How do I optimize my eBay listings?

By Chris Dawson August 15, 2016 - 8:01 am

It never hurts to revise your eBay listings and optimise them for search, but where to start?

Generally the place where you can make the biggest impact is the best strategy. There’s no point getting every item specific correct for your slowest selling line if you don’t even have decent images for your best selling product.

In this video from Volo, Allyson Munarriz takes you through the basics and tells you how to get started to optimise your eBay listings as well as explaining which bits matter the most:

  • Steve
    5 years ago

    If eBay are not showing your items in the search results once the seller reaches eBay’s allowed sales quota regardless how much effort the seller puts in to their listing the sales will be the same as last month and the month before.

    The system is rigged so you sell what eBay allow you to sell regardless what you do to your listings

    I have a regular larger seller using me as a drop shipper and getting 3 times the prices I sell for so why are these buyers not finding my listings and buying from me instead ?

    • Sam O'levski
      5 years ago

      How very true that is – my allocated sales limit doesn’t seem to have changed now I’ve got a thousand listings up, from what it was about a year ago when I had two hundred listings.
      A few months ago I had a spell at the start of a month when I had a lot of multiple buys and it pushed me up very close to ‘my limit’, so for the rest of the month I sold something like a tenth of what I would expect, obviously to limit my total.
      There was some sort of discussion on the ebay forums last year, when a poster stated they had been working at a large national chain with an ebay account, and wondered why the company were bothering when their own site generated masses of sales (rumour had it that it was an argos type company I believe). Their boss allegedly replied that ebay had guaranteed them a minimum turnover per month, with heavy penalties if ebay failed to provide the sales, hence the reduction in every smaller competitor’s figures whenever things slowed down for the big guys.

    • Chris
      5 years ago

      Same with us.
      Always averages out to the same amounts each month.

    • james
      5 years ago

      try line-graphing it, anyone who can look at the line graph of ebay sales and say “that’s a natural sales pattern” is completely mental.

  • Dave
    5 years ago

    You need to be smart about selling. If you have large priced items that are only making you a low margin, but you have smaller items making you a similar margin, then simply drop the large margin item and move it to a new eBay account. eBay are limiting sales, and my turnover has been static for 12 months now. I noticed when my larger priced item is not selling, my smaller items booms and vice versa so you need to think of new strategies to counter the eBay limits. This is why more and more sellers are putting accounts into there wifes name and starting a new seperate business. Hard if you have a single niche product line, but easy if you don’t

  • John
    5 years ago

    I haven’t sold on eBay for some time (there were no limits when I was last on the site) and I was considering coming back but after reading these comments I’m wondering if there is any point if turnover / growth / success is basically controlled by eBay and small sellers (the people who put eBay where they are) are paying the price for the growth of the big brands.

  • James T
    5 years ago

    eBay is playing a dangerous game, there is no doubt sales are controlled to the sale, they are basically running a subscription scam. I’m amazed they are not in the least bit concerned just how bad their press is, it certainly seems the vast majority of sellers now despise this crooked company, one day soon they’ll see an exodus as people vote with their feet and give them the finger.

  • Steve
    5 years ago

    One thing for sure is people who did not believe eBay were doing this a year or so ago are now noticing the same trends in sales once you hit the ceiling regardless what you do your sales will be static.

    How can a business invest in a future on eBay when eBay control the top line and wont even admit what they are doing its the biggest scam on eBay and makes all the fraudulent INR claims seem a drop in the ocean no wonder eBay don’t care abut sellers been ripped of they are as bad as the scam buyers they love so much.

    Anyone who has more than a few thousand listings a month just look at your invoices all within a few quid every month what a coincidence.

    Maybe Tamebay could ask eBay to explain why more sellers are seeing these unnatural sales patterns and come clean once an for all and let us all know the truth and then we can decide if we still want to play and invest our futures in this rigged game.

  • BPM
    5 years ago

    Sales are totally controlled for any seller who has been on the site for more than a couple of years; my sales are £1500 per 30 days. I sell mostly on a Monday and Tuesday now, then …tumbleweed for the rest of the week.

    My store had a staged decline in sales from 6-10k per month in 2014 to 6k for 3 months, 5k for the next 3 months, 4k for 3 months, then 3 then down it’s current level which is where it seems to stay now. I tried all the usual advice – free shipping, revised listings, ending old listings and renewing them with new photos etc, I even doubled my stock size. Nothing worked. My store is now circling the plug-hole.

