How to optimise your eBay listings for mobile buyers

eBay Mobile featWe’ve known for some time that mobile commerce is vital for eBay with a reported 52% of sales volume being touched by mobile.

It’s clearly no coincidence that eBay is currently testing hidden descriptions on desktops. It fits into a strategy that is increasingly putting mobile first.

So, as a seller, what should you be doing to make sure your descriptions are best optimised for mobile shoppers? Here are some ideas:

Pictures perfect
Shopping on eBay using a mobile is a visual experience and that makes the images you include in your listings even more important than ever. Use the eBay system to upload images rather than embed them in your description, in the first instance.

Where possible, use multiple images (You can add up to 12 for free). With your best lines it’s well worth investing in tip-top images if you’re going to use them a lot. Keep the attention of the snaps on the product and crop tightly.

Clear, zoomable images are the aim. And don’t forget eBay’s picture standards on size and no borders or other crud. (And whilst it’s frustrating that eBay is only half-heartedly implementing these rules, that doesn’t mean following them isn’t best practice.)

No HTML in the description
We think the age of fancy backgrounds, slideshows and the like is over. Check out how it all looks on a mobile and you’ll see why: it’s a mess on a small screen. We also wouldn’t be surprised if there was a Best Match penalty for such descriptions. Go back to basics and just use black text on a plain background. (And if you must add a fancy HTML design, use one that’s responsive. They are available.)

Only relevant text in the description
There’s a lot of advice bandied about regarding the optimal length for your eBay written Item Description (80 words? 200 words?). But we’ve never been persuaded and if anyone has definitive evidence that word count really matters, please do share it. By all means repeat the title in the description but otherwise stick to factual, punchy bullet points describing the goods. There is no need to ramble on.

Everything in its place
Don’t clog up your description with stuff that has a home elsewhere. Things like returns and postage can be expressed elsewhere in dedicated fields. It may make you feel better to reiterate things in your blurb but remember than noone ever read your screeds anyway.

Use the catalogues and product identifiers
eBay is increasingly moving to an Amazon-style model of using product identifiers and other catalogue details to help buyers find goods. The system isn’t perfect but use them where you can to aid findability.

And check out your listings on mobile devices
Take some time to get to know the eBay buying app so you have some notion of how people are using it to buy and view your listings. You might never buy on your mobile but it is now increasingly the norm so dismissing it as a passing fad is an eccentric notion these days.

So, not only try and have at look at key listings on other people’s phones when you get a chance but also use tools like that simulates the behaviour of mobile phones so you can see what users see on your own machine.

What other advice do you have for sellers trying to maximise mobile sales?