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Mandatory eBay Item Specifics SNAFU

By Chris Dawson October 15, 2019 - 2:30 pm

An eBay Item Specifics SNAFU has hit sellers today as the new October mandate rolls out with mismatched information required.

eBay are fixated on Item Specifics following the roll back of their attempt to build a catalogue for listings on eBay. Sellers begrudgingly accept this… begrudgingly because Item Specifics are being mandated which means sellers aren’t willing to adopt them voluntarily in large enough numbers. This tends to suggest that sellers are being forced to adopt under the mandates but if they were truly sold on the value then surely they would be eagerly adding them and benefiting from the resultant uplift in sales.

Today sellers have discovered that the 8 weeks notice that eBay gave for Item Specifics contained incorrect information. For decades on eBay, the “Inside Leg” attribute has been used but in today’s roll out and a major eBay Item Specific SNAFU sellers are discovering that it’s been changed to “Inseam”. (See above image of eBay’s advance notice of new mandatory Item Specific Spreadsheet and the Sell Your Item Form today).

eBay may well have mapped the two attributes internally, but sellers working on spreadsheets, sellers using third party tools, sellers using repricing software, indeed sellers using just about any third party tool, have discovered the change in name has broken their solutions.

If you have a spreadsheet that’s looking for the Item Specific “Inside Leg” then yesterday it worked. Today, you won’t even be able to reprice your listings because you need a new (or to rename) your spreadsheet to “Inseam”. Not only that, but in the past on eBay the Inside Leg Item Specific was of the form ’30L’, ’32L’, ’34L’, ’36L’. The new format is ’30’, ’32’, ’34’, ’36’.

As a side note, bizarrely the pick list goes all the way up to ’40’ and frankly I’ve never met anyone requiring jeans with a 40″ leg! Bearing in mind that this pick list for ‘Inseam’ is brand new today, why have eBay put absurd values in? This is just begging sellers to screw up and select an incorrect value.

We know changes on eBay have to happen. We appreciate their 8 week notice period for the new mandatory Item Specifics. What’s unacceptable to sellers is when the spreadsheet download detailing the new Item Specifics notifies sellers of one value and then springing a totally different value on them on the day of launch.

Don’t forget this is Q4. We are just five weeks away from Black Friday. This is not the time of year to be making changes and new attributes are universally detested at this time of year but when they break your entire operations it’s catastrophic. Don’t forget, this isn’t just going to impact you if you launch a new listing, it means you can’t replenish stock and edit available inventory or even drop your prices for Black Friday deals until you update the Item Specifics with the values you only discovered today.

There are more changes coming in 2020, we’re already crossing our fingers it’s not another Item Specifics SNAFU that will frustrate sellers who just want to list, accept orders and ship goods. Perhaps it’s time for eBay to scrap mandates and deliver stratospheric sales to sellers who complete Item Specifics – that would have sellers falling over themselves to complete the values. Even then, it would be useful to have the correct values published and not change both the Item Specific name and the attribute values on the day they become mandatory. An 8 week notice period has turned out to be useless.

  • Tom
    1 month ago

    They’ve also switched around the required item specific “Trouser Size” to just “Size” – All the filters on site are still using Trouser Size however the Trouser Size specific when adding a listing has been made redundant. Very confused at what is going on…

  • 1 month ago

    As a buyer try using the size item specific for any clothing item or shoe. It either isn’t there today in the left columns or if it show up horizontally, it simply doesn’t work.

    • 1 month ago

      Having written this post and lived in shorts all summer, it prompted me to go buy some jeans on eBay. It’s impossible! No waist sizes, no leg lengths.

      If anyone is buying jeans on eBay today I’m frankly amazed!

  • 1 month ago

    I just used the bulk editor to make changes to some of my listings. ALL my clothing listings are flagged because there is no entry in the required size specific.
    Of course all my clothing listings had the size specific yesterday. If eBay has deleted them, that must be a major event. I hope they can get them back. I’m not going to edit all my listings individually at this time.

  • james
    1 month ago

    “Bearing in mind that this pick list for ‘Inseam’ is brand new today, why have eBay put absurd values in?”
    Because ebay. this is how they roll.

    the amount of head-shaking absurdity i’ve encountered while trying to fit items into these specifics is absurd in of itself.
    admittedly it seems to be getting a bit better, but at one point i could specify wardrobe handles made of hemp or hemlock (hemlock???), but not metal.

    going back over older listings i’ve done specifics on previously, it seems they have changed “height” to “item height” (same for width and depth).
    so even though i have correctly filled in the correct specific for height, customers can’t search for it, because height has been changed to a custom specific and the searchable “item height” is empty.

    even dimensions. “less than 60cm” is the only viable option on many of my listings.
    what use is that to anyone?
    for the items over 60cm, it goes up in 10cm steps. i can’t specify the actual size of the item, which defeats the point (item non-specifics?).
    do i accept that ebay will hide my item, or do i put the wrong size on there?
    doesn’t seem like either one is a win.

    some things don’t squeeze into pigeonholes, that was the magic of ebay. you could find it anyway, the whole world was on here in all sizes shapes and colours.
    now if it doesn’t fit precisely into some frankly odd-shaped arbitrary ebay pigeonholes they’ll hide your item so it doesn’t sell and you end up going elsewhere.

