Important eBay Requirements May Be Reducing Your Sales

bike-bicycle-garage2eBay has often been described as a “garage sale” experience although with at least 25 million sellers and 6 billion products on its Marketplace platform, it is a fairly large garage. Like a garage sale where one can “poke around” and find great deals, eBay has followed a somewhat similar format. The drawback to such a model is that for those that are not looking to “poke around” or spend a long time searching for a great deal, eBay at time provided a frustrating customer experience. Sellers on eBay need to manually enter all of the relevant information which creates discrepancies in data, making it difficult for buyers and sellers to find products using specific keywords.

Multiple sellers might list the same product, but describe it differently, making the eBay’s left hand filtering ineffective. As an example, a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses might be listed as “Ray-Ban sunglasses” by one seller, while another might have the specific model number listed, while a third would list the UPC code and a full manufacturer description. Finding a treasure at a garage sale can be a rewarding experience, but for those looking for a specific product, or trying to compare prices, the experience can prove frustrating.

22abbruchjager22-bei-ebay-e1465481443744eBay is moving to address this issue by requiring sellers to follow a uniform structured data format when listing their products. eBay’s goal is to transform it’s gigantic marketplace into a uniform digital catalog that buyers can easily browse through. Price comparison will be more reliable since all identical products can be compared using product identifiers that are now mandatory in certain categories. Sellers benefit by having their products clearly attached and displayed in relevant searches both within eBay and on search engine results, increasing visibility, traffic, and sales.

What are these new requirements, and what do they mean for eBay sellers?
First announced in March of 2015, and implemented in June of 2015, eBay began requiring sellers to include product identifiers (MPN, GTINs, UPCs, and ISBNs) for single items in selected categories.  On September 1st 2015, eBay expanded this to included products with variations as well. The categories that require product identifiers are:

  • Baby
  • Books, Comics & Magazines
  • Business, Office & Industrial
  • Cameras & Photography
  • Clothes, Shoes & Accessories
  • Computers/Tablets & Networking
  • DVDs, Films & TV
  • Health & Beauty
  • Home, Furniture & DIY
  • Mobile Phones & Communication
  • Music
  • Musical Instruments
  • Pet Supplies
  • Sound & Vision
  • Sporting Goods
  • Toys & Games
  • Vehicle Parts & Accessories
  • Video Games & Consoles

The requirement is currently only for branded products which are listed as new or manufacturer refurbished items. Sellers who list used, collectable, vintage or one-of-a-kind products will not need to include product identifiers. Around 80%  of all products listed on eBay are new, so this change will have a significant impact on the majority of products sold on eBay. As of February 29th 2016, eBay officially started to enforce this requirement.

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Sellers are able use the eBay app to scan a barcode and have the full product information completed, including brand, model, dimensions, etc. While this may be helpful for new listings to ensure that product identifiers are included (and help build the “catalog”) , there are many sellers with hundreds or thousands of existing product listings that all now require product identifiers. Has eBay considered the challenge this requirement will place on these sellers?

An initial look at how eBay enforces these new requirements indicates that eBay has considered the challenge this new requirement poses to some of their sellers. Given that some eBay sellers have hundreds if not thousands of products this is not a quick process, however sellers also have a vested interest in ensuring their products have these identifiers – aside for helping them display better on eBay, these product identifiers (which are universal) can also help achieve better search engine results. Additionally, product reviews can also be linked since the reviews can be connected to the product identifier.

There has been some initial negative feedback in terms of sellers complaining that some of the products that eBay requires product identifiers for are not readily available, or that the eBay app has issues scanning some of the codes, however we are still in the early stages of the roll-out, and these may just be some kinks in a new system. It remains to be seen if this change will allow eBay to compete more effectively with the likes of Amazon (or Alibaba), but at the very least, this should make for a more streamlined “catalog like” shopping experience.

GNB Ventures is featured on TheMarker!

GNB Ventures’ founding partners, Guy Naor and Ben Geva were recently featured in TheMarker, one of Israel’s leading business news outlets. GNB Ventures is focused on investments in the E-Commerce space, and is one of Sigmento’s early investors. Check out the story here!

 

Google Shopping’s GTIN Deadline is only 3 days away!

Google Shopping’s new rules require you to have GTIN codes (UPC/EAN) for every product in your catalog before May 15! We summarize everything you need to know before the deadline. 

