Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
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by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Apr 11 2018 22:37:22

How to Get Seen in eBay's Impending Grouped Listings

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay offered sellers some advice on how to make their listings show up once it moves to a "product-based" marketplace, away from its current "listing-based" format. Mat Ste-Marie, who manages C2C Selling Experience, presented information about eBay's new shopping experience and how it would impact sellers during a webinar on Wednesday.

As the company explained in February, eBay will group listings so that search results will display products (rather than showing all listings) "to help buyers quickly find the specific product they are seeking." Phase 1 of the deployment is impacting a very small number of product lines, and eBay said this week it would expand the number of categories this year, with more information to come in May.

In his presentation, Ste-Marie addressed how buyers would see a seller's listing in the new product-based experience, and he displayed a slide showing a product page for an iPhone, specifically an "Apple iPhone X - 256GB - Space Gray (Unlocked) A1865 (CDMA + GSM)." (This link should bring you to that live product page.)

The product page featured one offer (called "Our pick") with a Buy It Now button - meaning a shopper could buy right from the product page without seeing other offers (listings). In the example of the product page shown in the slide, eBay also featured "product cards" that offered shoppers alternatives to eBay's pick:

Brand new: lowest price
New (other): lowest price
Pre-owned: lowest price

"One thing that our sellers might wonder when they see a page like this is, "Where's my item going to end up?,"" St-Marie said.

"So again, we're just grouping things in buckets to make things easier for buyers," he continued. "Whether we have Brand New, Free Shipping, Guaranteed Delivery is another one we can have, Pre-Owned, Auction, or whatever - each of those cards have the links that you can drill down into all offers that match that description." (He used the word "offers" interchangeably with "listings.")

He said eBay's pick is what it considers to be the best value, which is not just driven by price, but other things such as returns policy, or seller reputation, etc. - "what today we call Best Match."

Different searches will yield different product cards, Ste-Marie said, and if you are searching for something really rare, you might have just one of those.

Here's the clincher: Ste-Marie said when sellers start a new listing in a mandated product line or category, they would have to pick a product from the catalog, which is eBay's database of products. That's how it maps a seller's listing to the appropriate product page, so presumably that means eBay won't show your listing for an iPhone on a product page unless you've chosen the specific iPhone product from eBay's catalog when listing an item. (Don't panic - only a few product lines are currently impacted.)

He also explained how sellers could map their products in existing listings to the catalog in Seller Hub, and he displayed a slide with the following message:

A Reminder for You:
1) Check Seller Hub and My eBay to see what's required of your inventory.
2) Associate your listings with the eBay catalog.
3) Follow the step-by-step guidance on Seller Center

The manager fielded questions that revealed some sellers are worried about how the changes would impact the visibility of their listings and how eBay would deal with unique, rare, or used items that can't easily be compared to other sellers' items.

One remarkable revelation made during the webinar came when a seller named Marcus from Ontario asked, "Will listings from International Sites be included in the groupings in the catalogue?"

At least for the first step, there won't be any international items in the product-based shopping experience, Ste-Marie said. It won't stay like that for long, "obviously we need to solve for that," he said.

He said Marcus's eBay.ca listings that are productized would show up on eBay.ca, but not on eBay.com unless he listed on eBay.com from his Canadian account.

One seller from New York named Stephen asked, "How will listings be prioritized and distinguished when a potential buyer is searching for an item? What are the priorities that eBay will be using to pick which listing to put up front as the default or top level?"

"The overarching principle is similar to Best Match, but we're trying to get a little bit smarter than Best Match," Ste-Marie said, by providing "best value."

Interestingly, he said what is best value would vary from buyer to buyer. The algorithm can learn about buyers "so that over time we get smarter about presenting the right products to the right buyers, or rather, the right buying offer to the right buyer." 

That could be different from buyer to buyer - for instance, someone might care more about free shipping.

A seller named Rita from Missouri asked with regard to antiques and vintage items, "how can a computer tell the difference between a beautiful item from example France or Italy with history, etc. worth far more than a cheap knockoff from China?"

eBay's Jim "Griff" Griffith told her not to worry. eBay's not trying to hide listings, he said several times throughout the webinar.




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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Apr 11 22:57:32 2018

As I stated in the comments for the original post about the webinar, the Grifter said eBay wasn't trying to hide listings, yet it says right in their TOS that they have no obligation to show any listing.

Also, it appeared to me that they are going to favor the seller with the lowest price per the Grifter's example where he listed a fragrance at a particular price, and it wasn't showing up, and then when he lowered the price, his was the top item. I'm guessing what buyers will see as featured items is the ones with the lowest price, free shipping, extended return periods, and Guaranteed Delivery.

