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eBay Advises Sellers to Add Product Identifiers Early

eBay is advising sellers to get an early start when it comes to complying with its upcoming product identifier requirements, saying it would give them an edge – “Help holiday shoppers find your items by adding product identifiers to your multi-variation listings ahead of next year’s requirement.” The boost in visibility will extend not only to eBay search results, but to external search engines like Google and Bing, it said in Friday’s announcement.

When creating new multi-variation listings or manual relistings after January 31, 2016, sellers will be required to use product identifiers on items that are in new condition or manufacturer refurbished condition for products within certain categories, including books, shoes, DVDs, toys, and health & beauty.

Sellers are not required to include product identifiers on collectibles, vintage, or one-of-a-kind items. And while they aren’t required to add product identifiers to listings for used goods yet, eBay plans to add all conditions sometime in the first-half of 2016.


eBay is using the product identifiers that sellers add to their listings as a way to build a catalog, and has referred to it as a make or break initiative. eBay devoted a large portion of its recent post-earnings conference call to bringing analysts up-to-date on the project.

eBay had initially planned to require sellers to include Product Identifiers for items with variations as of September 1st, but it had to extend the deadline when sellers ran into technical issues when trying to comply.

In a recent blog post, eBay Manager of Product Experience David Wohrman said that by requiring product identifiers in certain listings, eBay is able to build and maintain “structured data” – in essence, a known catalog of items for sale.

Wohrman also explained another benefit: “The more data – brands, manufacturer part numbers, and global trade item numbers, such as Universal Product Codes (UPCs) and International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) – that we have in our master catalog, the faster sellers can get items listed. Because, much of the description will be auto-populated when they input the product identifier, or scan their item. They’ll just need to add things like condition and price.”

Sellers can see more details and a complete list of categories affected by the policy change on the eBay website.

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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/.