To template, or not to template?

Jane BellJane Bell is the eBay Anorak, business consultant for marketplace sellers and contributor to Tamebay. Yesterday she looked at eBay’s new template designer. Today she looks at eBay templates in general.

First off, I prefer text descriptions for eBay listings for a few reasons, the keywords used in a description are more important than the ‘shop pretty’ as Sue Bailey used to call it and this is the part which sellers tend to neglect.

Also, a description template, if not up to date with eBay’s new standards, can contain active content and also dilute your well keyworded description with non product specific information that just doesn’t belong here eg postage, delivery, ‘we are fab’ type text.

An outdated template can make it difficult to read on a mobile device. I’ve seen templates costing thousands and on a mobile that just display a white screen leaving the seller wondering why people didn’t read the info in the listing!

So why have a description template anyway? Many companies like to display their brand across the web and have their listing templates differentiate them from others. But if the template is not responsive or contains active content then eBay will block the use of templates containing this from June 2017. This leaves you six whole months to fix it.

What are the options?

  1. Change them all to text only of around 800 characters including spaces, using only product specific data, costs nothing.
  2. Have a new template designed from a reputable company (see the Tamebay Guide) and check that the template they design is up to date with eBay’s new changes regarding active content in June. If you have this as part of your agreement and it is blocked by eBay then it’s easier to get them to fix it should it not be compliant. If they ask what these requirements are, run.
  3. Upgrade your existing template with your current designer. Some templates I’ve seen that are new this year still contain active content. eBay announced this change in April this year so make sure your designer is in the know about these changes before you go ahead.
  4. Use eBay’s free template designer provided by i-ways. I’ve tried this, it’s basic but some may find it useful. More on that here.

Whatever you choose to do, make a start as soon as possible and prevent eBay blocking any of your listings in June 2017.

What are you currently using and what are your plans for the change?