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eBay Delays Rollout of ‘Required’ Item Specifics in 2 Categories

eBay
eBay Delays Rollout of Required Item Specifics

eBay is delaying the rollout of “required” Item Specifics in two categories, it informed sellers last week.

In its 2020 eBay Spring Seller Update, it had announced plans to institute new required attributes in listings in the Electronics and Home and Garden categories this spring.

However, a reader forwarded EcommerceBytes an email he received from eBay informing him it would rollout the changes this summer instead.

eBay had begun making certain Item Specifics required in some categories last year, and it did not go well. Sellers in the clothing category are still dealing with the disruption as eBay continues working to fix the problems.

eBay didn’t reference the snafu in last week’s letter – nor did it mention its current work-from-home directives for many employees – when it wrote, “We have decided to extend this timeline into the Summer so we can release new selling features, and with the current global context, it’s become even more important to give you the space and time you need to adapt.”

So what’s the purpose of making some Item Specifics mandatory? eBay explained in a FAQ in the Spring Update: “We evaluated item specifics that buyers frequently use to find and purchase items (i.e., the item specifics buyers are using as search terms or as filters to narrow their search results down to the products they’re looking for). Based on our evaluation, we now require and recommend item specifics that matter most to buyers.”

Here’s the email eBay sent to the seller on March 19th with the subject line, “Extension for item specifics requirements & new selling features coming this Summer”:

Extension for item specifics requirements & new selling features coming soon

Recently, we notified you about upcoming item specific requirements that were to be implemented March 31st in the Home & Garden and Electronics categories.

We have decided to extend this timeline into the Summer so we can release new selling features, and with the current global context, it’s become even more important to give you the space and time you need to adapt.

In the upcoming months, we will provide additional updates on the timeline for these requirements as well as the new selling features.

The item specifics you have already given us are important. The more data you give us about what you’re selling, the better we can match your item to what your buyers are looking for.

Plus, by providing more item specifics now, you’re getting a head start on your competitors.

We encourage you to continue to add as many item specifics as possible to all of your listings, in particular the list provided on our Seller Center page as these will become Required in the near future.

Find all item specific requirements

Reminder of new features to help with Item specifics requirements

As announced in our most recent Seller News, there are now two places on Seller Hub, on the Overview and Listings Tabs, where you can see which of your active listings have missing item specifics.

Find out more

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.

3 thoughts on “eBay Delays Rollout of ‘Required’ Item Specifics in 2 Categories”

  1. We haven’t used an item specific in the over 6000 listings in one of our stores. No change in how much sells and Ebay never bothers us. Thats what the DOES APPLY BUTTON IS FOR.

  2. I would really question if all of these additional item specifics are going to result in any new material sales. It just sounds like more work imposed on the sellers with the prospect of little or no return in added sales. Didn’t we go through this with all the photo requirements a few years ago that was supposed to give us a 10% sales boost? At some point the law of diminishing returns is going to apply if it hasn’t already.

  3. Mandatory item specifics for Stamps category left panel filters failed to include catalog number, likely the most common search term used by collectors to find stamps. Collectors who search by catalog number hate getting irrelevant results, especially electronic and motorcycle parts.

    The required values “Certification”, “Grade”, “Place of Origin” and “Quality” are problematic. Some of the built-in values do not match accepted stamp marketplace terminology or lists are incomplete. Will item specific value not matching a built-in filter work at all or will dealers give up and not fill them in?

    • A certification is a credential that you earn to show that you have specific skills or knowledge. They are usually tied to an occupation, technology, or industry. The proper term would be “Certificate”. Only a small percentage of stamps have certificates. The built-in values do not include enough choices. If the stamp has no certificate is the term “Uncertified” likely to be chosen to describe the stamp or does it imply that the stamp is defective?
    • “Grade” is in the eye of the beholder unless the stamp has a graded certificate. Only a small percentage of stamps have certificates and fewer are graded. Buyers can judge centering of stamps from images. Why allow sellers to misrepresent what buyers can already see clearly?
    • “Place of Origin” seems redundant. The item specific “Country/Region of Manufacture” already exists. Buyers are likely to search by country, state or locality based on where the stamp was issued, not where it was printed.
    • “Quality” may be the most useful but is redundant if “Item Condition” was enabled in the Stamps category. At one time eBay supported values of “Unused” and “Used” that would now map into ID = 1500 for “Unused” and ID = 3000 for “Used”. The value “New”, ID = 0 could apply to stamps still in shrink wrap, not a common occurrence. Some eBay built-in values for unused hinged stamps misuse the term “Mint”, borrowed from coins. If additional Item Condition values are defined, they should follow usage in the Scott Catalog. Finally, not supporting Item Condition in the Stamps Category forces sellers who wish to include the “Condition Description” at the top of listings to label every stamp as “Used” even ones that are unused.

    All in all, mandatory item specifics in the Stamps category are ineffective marketing and may cause buyers who attempt to filter searches to miss some of the items they are interested in. Potential buyers in the Stamps category hate to miss anything they believe to be relevant.

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