Often from the eBay sellers I hear from on Facebook, email groups and other forums, you hear the plaintive voices saying things like, ‘My sales are down 75% this month,’ ‘Traffic to my eBay store has just gone off a cliff,’ or ‘I haven’t had a single sale in 12 days,’ and I always want to help. Based on 13+ years of experience and keeping up with the latest news and changes in the eBay marketplace, I’d like to offer three areas to check right away when you start seeing this trend.
First and most important, are your listings orphans? In other words, have they been left alone with no supervision for too long? With eBay stores, Good Till Cancelled (GTC) listings, and automatic relisting settings available now, too many listings are added to eBay and then forgotten. The push to get higher and higher numbers in your inventory, while valid, can also lead to orphan listings. So, first step is to check those listings that have been up the longest first. Let’s see what tweaks we can make to stir things up and get both eBay’s and Google’s search engines attention.
Next, after you identify the oldest listings, check those titles. It hasn’t been that long ago that eBay expanded our available characters from 55 to 80. If some of your listings have been orphans too long, they may not have the full 80 characters in their titles. Let’s fix that! Titles can be edited in most circumstances. I understand that sometimes coming up with enough keywords to describe your item and fill up 80 characters can be hard. Here are two free resources from eBay Labs. The first is called the Bay Estimator and will show you how to create compelling titles and the other is called the eBaySaurus and will help you come up with related keywords.
Next step is to check those pictures. With eBay’s new rules requiring photos to be a minimum of 500 pixels on each side and allowing up to 1600 and even higher, you need to make sure your photos POP. EBay has been talking for several months about Best Match beginning to use photo quality as one of the factors determining how high up your items will show. In addition, the new rules about no borders, no text on photos and having the photo only contain the items you are selling will be implemented this fall, although no exact date has been set.
Recently I did a podcast interview with an amazing photographer. He put together a few pages on his website for my audience and gave a fantastic presentation, in fact one of the best I’ve ever heard for beginning photogs. You can listen to the eCom Connections interview (show date is 5/7/2012) and meet the photographer, Ron Davison, on his blog.
Another great resource is eBay’s Photo Center, which is a new addition. They even have a 22 page guide to download.
The third area to check is your eBay Item Specifics. I recently wrote an entire article about Item Specifics for the Vendio Blog and recommend that for reading. In short, not using the Item Specifics on your listings can prevent them from being found on eBay as buyers can choose to only see items matching the criteria included in Item Specifics. For instance, if I list a blue skirt and in the title say the word ‘Blue’ but do NOT include Color: Blue in my Item Specifics, my item will not come up if someone uses eBay’s Search Choices to narrow the color to show only Blue Skirts. Check out the eBay Help Center information about Item Specifics to help you.
To pull this all together, checking these three important areas won’t automatically increase your sales or traffic, but ignoring any one of them will definitely cause you to see less traffic and consequently less sales. So check out these three key areas first, make sure you have all these basics covered and then you can dig deeper into issues affecting your listings.
This guest post is by Kat Simpson. Kat is a respected as a trusted eCommerce speaker, educator, and entrepreneur, Kat Simpson has been a successful eCommerce merchant for over 10 years; is a Certified eBay Education Specialist and Gold Level PowerSeller, who also maintains stores on Addoway, Bonanza, Buy.com, and iOffer. Currently Kat is the co-host of popular weekly eCommerce Podcast FBARadio.