  • Mark R
    5 years ago

    And yet with all these complaints Tamebay still don’t run a story…. Why Tamebay? Why are you so quiet to vocalise the disquiet increasingly shown to eBay as a result of its underhand practices????

    • 5 years ago

      Perhaps we prefer to gather the facts before rushing to print and add to the idle speculation? Perhaps it takes time?

      Or would you prefer us just to collate all of the comments and join in the conspiracy theories? It’s not a popularity contest you know.

    • Steve
      5 years ago

      Why not ask them and follow up the post on the American community boards that eBay deleted where one of their employees admitted the hidden limits.

      No smoke without fire

      Here is a screen shot of the post eBay deleted on their own boards admitting the hidden limits

      Conspiracy or fact someone is lying is it the eBay employee Jaknox who posted the above or eBay management who deleted it ?

    • 5 years ago

      As I said 20 minutes ago… perhaps it takes time. I don’t generally like being dictated to on what I write and I don’t generally write something until I have something more useful to say than “A lot of people are whinging about something but we don’t know if it’s true or not“.

      Feel free to keep haranguing me to write something and pile on the pressure but I will carry on ignoring demands until I have some genuinely useful content to share.

    • Steve
      5 years ago

      No problem no offence intended

    • 5 years ago

      No worries, trust me I’m asking questions here and there but getting answers does take time.

  • Steve
    5 years ago

    Its frustrating to invest time and money into expanding on eBay only to find doubling the inventory and taking on more staff does not make any difference to the eBay sales month on month.

    So now I have quartered what I list moved staff on to the other outlet sales Amazon and eBay monthly sales are the same as ever the maths just don’t add up double the lines to 20k same sales as 10k so half them to 5k and its still the same every month.

    Next month it will be 2.5k and I will see what happens the rest can be Amazon only where extra products increase revenues

  • Ray
    5 years ago

    Not sure questions will result in honest answers from these guys, but there seems so many people noticing extremely dubious patterns that do not effect other sites, something that’s only increased in the last two years. It seems highly unlikely so many sellers in diverse categories are reporting this anomaly that all too often is called a ‘conspiracy’ theory… Somethings happening that’s feeding this increasingly widely held opinion.

    How about an article regarding what people are saying, and let the comments decide if their is an issue. I have a strong feeling it may be one long comment thread. Just a thought.

  • Chris
    5 years ago

    Could I ask does David @ stuffusell experience these patterns?
    My thoughts being, as they are running this pilot scheme surely they would want David to sell as much as possible (thus, no limits) to encourage more selling.

    I like many others have this thoughts, every month it always averages out to roughly the same amounts sold, despite free postage, more listings, better photos etc.

    It cannot just be a coincidence that us and many others are experiencing this.

  • Gemma
    5 years ago

    We’ve been testing this in a different way for for a while now – we’ve listed no new stock for a couple of months. Guess what? Our sales are exactly the same – and listings that haven’t sold for months – or even years are now selling…

    Thinking we may not be investing so heavily in Christmas stock this year!

    • Chris
      5 years ago

      I always thought with Cassini you had to list at least a couple of listings per day to keep you around the top of the best match?

    • Gemma Archer
      5 years ago

      Hi Chris

      The only listings we’ve added are a couple of undeliverable returns. Our stock levels change as we are multi channel, but I was as surprised as you to see no impact on sales. I always thought that greater choice = more sales but this is definitely not the case.

  • 5 years ago

    I am at my wits end with eBay. for the last 2-3 years I have invested so much time and money into making sure we are one of the best at what we do on eBay. But eBay have capped our sales and no matter what we do, no matter how many listings we have or deals we do we cannot break through the ceiling we have. I have invested tens of thousands of pounds in new stock, increased stock holding, better IT, more staff but eBay are preventing us from growing as we should be.

    I keep track of what our nearest 8-10 competitors are doing on eBay by using Terapeak and we are all doing the same, we all have the same weekly/monthly sales within a few thousand pounds, that cannot possibly be a coincidence, I KNOW that we are capped by eBay and I am not going to spend any more of my time or money trying to grow on eBay.