 

Google is running the numbers, and depending on which products you sell, the odds might not be in your favor. Back in 2015, Google updated the Shopping Products Feed Specification (which lists attributes that are required in order to be visible in Google Shopping) and required merchants to list GTINs for all products that fell under any of 50 designated brands. Google has significantly broadened this requirement, and over the next few months, will require a GTIN for ANY new, in stock products that have a GTIN assigned by a manufacturer.

Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) are a unique identifier that allows Google to “know” the exact item being sold. This allows for easy identification in a global marketplace and provides valuable data about your products, enabling them to be used in more Google Shopping ad formats and displayed in places your potential clients might want to see them, such as YouTube and third party sites.

There are far more to GTINs than simply better ad listings and placements on YouTube and third party sites. According to Google data, merchants that add accurate GTIN data to their product listings experience 40% more clicks overall and a 20% increase in conversions, making this far more than just a cosmetic update for better ad placement.

This GTIN update will apply to retailers targeting consumers in the United States,United Kingdom, Australia, Brazil, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain or Switzerland. Product manufacturers should provide retailers with a GTIN, but if they don’t or you do not manage your own inventory, make sure to request GTINs from your distributor. Back on February 8, 2016, products that were missing GTIN data started to receive warnings in the form of  messages in merchants Google Shopping accounts titled “Missing GTIN” or “Invalid GTIN” for specific products that did not meet the new requirements. Starting on May 15, 2016, retailers will start seeing disapprovals in their accounts for all products that have not been updated as requested. “Disapproval” will likely take the form of the products not showing in Google Shopping at all until updated.

This update also seems to correspond to Google’s recently confirmed decision to stop displaying AdWords ads on the right side of search engine results. This change substantially reduces the ad space available to advertisers, going from up to 10 text advertisements across the whole page to only three above the Google search results.  This may be an attempt to drive more advertising to Google Shopping. On Google Shopping, which uses image supported ads called Product Listing Ads (PLAs), this AdWords change will have no effect on displayed results. PLAs will remain on the right column and will likely become more prominent (and valuable). Google Shopping has seen strong growth, with a report by Marin (an advertising technology company), showing that more than 30% of ads in the retail sector were placed on Google Shopping and more than 45% of Google Shopping clicks came from mobile devices.

With a strong track record and a change that might “force” retailers to increase focus on Google Shopping as an ad platform, Google Shopping might be poised for even stronger growth.

What can you do to ensure that your Google Shopping campaigns are getting you the results you want to see? Follow these suggestions to help maximize your PLA campaigns:

 

  • Include GTINs for every product in your catalog- As mentioned above, you must include GTINs for your products’ PLAs to show up after May 15, 2016. You can use Sigmento’s GTIN Finder to get these product identifiers for your entire product portfolio on-demand.
  • Use negative keywords to prevent clicks that won’t– Google Shopping campaigns do not use keywords, but adding negative keywords will ensure that you do not get clicks from consumers who are looking for a different product that you do not sell. Adding these negative keywords will save you from racking up charges for clicks that will not be converted.
  • Keep your feed updated with relevant data – Google receives all of your ad information from the data feed. Depending on your industry or product, this data might need to be updated on often and must constantly  be monitored.  If this data, which includes pricing changes, product availability, product description, product category, etc. is out of date, your ad will not get you the results you expect.
  • Include Product Reviews – 64% of E-commerce users report that product reviews are among the top two factors in their decision to make a purchase. In your Google Shopping campaign, you should set up the integration of graphic product reviews into your campaign. If you are not familiar with how to get this done, please visit the Google Merchant Center here (http://bit.ly/Product_Reviews) to determine your eligibility and learn how to participate.

 

The GTIN update will surely have a large effect on the amount of traffic your products are seeing, just make sure to update your product portfolio with the GTIN codes, or use Sigmento’s GTIN Finder service to make sure you remain in compliance with the new requirements and your products continue showing up on Google Shopping’s PLAs.

Welcome to Sigmento’s blog!

Welcome to Sigmento’s blog !

We’re a team of E-Commerce and technology professionals who want to make E-Commerce effortless for online retailers. This blog is a place for us to share our knowledge and experience with you, to help achieve the goal of Effortless Commerce together.

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-The Sigmento Team

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