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Is eBay custom shop design to be retired?

By Chris Dawson September 21, 2016 - 7:35 am

Dan and I have long been of the opinion that eBay will be forced to move towards a text only based item description in the future. This will make mobile views easy and they have already provided specific fields for postage, returns, business information, images, VAT and just about every piece of information you wish to convey to a buyer which isn’t part of the item description.

Of course there’s a problem here, eBay gradually made incremental advances over the years, adding a field here and a field there and in the mean time many sellers invested in custom listing designs. In fact a whole industry was built up around custom templates and not only would text only descriptions put them out of business but the sellers who had invested in them would be pretty upset as well.

Custom eBay shop design to be retired?

eBay Shops FeatWhat about eBay shops though? Is it conceivable that eBay would ever remove the ability to customise your eBay shop with a bespoke template? One designer spotted a comment so now thinks that they may and it’s sending shock waves through the eBay design industry.

On an eBay Best Practices page, eBay.com “strongly suggest you do not make any more financial investments in creating or augmenting a custom stores experience since this capability will retired at a later date“.

Whilst that statement comes from eBay.com, what comes out of the US tends to spread around the world and is likely to make it to the UK.

The topic of the page in question is active content which we all know is disappearing in 2017. It’s possible that the statement about custom stores experiences being retired refers simply to the active content part, but if so it’s badly worded. To me and to many of the eBay design services it reads that the end of eBay store design is not too far away in the future.

Will you be investing in a new eBay shop or eBay listing design? Is there a future for the design industry that’s been built up around eBay? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

  • Dave P
    9 months ago

    I think it is inevitable. I can only imagine it gives Ebay a lot of headaches and problems without massive gains. As soon as you have someone browsing on mobile and a shop or description that doesn’t render then that is a pretty bad shopping experience. It looks amateurish. As do all the shops and templates designed using some basic program i.e. lots of bright coloured text and a basic border around the outside.
    My guess would be that they will significantly narrow the scope of what you can do to customise both the shop and listing templates. They won’t be as stripped back as Amazon but it will be far more basic.

  • james
    9 months ago

    they keep shouting about how they dont want to be amazon, then doing everything they can to be amazon.

    ebay listing can be infinitely better than amazon listings, amazon’s utilitarian. its bland and basic.

    i know the whole worlds running towards the lowest common denominator, the whole internet will be an empty white space, like google’s homepage.
    no clutter, but no content. no colour or joy. just like shopping in the real world…..
    do we all love going into a utilitarian bland plain warehouse to stock up on utilities? or do we prefer going to a unique, vibrant, welcoming environment, to explore colourful new worlds of difference, reflecting our own unique personalities and individuality?

    the key isnt in being as boring as possible, the key is in doing what you do, better than others can do it. you cannot beat amazon at being amazon, you can beat amazon by being a better ebay.
    – ebay really suck at being ebay, they just fail to achieve basically everything they set out to do. all their ambitions are short-sighted and lazy. Amazon’s are freaking huge and game-changing.

    did you see the latest ebay video ads? it’s just asking for trouble.
    ” this video was randomly selected from youtube, by an algorithm you’ve never heard of. it may have nothing to do with this product, but we’re only mentioning that in the small print you dont read, so you can blame the seller when it turns out to cause issues later”.
    typical ebay, scrape the bare minimum required, have someone else do it on the cheap, no guarantee its ever correct, shirk responsibility for all of it immediately, and burden the seller with all costs when anything goes wrong.

    THIS is why you are losing ebay, not becuase you’re not boring enough.

    • Ian T
      9 months ago

      Agree with everything you say. Also feel sorry for the people who did spend a bit of money having their store homepage designed if this turns out to be true. Luckily mine was inexpensive. This could have knock on effects for store and web designers out there.

  • Neil
    9 months ago

    This is as ever down to ebay’s bad programming.

    My phone has a full HD screen.

    It has ABSOLUTELY NO ISSUE displaying a full resolution website or template.

    It’s ebays frankly crappy app that has the issue.

    Why apps came along years after they were no longer needed I’ll never know. When we had low res small phone screens, fair enough but the screen on your phone likely has a higher resolution than your computer – just let the thing show and funny enough it shows just fine.

    This is more about control and bad programming than anything.

    After all, the best salesman is a video and eBay’s changes mean you can no longer embed a youtube video in your listing from next year.

    They’re just going backwards.

  • Tom
    9 months ago

    I work for an ebay design company, one seller was earning around £80,000 per quarter ( checked via terapeak) he was 7th in his market sector.

    After adding the new design we made for them, their sales increased to around £380,000 per quarter and they went upto second in their sector. ( ebay now has to give that seller a higher discount )

    The main feature of the shop was a easy to use search filter which allowed users to quickly find the correct items.

    By implementing this active content ban ebay has effectively stop users from finding the items they are looking for quickly.

    This will affect the amount of sales the sellers makes and in turn have a knock effect on the discount the seller receives. ( ebay makes more money)

    Ebay stated on that page

    “Embedding feedback in the listing is not necessary, as feedback on the seller is already easily accessible from the Seller information box of the eBay listing. Buyers only need to click on the seller’s Feedback Score in that box, and the following Feedback Profile page will load: ”

    While stating all of the changes were to improve the mobile experience for users. However the screen shot they show for the above feedback is a desktop view. When a user is viewing an item description on a mobile, they have to click back and then scroll down to see the sellers feedback.

    None of these things are what making ebay lose market share.

    What is a bigger issue is that the average delivery time for items on ebay is now around 2 – 5 days, well done ebay for taking a slice of sellers shipping fees.

    Ebay is taking all the bad bits and ignoring all the good bits of Amazon. Super fast delivery, pick up lockers etc.

    • Fred Frogley
      9 months ago

      As far as I can see eBay have no interest in ennabling buyers to find things quickly. Searches are cluttered with duplicate listings (most of them from Chinese sellers with multiple IDs) and people selling one of last weeks toenail clippings for 99p so that the more expensive items they are really selling are at the top of the search results even if their prices are high. eBay does nothing about it so presumably they like it that way.

  • Steve
    9 months ago

    The average delivery time for items on eBay is now around 2 – 5 days

    I wonder if its because eBay punish the sellers when delivery takes longer then eBay’s estimates and sellers are now listing with slower services but using faster ones to buy some extra time to avoid the delivery metric defects.

    Looks like another home goal for eBay’s useless management and their ideas

  • So many different rumors swirling about this topic. It’s one of those things where no one truly knows whats going to happen until eBay drops it into our laps, and even then who knows if it will really happen. I for one am curious if the active content ban will really happen in June like they say on product pages, or if we will see this get pushed out.

    Guess we will wait and see like with everything else. Until then its business as usual.

    And the funniest thing about all of this is that the big deal eBay makes about custom stores not being ideal for mobile shopping, but has anyone run a regular ebay store through googles search. It comes up with red x’s fail fail fail!

    But if you run a responsive design through it passes so what about that eBay?

    https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fstores.ebay.com%2FwwwPCExchangenet