An eBay seller who attended last week’s eBay Open conference was interested in a session on how eBay is changing its approach to building its product catalog and the role that sellers play.
David Zjaba, who highly recommended the conference, said eBay is still going the catalog route, as that’s what customers want, but they are building the catalog differently. “My takeaway was that in the past you had to try to find your item in the catalog, etc, now it’s more going to work the other way – AI (Artificial Intelligence) will build the catalog and kind of get your items into it.”
Using an example, he said, “In other words rather than my searching out a June 4 1998 Time magazine when I list, after I list, my item will be put there – so the computer will do the work for us instead of us sweating over doing it.”
In the spring, eBay had informed sellers it would be taking a new approach, no longer requiring sellers to actively associate their listings with the eBay catalog – but they will have to provide product attributes. “Now, you need only provide complete and accurate item specifics to optimize your listings for product-based shopping,” eBay had explained in its announcement.
Zjaba said the eBay Open presenter had worked at Amazon developing its catalog. “He said that eBay had given different information last year on what to do and he apologized as they changed this year completely from last year, but that this time they won’t change course. He said it’s a long process to change the catalog.”
eBay also spoke to developers about the catalog during the recent eBay Connect developers conference, according to a post on the eBay blog.
- eBay is updating the Taxonomy API and Trading API to provide guidance on important item specifics that are required, recommended, and optional for sellers to add into their listings.
- eBay will work to optimize its “findability engine” by using structured data to power search recall enhancements, filtered experiences, personalization, and demand-based search engine indexing.
eBay Senior Technical Product Manager on Structured Data Era Johal told developers there is a massive opportunity for them to help sellers’ listings be found. “Item specifics give you context, and with context, you get concrete facts about what the listing is. When the inventory comes labeled, we have more power to understand what it is, and that is the simple magic of improved findability.”