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If you really really have to have an eBay template, here’s how to manage it

By Chris Dawson May 16, 2017 - 2:31 pm

I used to be a great fan of professionally designed eBay templates. For many years I had a Frooition designed eBay shop and listing template. In truth I was always more of a fan of listing template design then I was of shop design – that’s because the first place a buyer is likely to encounter your business on eBay is on a listing. You can’t even see an eBay shop on the eBay mobile app so it’s much less important.

Why eBay listing templates aren’t always a good thing

These days I’m not so sure. eBay are forever changing their listing policies and each time they do sellers are forced to update their listings – it may be better to keep the description as a text description and, especially on mobile, text only descriptions are fine.

The latest eBay Seller Release will have you editing your listing to update your returns policy, remove active content and remove any contact information you have on your listings or elsewhere on your eBay shop.

Even worse than editing the text in your descriptions, some sellers have templates with their phone number or email address embedded as an image in their shop and listing templates. That means you’ll have to go back to your designer and ask for a new image without the contact information to be created.

Tabs in listing designs

eBay’s latest edict goes a little further than just changing a few lines of text on your listings. Many eBay professional designs have tabs for “Returns”, “Payment information”, “Contact us” and the like. For starters you’ll have to completely remove the contact tag and you’ll probably also want to edit the information in the returns tab.

These tabs hark back to the days when eBay didn’t have boxes in the listing flow for the information buyers needed. At one point even specifying the payment methods you needed had to go in your description, but today eBay have payment, shipping, returns, and business seller information sections to complete. There’s little point at all in repeating this information in your description and with the latest Seller Release changes, those that have will have the most editing to do.

Why you want a listing template

Many sellers will think I’m barking mad suggesting that everyone changes to text only listing descriptions. You want to build your brand, you want your logo prominently displayed and tell buyers about your company and service to convince them that they should buy from you and close the deal rather than browse some competitor products. You also want to have some strong cross promotions to your other items, your shop categories and your star buys.

If you are going to have a listing template, make sure that it’s responsive and make sure that next time eBay announces some listing policy changes it’s easy to implement the updates and amend your listings.

How to handle listing templates if you just have to have one

So you’ve invested in an eBay listing template? Now you should strongly consider a listing and management tool that keeps your template separate from your description.

Effectively you create your descriptions and they are held in one field in your software solution and your template is stored in a master field ready to be applied to your listings. Ideally, your software would also hold your description as individual bullets so that it can be used on Amazon as well as any other marketplace you may wish to list on in the future. Then, when you come to list, your software solution pops your description into your template and uploads it to eBay.

If you need to edit your descriptions later down the line, you can do so fairly easily as there is no complicated HTML to dig through in your listing tool. If it’s a template that needs to be edited, you can edit your template in one place and apply the changes to all of your live listings in a single update – the software then does the difficult work of putting the changes live on hundreds, thousands or even 10s of thousands of listings.

Most multichannel software will keep your eBay template and listing descriptions separate for you. If for no other reason that one day (if you haven’t already) you’ll want to open your own website, clean descriptions that are just a product description will be invaluable.

The #1 mistake to avoid with your listing template

Too many eBay listings still mention rubbish about eBay feedback, the fact the seller only accepts PayPal, or that the seller cancels orders from buyers with zero feedback. This is so 1990’s and in today’s world simply makes sellers look like amateurs. A description should be a description. No additional terms, conditions, requests to check out your stellar feedback and definitely no payment, returns, contact or shipping information.

Your ‘description’ should either be stored separately from your listing template and related sales information or, failing that, consider not having a template at all.

  • 2 months ago

    Nice tips about eBay templates. Thank you so much for your post.

  • Dave P
    2 months ago

    We don’t have to remove the contact us tag if it simply recommends that buyers contact us through Ebay do we?

    • 2 months ago

      You don’t have to if that’s all it contains, but you have to ask what is the point of having it there? How will you describe where the “Ask seller a question” link is (to cover desktop, mobile and mobile app users)? Will be be more confusing than not having it there? Will it actually be useful?

      A product description should be a product description. What’s the effect on search (both eBay and off eBay search engines) if you have a load of information totally irrelevant to the product in the description? What happens when you want to copy your description to an alternative marketplace that has an eBay import tool but isn’t supported by your multichannel management provider (who hopefully at least keeps your template separate from your description?).

      Seriously – think of a description on eBay as containing just stuff about the product and NOTHING else. It’ll do you a favour in the long run.

  • Fred
    2 months ago

    One very good reason for having payment information is all those customers who choose to pay by credit card thinking they can pay online. Even though they haven’t entered any credit card information some of them think they have actually paid. I have a payment section to explain that you can pay with a credit card without having a PayPal account by selecting to checkout out as a PayPal guest, but only if you select PayPal as the payment option. It also gives our phone number if they don’t want to do this. How are they supposed to contact us to pay without the phone number?

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