What are Product Identifiers and why do eBay want them?

Bar CodeWhen eBay ask sellers to change their behaviour on the site there’s normally a pretty good reason behind it, although from a seller’s perspective it’s often a real pain to implement. That being the case, why are eBay asking for product identifiers on new and manufacture refurbished items.

eBay have long wanted to move to a more catalogue based selling environment. This helps on many levels from being able to accurately return products in search results for buyers to adding product reviews and getting your items found on search engines.

Google, being the default search engine across much of the UK is the one we’ll take a look at, although other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo require very similar data. Google provide a comprehensive list of requirements in the Google Products Feed Specification and this gives us an insight into why eBay ask for so many attributes (Item Specifics) when listing products.

Product Identifiers

It’s often thought that the product identifier is the bar code. In reality the bar code is just a machine readable format of the identifier. There are three key product identifiers which Google requires and so eBay will ask for:

  • Brand
  • Manufacturer Part Number (MPN)
  • Global Trade Item Number (GTIN). GTINs can include:
    • Universal Product Code (UPC)
    • European Article Number (EAN)
    • Japanese Article Number (JAN)
    • International Standard Book Number (ISBN)

Before anyone asks… No, you can’t use an Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) as an MPN or GTIN, ASINs are unique internal codes assigned by Amazon and unique to their marketplace, although normally they’re linked to a GTIN.

Benefits of Product Identifiers

According to eBay using product identifiers will give you:

Better exposure

Generally speaking, sellers who add product identifiers to their listings will have better placement in Best Match, merchandising opportunities on eBay, and higher ranking in search results from search engines.

Faster listing time

When you use a product identifier for an item in the eBay catalogue, you’ll get high-quality data automatically prefilled onto your listing.

Product reviews

If your item is listed in the eBay catalogue and has product reviews associated with it, the reviews will appear on your listing.

Solid pricing advice

You’ll be eligible for more accurate pricing guidance to help make your listings more competitive.

Trending price alert on view item

Listings with product identifiers will include a trending price alert when they are priced below the trending price.

What help do you need

We’d like to know what help or advice you need to fulfil eBay’s product identifier requirements. Are your products already supplied with MPNs and GTINs and all you need do is edit listings or add them when listing new products to the site? Or do you have products which don’t already have MPNs and GTINs?

Are you already familiar with how to obtain GTINs if you manufacture or import your own products, or are you wondering how to get started? Let us know in comments below.