  • Tom
    1 month ago

    If eBay want to make changes like this without informing sellers of the full details they need to ensure that previously acceptable values are mapped to the new values i.e:

    Trouser Size: 34 in. —-> automatically maps = Size: 34 in.

    OR

    Inside leg: 32L —-> automatically maps to = Inseam: 32

    Both these need to have the same result in the filters.

    I appreciate they want to simplify the complicated taxonomy of item specifics but this is not the way to do it. Changing names and recommend filing without notice is absurd.

    Now we’re in limbo until we know how this is going to be dealt with!

  • 1 month ago

    Many sellers are reporting on Twitter and the US eBay Technical Issues community board problems like zz’s (re)listing due to item specifics glitches (and vanished catalog specifics – size, color, etc. for relistings).

  • Dave
    1 month ago

    Our ebay account manager has confirmed this has been done in error and they will be changing back.

    Recommend no one panic changes anything and waits for the fix

    • Tom
      1 month ago

      Hi Dave,

      does that mean all the name changes and different recommendations will revert back to how they were?

      Thanks,
      Tom

  • Paul
    1 month ago

    The main one for me… which has really changed is women’s tops & shirts – styles.

    This used to be blouses, T-shirt’s, vest tops..

    None of those are there now, but blouse is now in a section called ‘ type ‘

    Don’t see anything from
    EBay saying that would be changing

  • Martin
    1 month ago

    Similar situation in men’s clothing Jackets.
    Before, mandatory specific was the chest size and you could select M, L or 38, 40 etc..
    Now specific name remains “chest size” but they changed the drop down list to:
    36-38 inch
    39-41 nch
    42-44 inch
    45-48 inch
    49-50 inch

    So now non of my listings is visible if someone use a chest size filter because they changed drop down list!
    What’s even worse is that this sizes makes no sense.
    I am selling mostly Blazer jackets and in those chest size is very important.
    For example Blazer is size 42 means it will fit best someone with chest size 42 inches.
    But my option tiyselsct now is only 42-44 which means it will be too tight for someone with 44 chest or select 39-41 and in that case the jacket will be too big for a buyer.
    Nonsense!

    I understand that and why they did that but why on earth they did not included also other values like:

    40 inch
    42 inch
    44 inch
    ….
    + the range
    In that case I can select what I need and it will help a buyer too.
    Now it will create only confusion for a buyer and a seller.

    As a buyer, if I would be a chest size 42 I would have a problem to select correct value, because I would assume one value wile be too big and one too small.
    As a seller I already explained.

    Nowhere in their notice of item specifics was written this is going to change, so what was the point?
    In current status I would be either not visible even my item specifics are all fullfiked or I must change them to something which will cause only confusion and possible returns because of the wrong size.
    I was very unhappy when I saw this and I really hope someone will do something with it.

    I believe in specifics to be filled as I am using them a lot, but it must done in a correct way.
    Not like this!
    Thousands people working in eBay and this is their best? It did not happened for the first time so they should do something about it already and don’t cause unnecessary confusion.
    Martin

  • Chris
    1 month ago

    Same here, complete nightmare to be honest.
    The 15th October was only meant to be for the required specifics in the categories.
    NOT for a complete overhaul of the names and lists of different specifics.

  • Robin
    1 month ago

    What do you expect from people with ZERO life or online selling experience? They are completely brain dead – worst than zombies.

    Or someone is doing this on purpose – destroying eBay from inside…

  • Jonah
    1 month ago

    The advice from eBay towers- Don’t panic! Await the fix! It’s only a glitch,,,,,,,,

    Meanwhile in the real world people are losing sales and eBay is just a laughingstock. Sellers can’t sell and buyers can’t buy,,,,,, you couldnt make it up if you tried.

    • paul
      1 month ago

      Hello… I spoke to a specialist in this… & to the seller growth.. it is not a glitch I’ve been told..

      Its the new changes that are to stay

  • It would be so useful if ebay can provide a user interface which shows your active listings, separated by ebay item category, in which you can either: 1. populate item specifics on screen showing users which ones are required and which ones are desired. For each one they show the available options so the user can select from drop down menu or check box.

    2. be able to download as a spreadsheet, complete, save and upload.

    For something so important, it should be totally standardised and as easy as possible for users to complete.

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