    They,(eBay) have made me ill in the past with the worry and stress, they treat us sellers terrible, we spends £20K+ per month on eBay fees and they treat us like dirt. None of our other suppliers are so arrogant, they know they need to look after their customers.

    I was at a local meeting a year ago and I said that I see eBay going down the pan in the coming year and I was right.

    Unfortunately we are beholden to them as no other platform gets the amount of traffic and sales but then no other platform causes us so much grief.

    So the question we need answering is is it legal for eBay to cap or manipulate sellers sales?

    We noticed a hug increase in sales when we upgraded from a Featured Shop to an Anchor Shop, I was reluctant to pay the extra but somebody who used to work for eBay just kept telling me to do it, they said don’t ask why or how, just do it, so I did and almost overnight our sales grew massively.

    So what is the next step for us? I would happily pay an extra £200 per month to get the same increase in sales but there is no higher subscription level….or is there?

    • Chris
      5 years ago

      Any further info or can you provide figures on the ‘sales grew massively overnight’?

    • 5 years ago

      Yes I could provide figures but not happy to do so on a public forum.

      I went from a very small business, myself and 2 others to employing 9 people within 6 months but our growth on eBay quickly reached a level that no matter what I do I cannot get past. I have done everything that I can think of but we cannot grow anymore on eBay, they are holding us back.

      I now have the problem that I geared up expecting the growth to continue but it has not, I am overstaffed but I am too nice to lay people off!

      So my thoughts are to do what eBay have done to us to them and say stuff them and we are now concentrating all our efforts elsewhere in an effort to become less reliant on eBay and the hassle and stress that it brings.

    • Chris
      5 years ago

      Hi James
      What % increase did you see?
      I’m only asking on the basis that you said ‘sales grew massively overnight’, as we currently have a featured shop.

      If the cost of the anchor would result in a lot more sales after paying the difference in the subscriptions then it obviously would be worthwhile.


    • 5 years ago

      Not sure if I explained myself properly. We were on a Featured Shop subscription and things were going well, just the 3 of us but doing OK. We had a meeting with somebody we both know, and they did not advise but categorically told me to change our subscription to Anchor Shop, I questioned this but they just told me to do it, ask no questions the extra cost would be worth it.

      Within a very short time, maybe 3-4 months our ebay sales grew 50-60% and we were flying. But this growth involves higher costs, more staff, more IT, more stock, larger premises etc so although we are so much busier, me as the owner are no better off, in fact worse off if you take into account the extra worry and stress that eBay brings with it.

      I had hoped the growth would continue to cover these extra costs and investment but it has not, we have hit a brick wall and cannot get through it.

  • Mike h
    5 years ago

    …. Time for an article I’d say.

  • Wendy
    5 years ago

    I have to say I agree with everything that’s being said on here. My listings have gone from 50-70, basically because I couldn’t keep up, to almost 500 and my sales are at best a third of what they used to be. I’ve gone round and round in circles trying to figure out what is going on and how to solve it, nothing works, the peaks and troughs are horrendous, very stressful and not a normal business selling pattern.

    It’s taken me months and months to decide, yes there is something going on with eBay and I’m not just losing my mind, that’s because despite all the similar information I was getting I’m very wary of people just making noise, but I KNOW now there is.

    I get one ‘good’ night each week, always on the same night though it changes every few months, that’s not normal. I used terapeak as a trial, another way to help sales, and looked at sellers selling similar items, the graph unbelievably showed a spike in sellers sales on one night a week, each seller having a different night.

    I run a group specifically for sellers having problems with eBay and we’re all reporting the SAME THINGS! If I could bin eBay I would but unfortunately nothing else at the moment is as viable, that will change if they don’t change their strange game.

Featured in this article from the Tamebay Guide – companies that can help you grow and manage your business.


eBay’s mission is to be the world’s favourite destination for discovering great value and unique selection

See More Companies >

Recent Comments

20 hours ago
Alan Paterson: @ r, not ridiculous if you are trying to make a point. I am just...
1 day ago
Jonty: @Alan. Yes agree a very long post from r. But a truthful example of the ridiculous...
1 day ago
r: we agree ,a ridiculously long post A simple copy and paste of ebays item specific list And...
1 day ago
Alan Paterson: @r long post you make illustrating item specifics. i know what they are and why...