Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sat Sept 17 2022 10:26:53

eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency

By: Ina Steiner

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Sellers continue to find fault with eBay's new "unified" listing tool, but eBay remains committed to rolling it out to all users. eBay explained the rationale for the new tool as follows: "The new tool provides a unified listing experience across desktop and mobile web browsers, so sellers can efficiently list at home or on the go."

We heard from yet another seller on Friday who encountered the new tool for the first time this week, and his complaints are similar to those we've been hearing from sellers since eBay formally announced it on January 19, 2021:

"This morning I went to list an item on eBay and found there is a new item listing page. Completely different than the previous one. 

"I called "customer service" at eBay and the old page is said to be retired. No way to opt out. 

"It is too clever by a hundredfold. Just about everything has a drop down menu to select from. I think it was designed to be done on a phone, not a laptop. 

"IF I use it, productivity will be down 75%. The old listing page was stupid and slow to use. This is just about unusable. Not sure where I am going with this. And I have been selling on eBay since Pierre was peddling PEZ dispensers."

Other sellers who also found themselves suddenly migrated into the new listing tool this month began discussing it on the eBay discussion boards on September 8th.

Here's a roadmap to some of our coverage since the launch, including additional letters from readers:

"eBay to Change Seller Listing Experience" (January 19, 2021) - Link to EcommerceBytes news article
Excerpt: "Listing items for sale on eBay can feel different depending on whether you’re using a mobile device or a desktop computer. eBay set out to change that, and today it announced the new “Unified Listing Experience” and made it available to some sellers. eBay said the new capability brings greater consistency to how sellers list across devices."

"eBay Makes Listing on Desktop as Difficult as on Mobile" (March 25, 2021) - Link to Letters to the Editor blog post
Excerpt from seller's letter: "I think more publicity needs to be given to the new eBay unified listing experience tool. We need a unified pushback as sellers to this horrible update."

"eBay Loses Chief Product Officer Pete Thompson" (March 22, 2022) - Link to EcommerceBytes news article
Excerpt: "eBay announced in a filing on Tuesday that its Chief Product Officer Pete Thompson is leaving the company next month. The news comes just 12 days after Thompson spoke to Wall Street analysts about the company’s vision for a “tech led reimagination” at eBay Investor Day on March 10, 2022. In his presentation, Pete Thompson reviewed some of the projects he had worked on, included seller tools such as a unified listing tool and the ability to add video to listings."

"eBay Forces Sellers into New Unified Listing Tool" (April 22, 2022) - Link to EcommerceBytes Blog post
Excerpt: "Sellers report eBay is forcing them to use a new listing tool that they say makes the job of adding items for sale more difficult. If you have a feeling of deja vu, it's because the same thing happened a year ago. In March 2021, a seller had written in a letter to the Editor that more publicity needed to be given to the new eBay unified listing experience tool, calling for a "unified pushback" to what they called a horrible update."

"eBay Works on Mending New Listing Tool but Hits a Snag" (June 5, 2022) - Link to EcommerceBytes Blog post
Excerpt: "Sellers have pleaded for weeks for eBay to fix its new listing tool foisted upon them last month, and last week, they reported signs of improvement in the tool. But last week's update also seem to have resulted in a glitch impacting sellers listing books and music involving ISBN and UPC codes in Item Specifics."

"eBay CEO Tells Shareholders Old Strategy Was Not Working" (June 14, 2022) - Link to EcommerceBytes Blog post
Excerpt: "eBay CEO Jamie Iannone told investors at a presentation following the company's annual shareholder meeting on June 8, 2022, that the company's previous strategy was not working."
...
"The CEO said eBay was delivering a better user experience for buyers and sellers, citing videos in Stores; a new image listing tool; and a unified listing experience that has begun rolling out. Iannone also said that by taking over payment processing, eBay was reducing unpaid items.

"Seller Abstains from Listing Since Launch of New eBay Tool" (July 14, 2022) - Link to Letters to the Editor blog post
Excerpt from seller's letter: "I was just hoping (and what seems like thousands of other full time sellers) you could shed some light in the fact that it's been 3 months now since eBay forced the new unified listing tool on a portion of us. It is a mobile app that was extremely poorly adapted to a desktop. Not adapted at all really - that is the problem."

As we noted in April, relying on a platform's own tools isn't always the best option. Third-party developers often offer additional features marketplaces don't necessarily offer, but they usually come with fees, leaving sellers to weigh the cost versus the benefits.

It's vital for marketplaces to provide sellers with the ability to complete tasks accurately and efficiently on desktop and on mobile. But why not provide tools that play to the strengths of each format? Is it a cost-saving measure so eBay programmers need only work on a mobile-friendly design to which desktop users must adapt? Sellers and programmers, feel free to weigh in. 

