How this weeks eBay search changes affect you

You may not have noticed but eBay have changed the way that your multi-variation listings are displayed in eBay search results this week. Sellers are naturally noticing fluctuating sales as always happens when a search change is rolled out on the site and as always it will benefit some and disadvantage others. Overall through we’d expect an eBay change of this magnitude to have an overall positive impact on sales.

Changes to multi-variation listings in search results

The most significant change is a move away from the shared/collage picture in search results. The main picture displayed in search results will now be the one most closely matching the colour or search term used by the buyer. If there is no colour entered as a search term the image shown should be the picture for the variation with the highest best match score.

If you click the “More options” link then you will see the shared/collage picture in the pop up overlay, but clicking “See full details” will still take you to the original variation displayed in the search results with colour and size information pre-populated.

This is a significant change as it’s no longer quite as obvious in search results that there are other options available.

The new multi-variation listing

There is another significant change and that is when the buyer clicks through from search results and lands on your listing. Again instead of being presented with the shared/collage picture eBay will now take the buyer direct to the variation shown in search results. This on the face of it is a good thing as the buyer is being presented with the product of interest. However it also results in the variation drop down options being pre-populated with the same choice.

Buyers need to be aware that they can still change these options and whilst colour is very obvious as it matches the image, size is a little more ambiguous. Many sellers still state available sizes in the title so the buyer could be forgiven for thinking theat they’re ready to click the buy it now button. As highlighted in the image above the most popular size is pre-populated and this enables the buyer to instantly click the buy it now button without manually making a selection.

Previously when clicking the buy it now button the buyer would be directed to select an option as shown to the side. Now because the variations are pre-populated as highlighted above it’s very easy for the buyer to go ahead and purchase an incorrect size.

Even if the buyer than adds a “note to seller” or sends a subsequent email it’s likely that the seller will ship the size ordered before they and the buyer jointly figure out it’s not the size actually required.

Impact for sellers

Wayne of My Planet Wholesale told Tamebay that he’s seen an instant negative impact on all of their multi-variation listings. One of the problems that he sees is on listings where the variation isn’t just colour, but also pattern. For instance if you’re looking at unisex clothing it’s unlikely that Pink will be the most desirable colour to appeal to men.

You also need to revisit your multi-variation listings to check your items specifics and ensure that you name your variations correctly. For instance “Main Colour”, “Exact Color” or “Colours” would all be picked up by eBay, but “Shirt Colour” or “Color Option 1″ wouldn’t. You should also ensure that the values match those from eBay’s suggested options such as “Blues” and not “Dark Blue” for the main colour variation.

Have you seen a change in sales since the changes went live this week? Have you seen an unexpected fluctuation in sales from your multi-variation listings? With your buying hat on do you like the way that eBay will show you a red dress if you searched for a red dress, or were the old collage/shared images more to your liking?