Email This Post Email This Post

eBay Discusses New Catalog Approach with Sellers and Developers

eBay
eBay Discusses New Catalog Approach with Sellers and Developers

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.”

Sponsored Link

eBay also spoke to developers about the catalog during the recent eBay Connect developers conference, according to a post on the eBay blog.

Some takeaways:

  • 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.”

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
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.

4 thoughts on “eBay Discusses New Catalog Approach with Sellers and Developers”

  1. We have never filled out the item specifics or attributes. Not even the upc code. We check the Does not apply. Our sales are the same today as they were 2 years ago. Why waste time on something that does not help. Saves a ton of time not doing it.

  2. How is this different from what happens now? I never opt in to any product listing because 90% of the time, there is at least one error in the catalog information. However, very often, when a product has a UPC, it automatically connects my listing to a catalog item. I sell collectible music, and very often a limited collectible version has the same UPC number as an open-edition pressing. So, when eBay’s title and details link to my listing, it causes major problems since (at least in the vast majority of cases), eBay is describing the regular edition and that’s not what I’m selling. Then, they tell buyers they can get my item from another seller for less money (often significantly less), but the item the are suggesting is NOT what I’m selling (though it may have the same UPC). eBay needs to get rid of their disastrous catalog entirely and let sellers describe their own items like years ago. Whenever I tell that to eBay, their response is “don’t you want your listings to show up on Google?” Sure, I want them to show up on Google. But if the trade-off is that eBay is going to misrepresent my items and cost me sales and/or open me up to claims, then take my listings of Google entirely. I don’t pay Google, I do pay eBay – a lot!

Leave a Reply