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Are eBay and Sellers really ready for Catalogue Listings?

By Chris Dawson June 21, 2018 - 9:00 am

In a previous article, we looked at how eBay are planning to spread their compulsory catalogue rapidly out across a large range of new and used products on the site. One of the issues with catalogue pages, as sellers on Amazon well know, is about who gets to decide what goes on them and what bits are included or not included. So how good is the eBay catalogue?

Significantly Not As Described

Sellers are already discovering issues which is making eBay look like the crappiest bits of Amazon – times when the catalogue is missing information (lots of ‘Does not apply’ where sellers previously didn’t enter Manufacturers Part Numbers) and instances where the catalogue information is plain wrong. Until eBay add the ability to suggest catalogue improvements this is a major issue. And this all assumes that the seller is actually looking at the catalogue page if they are listing via a third-party tool such as Channel Advisor or Linnworks.

As an example, if you look at this item, you’ll see that the Shop By Product experience is using a title including the phrase “UK Same Day FREEPOST – 2 Boxes”. That’s two issues in one – firstly not all sellers of this product will be offering free postage and hardly any will offer same day delivery. Secondly it’s for two boxes – most sellers will be listing a single box and even the UPC for the product is for a single box.

Buying two boxes with UK Same day FREEPOST on eBay

Here’s a screen shot of what you see on eBay’s Shop by Product page:
eBay Shop by Product UK Same Day FREEPOST - 2 Boxes

And here’s a screen shot of what you actually buy when you click ‘Add to basket’ from eBay’s Shop by Product page:

Hopefully buyers will realise that the Same Day postage has been replaced by an expected six day delivery estimate and that they’re only buying one box instead of two before they get around to leaving feedback.

Listing products is going to get a lot harder

This is just a single example, so what process is in place to correct this? Well currently htere’s no option to report or amend a misleading Catalogue Page. eBay have said that when catalogue pages go mandatory, sellers will be able to ask eBay to make revisions to incorrect pages, and eBay will get back to them within 24hrs. Sellers will be forced to both check the product page matches their item and to wait up to 24 hours to discover if their amendments have been accepted and implemented. That’s just too long. Sellers want to get products listed and selling on eBay and the worst possible scenario would be to sit down to list 100 new lines and discover that a proportion of them are unable to be listed without a significant delay and worse that there’s nothing you can do about it.

Your choices will be to list against an incorrect catalogue entry and risk feedback impacts to your seller status, to delay listing, or to simply sell that line on a different marketplace. Sellers are busy enough without having a snagging list of products which they may or may not be able to finishing listing tomorrow.

There are no tools on offer to help sellers match items to the emerging catalogue – eBay is asking sellers to do all the work. It seems that eBay imagine they can ask sellers to build them a catalogue in just a few months of a similar quality to Amazon’s which has taken over a decade of polishing (and still has many flaws), and that this catalogue will be good enough to make it mandatory to list against without any problems.

  • 1 month ago

    Sounds scary. My heart sinks! I sell collectible records & CDs and the eBay catalogue to totally deficient. My experience on Amazon trying to amend their catalogue which has a number of small errors ( like missing artist name, missing title, incorrect format etc) has recently got worse. They want me to supply proof from the company website often, in the constant change in music biz, was never there in the first place (not many websites in 1960, Amazon, I tell them). For simple amendments it took me 6 months to get them to recognise that a Bob Marley sleeve on a NuShooz listing was wrong I gave up in the end and the error remains. On eBay it is unnecessary for those of us who sell one offs I am sure.

  • james
    1 month ago

    what a great idea.
    misleads and confuses buyers.
    angers and endangers sellers.
    requires a ton of work from sellers.
    with little or no input from ebay.
    helps nobody.
    of course ebay are all over this.

  • jodie
    1 month ago

    this is gona cause havoc.everyone of our listings,even though nobody else sells our product and we own the ean numbers for them.the product catalogue has edited all our titles and decided to stick ‘2 pieces’ on the front of every one.so everyone is now going to think there getting 2 items when its clearly listed as 1!brilliant

  • 1 month ago

    In summary, it continues the race to the bottom…

    AI is telling them this is needed = got to do it
    Market research is telling them this is needed = got to do it
    Leadership/business intelligence and growth strategy, WTF are these = see 1 & 2

    of no use to sellers as your listing will become filed with the many, only way to stand out; be cheapest.. See summary above..

