay than large merchants, according to ecommerce search expert Obaidullah Khawaja, founder of Sovoia. This is key because eBay uses Item Specifics in its Best Match sort - meaning that merchants who do a good job at providing product attributes through Item Specifics have a better chance of getting exposure in eBay search results, according to Khawaja.

Khawaja, who works closely with eBay and previously worked for Amazon.com and Microsoft, shared information about the challenges merchants face in providing high-quality data in eBay listings - and the differences between eBay and Amazon - as part of feature interview in the December 4th issue of the EcommerceBytes Update newsletter.

Sellers have an easier time with product attributes on Amazon.com because Amazon shows single listings with multiple offers - the bigger challenge there, according to Khawaja, is being careful not to create duplicate listings - Amazon is very aggressive in terms of removing duplicate ASINs.

Third party merchants are obviously competing with Amazon, said Khawaja, "but your data will be top class because Amazon has a great catalog and an excellent team of merchandisers." Another key difference from eBay that works in favor of Amazon sellers is that Amazon normalizes data. "This means that misspellings, variations in spelling, acronyms, casing issues etc can be resolved by their advanced algorithms," he said.

However, the data quality issue is still there for items that aren't top sellers in their category, since they are likely to have sparse attributes - fewer sellers means greater likelihood of missing data. "In that case the onus is back on the seller to provide rich attributes in a format acceptable by Amazon."

Why is it important? Well, for example, if you are listing a Sony product, how would you enter the brand into eBay - "Sony," "SONY," or sony? And what happens if you enter "SOny"? This data-entry issue matters on eBay (but not on Amazon.com), Obaid explains.

EcommerceBytes ran a three-part interview with Khawaja where he shares important information that every eBay seller should read.

Sovoia Interview Part 1 - Understanding the Challenges of eBay Search

Sovoia Interview Part 2 - Refining Item Specifics for eBay Best Match

Sovoia Interview Part 3 - Differences between eBay and Amazon Search

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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