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This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Wed Apr 11 23:43:37 2018

As soon as someone at eBay says "not to worry", we should all start worrying.  

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by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 12 00:13:48 2018

I was looking for some printer labels today. I really need them quick so I clicked on the 2 and 3 day guarantees, okay nothing, I start looking under 4 day, so then I find  that if I went to the bottom of the page, the items that were actually sooner delivery were at the bottom, with slower delivery at the top of the page. They did not appear in 2 or 3 day searches.
If it is so smart, why did it not know I was looking for faster delivery?
BS, I would be worried, and I will be next month when they opt me into that mess of guaranteed delivery.
2 other issues today, 1 the sale confirmation email, where it tells you remaining stock has that wrong.
Prices on an ad was wrong when you put it in the cart.  I would have thought a buyer telling me that was crazy but I saw it for myself today. 69 on ad, 75 in cart.
I removed, tried again, a couple times, same issue. could not figure out why. not cool. No doubt this person has reduced his price for someone to purchase in the cart and it worked the opposite. Just a guess.
 

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This user has validated their user name. by: Castoman

Thu Apr 12 01:07:27 2018

OMG.......This is going to DESTROY sellers of certain products right away. If this type of result is returned on 100% of EVERY search at some point, it will DESTROY almost all of us. *Red Alert Everyone* -- Start creating a presence on every venue you can.

The boneheads actually said.......
He said eBay's pick is what it considers to be the best value, which is not just driven by price, but other things such as returns policy, or seller reputation, etc. - "what today we call Best Match."

^ On that listing / product page / search result screen (e.g., Amazon wannabe page) that is forced down your throat and displayed as essentially what you should buy, the seller offers: "No returns, but backed by eBay Money back guarantee".

NO RETURNS? I thought we all had to do FREE returns in the new eBay world. What a bunch of _insert your own creative word_. They tell us time and time again to do FREE returns. Trying to force it on us. Then use an example of a seller that offers NO RETURNS as the one that gets the ONLY spot that matters once they turn this functionality on? WTH?

They also mention seller reputation and the listing they chose as their "pick" is from a seller with 961 feedbacks? Granted, 100% positive, but I'm at 99.9% positive and have WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY more feedbacks than 961. I'm sure they'll do away with feedback too soon.

The grave they are digging themselves is so deep that the fall into it will kill almost everyone -- I wonder if they realize this. Such a shame.......we're witnessing the end of a once great company......at the same time, we're witnessing the morphing of everything into corporate Lemmings.

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This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Thu Apr 12 01:07:46 2018

I'm still stuck at how to differentiate a 'product' from a 'listing.' Pray tell, what is the difference?

This whole scheme smacks of a Steve Rubell styled (Studio 54) theatric "you, you and you are in!" and shooing the also-rans away from the velvet ropes guarding the entrance. I'm prognosticating a sh*tshow.  

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by: CardyChung This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 12 01:26:13 2018

Everyone's return policy is more or less the same. What's the difference between 99.7% and 99.8% feedback rating? I think ultimately it's going to come down to price. No wonder so many sellers have started using repricers.

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by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 12 01:32:31 2018

As Ebay continues their rush to the bottom, of course the lowest price is going to be their main consideration.  The ideal item for the Ebay catalog would be cheapest price with free shipping, free return shipping, 60 day returns and of course Guaranteed delivery.  By time the seller finishes with the deal most will be making less on the item than Ebay does on the deal.

The ebay spokesman said that right now International items would not be in there, but how much do you want to bet that China is in there and most of the time is going to be their recommended item because they are in bed with China and need them to succeed, regardless of how many sellers who pay much more in monthly fees than China does fall by the wayside.  I can't wait until they put this in full effect and watch as their growth suddenly has a negative number as more  and more sellers leave and the items continue to sell for less and less.

What Ebay forgets continually is that Amazon lost their rear ends for many years before they finally got things set up and working correctly.  I can't wait until Ebay has to announce to Wall Street and the Shareholders that their revenues have decreased and would really laugh if they had a loss for the quarter.  Wenig has got to be one of the dumbest CEO's I have ever seen or listened to. He just does not have a clue about how the industry Ebay is in works, or come up with an innovative idea, except to send the Chinese the listings of the Top Sellers on Ebay along with the Specs so they can sell the knockoffs on Ebay while passing them off as the real thing.  He raved in that one article about how the Chinese can take the information that he supplies them and have a product up and selling in 30 days, so Ebay always has the hot items.  What he neglects to say, is that Ebay has assisted them in violating all patents, copyrights, trademarks and intellectual properties and has no idea whether what they manage to produce is safe or filled with harmful chemicals or lead because that is not Ebays concern, unless it is a US Seller violating the rules.

