Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Aug 20 2017 14:42:50

eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change

By: Ina Steiner

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Sellers have been experiencing issues this weekend when listing (or relisting) certain brands on eBay -  has it finally come, one seller asked on the eBay discussion boards. "Can't seem to use "Does not Apply" for UPC on certain name brand new items."

This morning, a reader sent us the error message they received when trying to relist an item:

It looks like there's a problem with this listing.
Calvin Klein products have a registered UPC. Please enter a valid UPC that matches your item.

While eBay had required sellers to add a UPC code to listings offering new and refurbished items for sale in many categories, it had been allowing sellers to place a "Does not apply" message instead of a code. On the eBay discussion board, a seller expressed their frustration they were experiencing this weekend:

"Not looking forward to the extra time to enter UPC on every listing. Right now it seems mostly on certain brands, Disney, Calvin Klien, Ralph Lauren. I guess it is time to start digging into inventory to get UPC codes for 1400+ listings. Duh, Duct tape can't fix stupid. I don't know if that's me for not preparing for this as warned or eBay for forcing this on us."

It's interesting to note that some sellers remain confused about the reason for eBay's requirements, stating that buyers don't search by UPC code. But eBay's "Structured Data Initiative" is really about creating a product catalog so it can show shoppers product pages in addition to individual sellers' listing pages.

The EcommerceBytes reader explained what's different for him and other sellers this weekend: "This is the first time that I have been unable to relist several brands due to the fact that I do not have a UPC code. "Does Not Apply" has always worked."

And, the reader continued: "If eBay go down this road this will be a blow to sellers who sell used items, or new items that simply don't have a UPC on the tag."

Note that as far as we know, the UPC requirement does not apply to listings for used items. In the Fall 2016 Seller Update, eBay had written:

"By February 2017, new listings of new or manufacturer refurbished items in most categories will require at least one of the product identifiers (e.g. UPC, GTIN, one of the above, etc.). Also, note that the options "Does not Apply" and "NA" will no longer be available for the majority of items. Some categories and item types will continue to be exempt. The list of exemptions will be communicated by next year."

It doesn't help that a search for "eBay Product Identifiers" on Google comes up with an old eBay help page from 2015 as the first result. The other page-one search results all link to industry discussions, but no main up-to-date landing page or help page on the eBay website.

Using eBay's Help search comes up with a link to this page (also undated) that states:

"Beginning this summer, listings for new or manufacturer-refurbished items in most categories will be able to use non-standard product identifiers (e.g. ASIN, Google ID, etc.) as well as proprietary identifiers like an inventory control number. These will be offered to sellers in addition to what currently exists (UPC, GTIN, ISBN, etc.). While "Does not Apply" and "NA" will continue to be available, it is recommended that sellers provide non-standard and proprietary identifiers in order to benefit from some search functions and listing insights."

This afternoon, our reader sent us an update: "Per my earlier email this morning, hold on to your hat - I was just told by eBay customer service that the change that I mentioned to you has been implemented, WITHOUT ANY NOTICE to sellers. So for certain brands, (clothing category) the hundreds and thousands of products that do not have UPCs, well, they will not be able to be relisted."

There's no notice on the announcement board, stay tuned for further updates.




Comments (47) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change   eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change

by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 20 15:20:04 2017

When this happens to sellers the best policy is to move your inventory off of eBay onto  the many new venues for garment sellers, that or start a store on Shopify or on Big Commerce, eBay is mismanaged by folks like Hal Lawton who came from Home Depot, eBay is not Home Depot and Hal Lawton is the wrong guy to head eBay operations just as Devin is, both of them should be fired by the Board of Directors and will be when sellers move their inventory off of eBay.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change   eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change

by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 20 15:22:59 2017

Research on online marketplaces that are quickly replacing eBay as the go to places to shop.

https://www.google.com/search?num=30&rlz=1C1IPOA_enUS737U
S737&q=garment+marketplaces&oq=garment+marketplaces&gs_l=psy-ab.12...19026.23152.0.25516.16.14.2.0.0.0.168.1398.11j3.14.0....0...1.1.64.psy-ab..0.15.1307...0j0i20k1j0i22i30k1j0i13k1j0i13i30k1.OKkr7dIs65A

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change   eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 20 15:50:43 2017

I'm "confused" ......

Is this a "simple" force that eBay has decidedly to implement (hit - it won't help them make more sales)

OR

Is this a away to implement brand gating????

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change   eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 20 16:33:10 2017

Well according to Ina's own search of Ebay's help this was noted as beginning this summer that this was going to happen.....So what's the problem. Those sellers who were inclined to use DNA will now have to do some work to fix what should have been done the first time around.

Hard to feel sorry for those that created their own problems. AGAIN

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change   eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change

by: Vegasannie This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 20 16:42:53 2017

So, for International Designer brands that do not use a UPC code, "Does not Apply" has always worked. Can't wait to see what happens...ugh.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change   eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change

by: futervest This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Sun Aug 20 17:12:14 2017

My opinion for what its worth.
I have been following what ebay has been doing by the postings on this publisher for a while. From what I can put together
1. ebay is sending emails to buyers  on watched item at lower prices.
2 Ebays new lower price wars with amazon.
3 Mandatory barcodes.
Ebay is now wanting this to help the shoppers search for the items moore efishantly.
Ebay is using this information to cross reference items and send the cheapest items to she sellers to lock in the sale for ebay's commission.
eBay is using the dollar store philosophy to sell merchandise.
Selling a lot of merchandise at very low cost will make you more  money than selling less at a higher price.
This is great for ebay because they get a cut from everybody. But for the seller it is death if you can't do mass salles.  And with the competition of online sellers massively increasing daily it will only get worse.  Also food for thought A while back eBay recieved patterns for tracking software  and shortly after started doing their own overseas shipping I can't help but wonder if ebay is doing a bait and switch on overseas shipping. Someone buy yours you ship it to kentucky someone overseas has the same item ebay send the overseas  one to the buyer and  yours stays in country this would explain why only certain items can be shipped by ebay's overseas shipping program instead of all items.  JUST MY OPINION.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change   eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change

by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 20 17:36:17 2017

futervest, eBay is run by the most inept group of executives ever, Devin was running the marketplace before he was promoted to CEO, in all that time Devin has done ZERO to reverse the idiotic policies of former CEO John Donahoe.

