Like so many technology and user-driven websites, eBay is a constantly changing beast, which means that for those businesses who use the platform, adjusting your model to incorporate their latest requests can be a real challenge. This is particularly true of eBay’s latest requirement; product identifiers. Not only is the process of adding product identifiers to each of your listings tricky to implement, it is also much more time consuming than the current system of uploading items. But are there any benefits of the system to eBayers? And when should you be fulfilling eBay’s product identifier requirements? Here is everything you need to know about product identifiers:
What are product identifiers?
The implementation of product identifiers is part of eBay’s decision to move to a more catalogue based listing system. For eBay and for eBay buyers, the aim of this is to make it easier than ever to search for and find the products that you need. Product identifiers are anything that will formally identify the product and make it easy to search for: this includes barcodes, catalogue numbers, manufacturer numbers and other items and these are particularly relevant to items such as books, multimedia, and electrical products. The three distinct pieces of information that eBay will be asking for are the brand, the Manufacturer Part Number (MPN), and the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN). These are the same identifiers that Google uses, and should make the two sites even more compatible.
Will product identifiers be detrimental to eBay sellers?
For small independent eBay sellers, the process of adding product identifier information to each of your listings will add considerably to the amount of time each product upload takes, particularly in the early months when the system will be new and tricky to navigate. This may well result in the ability to list fewer items and, therefore, the new requirements are being considered to be detrimental by many small eBay business owners. The positive attributes of product identifiers will also not be beneficial to many different types of eBay sellers, particularly those selling bespoke or unique pieces for which there are no product identifiers available. Whilst there are no plans to roll out product identifiers to all categories (so craft sellers, for example, will not be affected by the change) those selling bespoke items within the identified categories are likely to be penalised as they will not be able to take advantage of the perks that eBay are claiming product identifiers will afford. These include increased exposure, increased the likelihood to appear in ‘Best Match’ listings, and pricing advice and guidance, aimed to make your listing more competitive and, therefore, more likely to sell. As the new requirements also only apply to new or manufacturer refurbished products, there is also concern that these new rules will be detrimental to those sellers who are selling second-hand goods.
The Product identifier timeline
So when do you need to take note of these changes? From early June you must include product identifiers with your listings if you are selling branded new and manufacturer refurbished items in the following comprehensive list of product categories:
Books, Comics & Magazines
Business, Office & Industrial
Cameras & Photography
Clothes, Shoes & Accessories
Computers/Tablets & Networking
DVDs, Films & TV
Health & Beauty
Home, Furniture & DIY
Mobile Phones & Communication
Sound & Vision
Toys & Games
Vehicle Parts & Accessories
Video Games & Consoles
The impact of these new requirements surrounding product identifiers on ordinary eBay sellers is yet to be seen. As the model continues to change and evolve, this relatively simple concept is likely to pose more problems and questions for the ordinary eBay seller.