.  All he can see is that Amazon is working well so Ebay needs to be just like them.  So after this idea flops, I guess next up on his list is for Ebay to fulfill the orders for what few sellers remain after this purge happens. I really can't wait to see just how badly Ebay messes up being the Payment Intermediary.  They can't even get the store renewal price in their email to the sellers  correct for the second year in a row. I mean really, how hard is it to not put out an email with pricing from 2 years ago, ?  Do they send out a new email correcting the price?  Of course not, but then they will wonder why so many sellers call and complain to CS when they renew their stores and get charged the new $21.95 instead of the $15.95 price that the email sates.

Ebay does so much to instill confidence in me about the abilities to continue to function in this market.  WTG Devin - you finally got your dream job and have succeeded in making Ebay the laughing stock of the industry.

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 12 02:11:52 2018

I wrote Ebay execs 2 letters in one week; now I can add Ste-Marie to the list of execs.  Anywho, it seems to me this is what AMZ catalog is and Ebay is mimicking AMZ's style of catalog.  Amz has a "rank" and sometimes you have to play detective when you list an item.  For example, before I  source a product, I go to AMZ and see if a) I can list it; b) what the rank is; c) how many are being offered.  If 100,000 are being offered, I don't source that product.  However, is 10 are being offered, I will buy it to resell and just WAIT until my product is bought.  It depends on the category.  Cameras and electronics are fast sellers.  DVDs and Books are not.  So I steer clear of those items.
Soooo -- if any of you are on AMZ then you know how this game is played.

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by: Jono77 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 12 05:17:23 2018

I've just looked at the example listing provided in the OP & noticed that eBay is promotoing an Iphone being sold by a Hong Kong seller with a feedback score of only 9 and a 90.9% rating due to one Neg & two Neutrals!  

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by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 12 05:35:31 2018

When fleabag decides to add our catagories to this stupidity WE WILL BE OUTTA THERE,,,,,To old to change.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Apr 12 06:28:50 2018

Chicago48, they are dying to be purchased by Amazon.  Why else would they try to copy Amazon in such a high level of detail?  If Amazon is smart they won't touch eBay's spit and duct tape technology or their AI.  Stephen Hawking: "AI could also spur the creation of powerful autonomous weapons of terror that could be used as a tool by the few to oppress the many."   AI in eBay's hands?  Ecommerce weapon of terror.

And Las VagueNess, we saw the outcome of the arrogance of Studio 54. Folks who can't "get in" will just go elsewhere.  Smart folks already have, and they are enjoying the party without the insults.

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by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 12 06:33:27 2018

''I'm still stuck at how to differentiate a 'product' from a 'listing.' Pray tell, what is the difference? ''

Oh, that one was easy.  Absent brilliance, baffled thus:
''...listings that are productized...''

Productized.  Gag me.

But that's what you are now.  You know that, right?  The very latest thing in corporaTIZED goobledygook.  All the rage.  

Even if you have a personally fulfilled niche kitch doodad, it's now, or soon will be, no more than a prepopulated toggling checkmark on an index card in eBay's virtual Dewey Decimal system, phase I've lost count.  

Pity the poor buyer though.  Soon to be 'experiencetized' with a virtual department store fragrance spritz in the face with every initial search entry.  And THEN, with apparent need to ''drill down'' into some series of currently nebulous ''buckets'', be targeted again at every stop on what will become quite the quest to find you and your ''offering''.  Which you'll need to whittle down a bit to fit that round hole.  

You remember, to FIT into that catalog?  The one that our suddenly all Hakuna-Matata unca-Griff was not so long ago really really 'worried' about needed so much help to preclude eBay's demise?  

Or, to paraphrase a quote from another famous 'trial', If it don't fit, you must now quit.



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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 12 06:37:21 2018

"eBay's Jim "Griff" Griffith told her not to worry"

THATS EXACTLY when you start worrying - since eBay is not honest.

""How will listings be prioritized and distinguished when a potential buyer is searching for an item? What are the priorities that eBay will be using to pick which listing to put up front as the default or top level?"

So its pay for play like always??

Cant they give an EXACT answer on how to get that BUY BOX?

