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eBay UK Sellers Worry about New Requirements

eBay will soon require sellers to add product identifiers to their listings. eBay announced the requirement in the U.S. last month, and informed UK sellers on Tuesday as part of its Spring Seller Update. eBay UK’s annual spring release included other changes as well (see related story for more information), but this change resulted in the most comments from sellers.

Beginning in early June, UK sellers will have to start including product identifiers for branded new and manufacturer refurbished items in affected categories “to enable buyers to find your items more easily,” eBay told sellers.

Beginning June 29th, sellers must include product identifiers for single item listings in affected categories to complete the listing process: “This applies whenever you manually relist, or revise certain fields within, existing eligible listings too.”

And beginning September 1st, sellers must include product identifiers for listings with variations in affected categories to complete the listing.

eBay told sellers that if an item does not have a unique product identifier, they can select “Does not apply, and the listing would not be considered non-compliant.

However, it warned that “false information will be detected which could result in your listing being blocked or removed.”

Product identifiers are unique codes typically found on labels or bar codes which are used by retailers to help them keep track of and manage their stock, eBay explained. Product identifiers include brand, Manufacturer Part Number (MPN) and Global Trade Item Number (GTIN). GTIN includes European Article Numbers (EAN) and International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN).

Sellers who use product identifiers make it easier for buyers to find what they’re looking for, both on and off eBay, as well as on mobile devices. Items which include product identifiers are eligible for inclusion in more deals and promotions, plus you’re well prepared for future enhancements, such as new product reviews.

In a FAQ, “How do I add the information for listings with variations,” eBay explained, “You can add both a Manufacturer Part Number and a Global Trader Item Number for each variation within a listing. However, you can assign only one brand to a listing at the parent level.”

In a discussion board devoted to the change, sellers asked lots of questions and expressed concern about how the requirement would impact their business.

“Why not just change the name to Amazonbay and save us all this time-wasting,” one seller asked.

Another asked, “Will eBay actually enforce the new rules? I for one am tired of constantly revising listings to keep up with eBay changes, yet 100s of other sellers break the rules and eBay do nothing about it.”

Some sellers blamed eBay’s search engine technology Cassini for the new requirement. And one discouraged seller wrote, “Once again my heart sinks as a new eBay policy is announced and I wonder to what extent it affects the goods I sell and does eBay realise how utterly irrelevant it is to the majority of items I sell.”

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.