    Sorry for the negative vibes again, however I never read an update that is a positive improvement with positive sales results for sellers, why is this? That is all we are on ebay to do… as it is they have squashed listings so much to fit mobile devices there is no room or use for a description.. this is obvious by the dump questions from sellers and items returned due to not reading listing.. they cant find the ruddy description any more.. its hidden due to advertising

    You images above have been taken from a desktop screen where more information can be displayed to support the buyers choice.. how many people buy or use a desktop to buy? Only folks like us working at a desktop.. we keep having rammed down on us that the future is mobile, all buyers now use mobile or the useless app.. The information to support the buyers choice on mobile is terrible, its basically a picture and buy it button.. then the buyer wants it dropping from the sky on their head…

    QOUTE
    Hopefully buyers will realise that the Same Day postage has been replaced by an expected six day delivery estimate and that they’re only buying one box instead of two before they get around to leaving feedback.
    UNQOUTE

    Buyers dont realise anything; they want something, search, buy.. it is that simple
    This image shows “get it by” as a delivery date, that is a guaranteed date.. You would hope this seller is shipping with a guaranteed service.. ! ebay is not correctly informing for the buyer here.. or making easy for them to inform themselves..

    ebay is greedy, that is all there is to it… there is no consideration on how this affects all sellers, just the multinationals.

  • 1 month ago

    The biggest concern I have is how (or even whether) eBay will be able to validate product information before allowing a change to be made. No human representative can be an expert on every product and brand they see, and I don’t envisage eBay taking on a team of specialists for each category.

    We have a significant issue on Amazon with deliberate catalogue vandalisation, where AN Other seller goes on and changes an item; changing it from an item to a tradepack of six, or adding in a freebie, or even making an ASIN into a totally different product. They know that this will mess up all the other sellers on a listing with a high chance of getting their competitors negative feedback or even a suspension.

    There is a solution I can see, but it’s both incredibly simple and likely to prove unpopular with sellers as another cost. GS1 needs to move from being an issuer of barcodes to the industry-standard database of products. They would have to persuade companies being issued barcodes to create accurate data for them, and smaller manufacturers would need to be persuaded to actually use barcodes to prevent the current issue of unbarcoded products being created with a different one for each seller. Barcode data once entered would have to be “locked” so that a significant product change would mean a new barcode, and sellers with old stock wouldn’t find they have unsaleable items.

    Using this scheme, eventually, every product would have a barcode which would mostly be “owned” by the manufacturer, with all the others having a known owner and not being able to be easily manipulated. Ebay, Amazon etc would then be able to rent the data from GS1, giving them a fixed accurate reference source and the cost of the rental enabling GS1 to drop prices to the data creators to encourage compliance.

  • Moiz
    1 month ago

    Trying to follow amazon in a catalogue style system is a massive mistake IF they also take away/reduce the ability to create new and inspiring ideas/items/products.

    The reason why I love ebay to amazon (and why i often go to ebay to buy certain things) is because ebay allows sellers to add value to a product; usually done by either unique (non-catalogued/non-barcode) products, or by creating unique titles.

    there are so many examples of where ebayers successfully find new, innovative
    and alternative uses and terminology of existing well trodden (boring) products.

    e.g. they find a tool can do a certain thing, they find that this cloth is perfect for this or x if good for y. its endless….and this is all because ebayers can be creative/individual with their titles and listings.

    I’ve found so many instances where product manufacturers want call it something while buyers want to call it something totally different. who bridges the gap?
    It’s ebay sellers who do this best.

    by pushing towards ‘one-size-fits-all’ catalogue system – it’s the same as how we pushed our small independent shops out of our high streets and centres.
    They pushed them out, let all the chains in, now it’s all belly-up they’re calling for independent’s back except it’s too late because there’s few left in business.

  • Terry
    1 month ago

    I understand why they would want to try and get a grip over the listings on the site, but perhaps a way to do that would have been to police the existing listings better.

    Remove duplicates listings, enforce a clear policy for variations, deal with sellers who are being shady with the shipping locations and so on.

    All of those would go a considerable distance to clean up the search, and if there are some sellers who refuse to comply with those rules, remove them from the site altogether.

    The thing is, these things have not been done effectively.

    So, instead of enforcing existing policies, we now have a whole new idea, which is to try and capture the world, and everything ever made in it, in one catalogue. The task is beyond herculean, and if the will and resources are not there to police existing policies, where is the will and resources to create, SPEEDILY maintain, and enforce compliance with the catalogue going to come from ????

    I don’t think buyers (or people in general) like to be confronted with constant change, and will switch off if the changes presented do not work for them. From the example in the article, which I am sure is just one of millions of errors already, it is not working properly and problems will follow by the truck load.

    How many sellers are going to have their businesses wrecked by this change I wonder…..