|Thu Sept 13 2012 13:02:28|
Are eBay's Category Rollups Losing Buyers Who Browse?
By: Julia Wilkinson
A seller recently wrote to EcommerceBytes complaining about the recent category "rollup" that happened under the Fashion Jewelry category. eBay had announced the latest round of category rollups in its 2012 Fall Update, titled "Category, Item Specifics, Catalog Updates."
eBay has been rolling up subcategories and replacing them with new Item Specifics, which must be check-marked by shoppers who want them to be included in their search, and selected by sellers in the listing process. (EcommerceBytes wrote about it when it first began back in 2004, and also when it caused complaints specifically in the Pottery & Glass category).
This seller was impacted in particular by the Fashion Jewelry category rollups, which were listed in the Update under "Category Changes: Jewelry & Watches": "It appears that most of the Jewelry and Watches subcategories have been gutted except Fine Jewelry," wrote the seller. "For Example: Fashion Jewelry>Necklaces and Pendants>Choker have gone away (as have all the other sub categories under Necklaces and Pendants). I won't rail long on eBay except to say that it is the stupidest decision I have ever heard of in any company. If one wants items to sell. Why would you make it impossible to sell an item."
The seller felt the old system of many subcategories was preferable to the current one of Item Specifics: "In the past they had an excellent set of categories (sure some others would have been nice but nonetheless it was a good set of categories)." They noted that "all the subcategories of Fashion Jewelry & Watches have no sub categories (e.g.. necklaces and pendants; Earrings: Rings; etc.) EXCEPT get ready: Body Jewelry > breaks down into 4 categories; Body Piercing has a break down of 11 categories; Navel Rings has a breakdown of 7 categories; and none of those have a further breakdown."
If shoppers -- who are potential buyers -- always use the Item Specifics as they are intended, this should not have an adverse effect on sellers' -- and therefore eBay's -- sales. But, could eBay be losing sales from buyers who may prefer to browse a deep subcategory structure, and serendipitously stumble across items? Or, might there be shoppers who don't think to use the Item Specifics checkboxes, or don't know about them, leaving them at the mercy of the search words they happen to type in?
In one recent discussion, a seller said seller said the reason people were complaining they were not longer getting sales on eBay is because those sellers were not using Item Specifics. But other sellers denied this.
It's also interesting to look at eBay's home page now, and note it has a mere nine top-level categories, with the rest lumped under "All Categories." In looking at a screen capture of its top level in 2003, it had 23 top-level categories, plus some more subcategories visible under those on its home page.
What do you think? Have the category rollups affected the subcategories in which you sell, and if so, do you suspect it's causing a drop in sales? Do you as a shopper remember to use the Item Specifics when searching? As a seller, do you think you're using the Item Specifics effectively to list? Could eBay be losing sales it might get from shoppers who would prefer to browse? Post a comment here!