We're also curious to hear from sellers who've been migrated to the new tool since 2021 - has eBay improved the unified listing tool since you've been using it?

Updated 9/17/2022 to add link to eBay discussion board thread.



Comments (32) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency   eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency

by: AddyUp This user has validated their user name.

Sat Sep 17 17:48:52 2022

I just found out I am now on the ghastly new lister and the infantile new sold email. At this point people generally say things can only get better. But this is eBay so the opposite is true.

It's all going from bad to worse.  

Perminate Link for eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency   eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency

by: Amberlin This user has validated their user name.

Sat Sep 17 17:54:34 2022

I'll repeat what I said a couple months ago. I've been selling in here for 23 years. Ebay says I have sold 40k items, but they didn't count the first 10 years so I know it's much more. I've given them hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees over those years.
I can create a new listing for my items (mostly music media - LP's Cd's etc) in about 3 minutes.
The very day that it requires me TEN minutes instead of 3 for each listing is when I quit. I'm a senior. My time is running short.
When I'm finally forced into it, I'm done with Ebay.

There is absolutely NO reason to not offer BOTH tools if someone really wants to create a cheap crappy listing using a phone. There should be a choice.

Perminate Link for eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency   eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Sep 17 20:43:51 2022

The common thread in all of this is the same as usual - eBay working AGAINST its own sellers.

Why even bother with the "tell us what you think" BS? (its on every page.

You want to know Mr eBay for Dummies - it, like you stink - period.

Sure, you hoodwinked eBay to pay you a large salary for a Mafia inspired "do nothing job" and you've got that over us - but thats about it.

Perminate Link for eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency   eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sat Sep 17 22:04:37 2022

Ah ha!    This likely explains why my September sales have been so rotten.  All year long, sales have been pretty good.  But his month?   Very poor.

eBay is likely tinkering with this idiotic roll out.  When they are tinkering it ALWAYS affects sales.

It is bad enough that eBay can't get out of the way of sellers, but eBay can't get out of the way of themselves.   Always trying to fix something that isn't broken.   It already takes too long to list on eBay.  It takes 1 to 2 minutes to list an item on Poshmark.

Perminate Link for eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency   eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Sat Sep 17 22:18:49 2022

Jamie Iannone is the Henry Ford of e-commerce.
"You can have any color you want...as long as it's black."
I.E., my way or the highway.
So...after 24 years, ebay has driven me to Facebook Marketplace.
Title...General category...Description...Price...Shipping cost.
Bim. Bam. Boom. Plus, 5% fee. No promotion needed.
Stubbornly stupid is no way to go through life, jamie-kins.
Got 150 hits on an item I listed yesterday...would've gotten maybe 5 on ebay.

Perminate Link for eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency   eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Sat Sep 17 22:35:03 2022

eBay is now like going to the counter at Mickey D's and ordering a #7 with a Coke.
"We're sorry...#7 only comes with Diet Coke."  

Perminate Link for eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency   eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency

by: Shanna This user has validated their user name.

Sat Sep 17 23:21:23 2022

Listing on Mercari and Poshmark takes about 30 seconds. Not sure why eBay does not want to compete in the marketplace anymore.

Perminate Link for eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency   eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency

by: Get OFF my LAWN! This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 18 00:18:11 2022

Secretly over here laughing at all the soon to come melt-downs over this.
Sadistic of me I suppose.
The fact that people are all clinging to this ridiculous venue like scurrying rats on a sinking ship makes me chuckle.
Stories of ''It's my livelihood'' and ''Why can't they be like they USED to be?'' only make me snicker more.
It's EbAys site and they can trash it if they feel like it.  It will NEVER, ever ever ever be the same, and it is time to move forward. Life is FILLED with change.
How much MORE can you relentless sellers take??

There should have been a MASS EXODUS the day they implemented charging you a 10% fee for what YOU ship. What's THAT all about??  Push, push, push, push, push....  Just like NETFLIX did a few years back and millions of people bailed on them.  A few months afterwards, they were apologizing for their fee hike and such and reverting back to former policies. Humble as pie!  (Eventually they rose up and got cocky again . .. ..  and even more powerful though!)

YAAAAAAWWWNNNNN!  Another goofy implementation by EbAy?
Wake me when this is over!   myEBAYspace.com

Perminate Link for eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency   eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 18 09:18:52 2022

Jammie is more Erskine then Ford (or maybe hes more Tucker)

Just King Midas in Reverse

Perminate Link for eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency   eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sun Sep 18 15:28:55 2022

The eBay employee who came up with a fee on shipping should be given the The Nobel Prize in Economics. . . . .eBay made millions with a key stroke!