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This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Thu Apr 12 08:25:54 2018

"By time the seller finishes with the deal most will be making less on the item than Ebay does on the deal."

Talk about hitting the nail on the head.  It's hard enough to make more than eBay on a sale as it is.  This is going to make it outright impossible.

Of course, I don't expect to have to deal with this much, if at all, as I've already decided to call it quits when the bank invasion goes live.  That, I figure, could be any time after June, so I've already made plans to replace, or do without, the income.  There are some numbers I'd like to hit for OCD's sake but I don't have a snowball's chance in hell of any but the lowest of them.

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by: ladywoodspirit This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 12 09:09:46 2018

As a buyer, ebay has done everything it can to drive me away & the product based pages will be the capper. I hate that shopping format. It adds so much more clicking & searching to weed through to what I want to actually purchase. But I haven't had to wait for this to roll out for ebay to make my shopping on their site unpleasant. Ever since they began showing me what they think I want, I've slacked off my buying. I don't have the time nor the desire to deal with the hassle of shopping on ebay & once they switch to the new format, I can say for sure I will not be shopping on that site.

As a seller, my sales tanked last year & never recovered no matter what I do. I've jumped through every hoop & over every hurdle they've presented, yet my sales are few & far between. I've tried changing products, I upped my returns window to 30 days, I've done the ''free'' shipping for years as it is. If I lived close to a road where people would find me, I'd be better off setting up in my yard  a few weekends a month with yard sales.  

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 12 09:28:59 2018

The announcement(s) effectively make eBay into Amazon  - someone buy DW a cake to congratulate him.

Even on Amazon - most buyers have NO IDEA whether the item being offered is from Amazon or 3rd party ...... How will eBay differentiate sellers - when they dont even show the sellers name (as they do on Amazon)? Is eBay afraid to show a sellers name??

Who will design/will someone design a Camelcamelcamel type program ???

Will eBay explain the way to get the box (beyond the guessing)?

What do sellers who DONT/WONT jump through eBay hoops do (since they wont get seen/get the box)?

If you dont jump through eBay hoops (aka no returns etc) - does it even pay to list on eBay anymore since you wont ever get the box?

How does this buy box provide MORE revenue for eBay - by its very definition - showing less people means you will make less sales?

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This user has validated their user name. by: Shane

Thu Apr 12 09:33:32 2018

Wow! Seen a lot of bad changes with eBay over the years, but this is terrible. If they are insane enough to implement this site-wide I don't see how sellers stand a chance to make money. No money, no sellers. No sellers, no eBay. They will never be Amazon no matter how hard they try.

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by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 12 09:36:07 2018

@Silver Ice King
An example for you of real item on Amazon where Chinese Co. has the buy box:
The China seller has product listed for 3.99 with free shipping from California, but when you read the feedback for this seller, it is full of negatives, it seems they are actually shipping from China and the buyers are upset it is taking so long....now it does say it takes nearly a month to get it, but of course, none of their buyers can read either.  Amazon does nothing, as apparently they too must think that a month in transit is cool coming from CA.
I would not expect ebay to be any better at this.

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by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 12 10:05:12 2018

Well, the one thing that I liked about ebay is that I can look and sift through the search to find what I want. The problem is on Amazon, there is too slim a choice, and navigating to find a bigger pool is just about impossible. It could be that I am not approaching the search on Amazon right, but if thats the case so what....go to ebay. I mean really, what will be the difference from the two? I guess if I have to work harder to find what I want, then why not go to Amazon also?

As far as the catalog, free returns, guaranteed delivery goes? Whatever, if it kills my business on ebay, it kills it. Its at the point already that costs are up to sell on ebay that its almost not worth it. I will survive on other venues. Sales totals wont be as high without ebay, but the aggravation will be gone.

I'm already in guaranteed delivery. It doesnt work, or at least for me. I think ebay adds a day on to it to cover their ass. I have had almost a 100% on time upload with my packages, ship daily, but yet I still cant seem to send something to my brother 5 mi away in 3 days according to ebay.....When in fact it would take 2 days! So you tell me, is it because of me its not working??? Asked CS, they said they cant figure it out, even after 3 calls. Told me someone would call me back within 72 hrs....That was 2 months ago.

Sooo. with the GD debacle...do you really think all of these programs will work properly? Its a waste to try and come up with a strategy to make it work for you because it will just not work in general!

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Thu Apr 12 10:22:31 2018

eBay's been pissing off sellers for 2 decades.

Now they're going after the buyers!

I DON'T need "grouped" listings to find what I want. . .

Just show me the merchandise, I'll decide what to buy!

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