Under Devin eBay has shown ZERO net growth and sellers are enraged even more by his ill advised 'new ideas' on how to run a marketplace, he is simply all talk and no positive actions and has hurt small sellers with his idiotic leadership.

Devin is a massive flop in both positions he has held at eBay, it looks like he will go down as a worse CEO than John  Donahoe and that is a tragedy for the corporation and eBay employees worldwide,.

Devin has polluted the US facing site with duplicated spam listings from China sellers and that from day one was part of his agenda, time for sellers to call it like it is and quit walking in fear of what eBay executives might do to them, they have already destroyed millions of small US based sellers businesses and it is high time sellers stand up and fight for what is right.  

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change   eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change

by: dander This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 20 18:28:13 2017

Can we talk logically. Some brands i.e. the Calvins and Ralphs of the world are cracking down on counterfeit items. Some of us have signed agreements that prohibit us from using product identifiers on our listings. What do you do, keep ebay happy or risk pissing off your supplier. From what I see from my competitors, they either don't read the terms when they buy things or ignore. For example stock photo's to use them you need permission. Some suppliers specifically prohibit the use of photo's. Again this is going to bite many of us in the butt including ebay one day.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change   eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sun Aug 20 19:12:08 2017

Attn: Wall Street

EVERY DAY sellers have to work around (if and when that's even possible) one ebay platform failure/glitch after another.  Management steadfastly refuses to bring the platform up to even minimal tech standards, and such intransigence is one reason among many that this stock is grossly overvalued.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change   eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 20 19:19:22 2017

@ Ming

Wall street doesn't care. Fleecebay is but a little drip in the ocean of water. Wallstreet has bigger worries than if sellers on Fleecebay are whining or not.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change   eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change

by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 20 20:50:11 2017

Wall Street does care and is watching eBay, Ming is correct, see what experts say about eBay, they are not making enough to make up for cost of capital, in most cases companies that can't make more than their cost of capital are worthless.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/hershshefrin/2017/08/18
/investors-accept-seriously-flawed-analysts-judgments-about-ebays-fair-value/#69726c8f16e7

https://simplywall.st/news/2017/04/10/investors-in-ebay-inc-ebay-are-paying-above-the-intrinsic-value/

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change   eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sun Aug 20 21:30:36 2017

eBay once again trying to be Amazon.  eBay never tire of shooting themselves in the foot.

eBay begged sellers to help them build a catalog. This is the big thanks that they get for doing so.

Wenig, are you still trying to reconnect with small sellers?  A BIG #FAIL!!!!

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change   eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sun Aug 20 21:54:21 2017

@ Froggy

I can't speak for anyone besides me, but frankly I'm tired of your belittling sellers by labeling legitimate complaints as "whining" when large amounts of money and the success or failure of businesses are at stake.

Yes, sellers can and do sell elsewhere. However, ebafia management (and by extension Wall Street) must learn that if ebafia would also enable their TRS sellers to be successful that their success will be enhanced as well.

Devil and Hell need to re read the children's story about the goose that laid the golden eggs.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change   eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sun Aug 20 21:55:33 2017

@Rexford

"Wenig, are you still trying to reconnect with small sellers?  A BIG #FAIL!!!!

#FAKECEO

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change   eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change

by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 20 22:14:05 2017

"Devil and Hell need to re read the children's story about the goose that laid the golden eggs."

Ming, is there a way to double like this post, because I haven't laughed so hard in a while, thank you.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change   eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Aug 21 06:37:27 2017

Feeling Froggy says "Hard to feel sorry for those that created their own problems. AGAIN".

Feeling Froggy--eBay's own customer service reps were not familiar with this change, nor were the third party listing sites that sellers use.  Sellers did not create this problem, eBay forced this problem on sellers.  

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change   eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Aug 21 06:42:24 2017

"Ming says "@ Froggy

I can't speak for anyone besides me, but frankly I'm tired of your belittling sellers by labeling legitimate complaints as'whining' when large amounts of money and the success or failure of businesses are at stake."

Amen to that. These changes clearly don't affect FeelingFroggy.  Does FF sell used aircraft tools too?  

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change   eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Aug 21 06:45:29 2017

eBay Shill Buster says "Devin is a massive flop in both positions he has held at eBay"

From what I have read it leads me to believe that it was the same when he was at Thomson.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change   eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change

by: uppercutknives This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 21 07:58:41 2017

Ebay is cutting the herd once again. Comply or Die!
This will finally push other sellers off the website to other venue's.  And once a seller is soiled and gone they generally stay gone. People don't search or shop by UPC code.
Maybe sellers don't want to be in a catalog with others. And many products don't have valid UPC codes. ANOTHER EPIC FAIL FOR EBAY.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change   eBay Sellers Caught by Surprise over UPC Change

by: thebobman This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 21 08:14:25 2017

"Hp products have a registered upc" sure, some do, but i sell parts. A hp laptop will have one, but the cpu fan doesn't, just a number like "437264-001"

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