It was GENIUS from a business standpoint.

Perminate Link for eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency   eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 18 16:13:05 2022

yes Tool - it was THEFT-tastic (for eBay)

not so much for sellers

Perminate Link for eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency   eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency

by: airbrake This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 18 16:22:37 2022

Just launched into the new "Tool" Friday - Compete Garbage. Takes twice as long to list than it did before. The only "Real Tool" that needs fixing is the CEO at Ebay.

Perminate Link for eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency   eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 18 18:15:25 2022

What's really "cute" about the new listing tool is the waste of time when using "sell similar"...in addition to rummaging past details that don't apply.
Used to be I would simply type over whatever was in the existing verbal fields.
Now, there's at least a 5 second lag time between clicking on the 1st field and being able to type new information. WHY?

Perminate Link for eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency   eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency

by: Joe Mngs717 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 18 21:07:04 2022

I've been using desktop version for months now and it takes way longer to list items than the old way. I often edit photos and if the edited photos are still loading and you make mistake of typing anywhere else on the page either the photos disappear or else whatever you just typed will disappear. Adding to "ITEM SPECIFICS" or "ADDITIONAL" requires endless mouse clicks and the screen often freezes and flashed because instead of everything being on one simple FORM you have to open and close endless tabs to enter information. Things are HIDDEN like of you want to sell items as a LOT and want to enter "NUMBER OF ITEMS IN LOT" you have to click needless times. Funny that choice is NOT EVEN available on the mobile version.

The best way to describe the current listing tool is that instead of having all the info being easy to add and edit on one form you have to open and close endless tabs. Another good description would be going to a restaurant and the menu is 100 pages long instead of 3-4 and you have to click and tap on the table each time you want to turn the page!

How about one simple form? Once I type something I do not need to confirm it by clicking. If I typed GREEN as a color in description that should be enough but NO you have to click a plus sign.

The mobile version is something I often use but mostly just to answer questions from buyers. That is easy. If I want to change the price of a listing it requires more taps than necessary.


I would like to have the number of clicks and taps required to be reduced to not waste sellers time. Sellers should not have to click endless "+" signs every time something is typed in a box.

Perminate Link for eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency   eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency

by: BargainzBabylon This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 19 00:07:50 2022

I used the new listing tool when it was in beta and it was awful. Then I was opted into it a while back and it was much improved. Since then they've done some tinkering and it's finally, to me, functional. It takes no longer to use it than the old classic tool (which was still a more sano option)  

Having said that - I'm not sure why simple-dimple sites like Poshmark and Mercari can have a simple listing tool that works the same both mobile and desktop, and ebay has to make their so danged complicated.  When I sent in my feedback on the beta test I even said to check out Poshmark, as they'd had it figured out.

So, I have few problems with the tool right now (they've fixed some things in the last week) but they could have done a lot better - they need somebody with UX experience in there because I seriously don't think they do.  

Perminate Link for eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency   eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency

by: smallstuff This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 19 00:17:59 2022

Yep all of the above and more.  The new form has serious bugs - maybe because I am using templates.  When I start filling in the item specifics the form sometimes collapses and I have to list the item, then revise it.  One time it collapsed again during revisions and I had to revise a second time.  In general everything takes at least twice as long as before, maybe more.  And where the old form opened a new window to let you review your listing, with the new flow, you are required to use extra keystrokes to get back to the listing form.  

Perminate Link for eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency   eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency

by: Fried Chicken Addiction This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 19 01:11:31 2022

I am going on month 10 with no buying or selling on eBay after 20 years of doing it.
I read these comments and can see it's just getting worse and worse.
Join me people!
It's so nice being out of the bay, real nice.

Perminate Link for eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency   eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency

by: Alexdgr8 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 19 03:45:56 2022

There's the right way, the wrong way and the eBay way...they are doing it the eBay way..

Perminate Link for eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency   eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency

by: wedding belles This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 19 04:24:50 2022

eBay pushed me off the UK site when I refused to register for Managed Payments. I considered Managed Payments to be far inferior to PayPal and too much power by eBay. I sued eBay in October 2020, because of Managed payments. Every court hearing eBay tries to get the claim dismissed and every time eBay has lost.
eBay now competes with sellers by selling popular items itself. VERY UNFAIR of eBay to compete with the sellers eBay contracts with.
eBay will milk all sellers dry by extracting high fees for an increasingly poor service. An original and great concept benefitting all buyers, but now ruined by greedy executives at eBay

Perminate Link for eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency   eBay Sacrifices Usability for Sake of Mobile-Desktop Consistency

by: RMA49311 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 19 06:52:00 2022

Meanwhile I'm still wondering if they are charging me a FVF on sales tax...

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