eBay is one of the most beneficial online marketplaces for customers and businesses. It offers businesses the opportunity to appeal to a wide and diverse audience of potential customers across the entire world. One of main reasons behind eBay's fantastic online presence is that it is regarded as trustworthy. Thanks to its close connections with PayPal, customers aren't as hesitant to purchase products because they know that eBay will refund their product should any major issues develop.

eBay are constantly looking for more ways to offer an increasingly secure and reliable service to their customers, and the addition of product identifiers is just another step in the right direction for the online marketplace.

What Are Product Identifiers?

Most new and manufacturer refurbished items will have product identifiers on the casing or box of the product in question. These identifiers can include any one of a number of different features, including:

  • Brand Name;
  • Manufacturer's Part Number (MPN);
  • Global Trade Item Number (GTIN);
  • Universal Product Code (UPC);
  • International/European Article Number (EAN);
  • Japanese Article Number (JAN);
  • International Standard Book Number (ISBN);

These identifiers make it extremely easy for shoppers to find the items they're looking for when searching online. Whether through the eBay search option itself or through an external search engine like Google, Yahoo or Bing. These have been essential in helping customers to find their perfect items for a long time, but in recent months eBay has increased the importance on these identifiers to ensure an even more customer-friendly engagement with the marketplace.

eBay's Move Towards Product Identifiers

eBay made it known in June, 2015, that their internal search engine would provide higher visibility to those sellers and businesses which used the best eBay listing tools to provide their products with these identifiers. This was a clear indication as to the importance of product identifiers, and it was no surprise when eBay announced they were to become an essential part of many listings.

As of February 29th, 2016, product identifiers are now required on all new and Good Til' Cancelled (GTC) items of new and manufacturer-refurbished items in a range of different categories. This means that these GTC listing will not automatically renew unless you take the time to update them to ensure that they include effective product identifiers.

Which Categories Have Been Affected By eBay's Update?

The main categories to be affected by this change include:

  • Baby;
  • Books, Comics & Magazines;
  • Business, Office & Industrial;
  • Cameras & Photography;
  • Clothes, Shoes & Accessories;
  • Coins;
  • Collectables;
  • Computers/Tablets & Networking;
  • Crafts;
  • DVDs, Films & TV;
  • Garden & Patio;
  • Health & Beauty;
  • Home, DIY & Furniture;
  • Mobile Phones & Communication;
  • Music;
  • Musical Instruments;
  • Pet Supplies;
  • Sound & Vision;
  • Sporting Goods;
  • Toys & Games;
  • Vehicle Parts & Accessories;
  • Video Games & Consoles;

For a comprehensive list of the specific subcategories affected by this change, read the document released by the eBay Seller Centre .

If your business specialises in used, vintage or one-of-a-kind items, then you are not required to include identifiers as of yet. However, if you have the option of including product identifiers, it is always better to do so. They can offer a range of practical advantages to any eBay seller.

What Are The Advantages Of Product Identifiers For eBay?

Simply, product identifiers allow the user to find the perfect item for them and use its specific identifiers to research whether it will serve their needs. These identifiers have always been extremely essential when it comes to mechanical accessories, which are often identified by their MPN. The sheer number of variations that these mechanical components can feature in their range make a numeric identification code completely necessary, as there could potentially be hundreds of extremely similar components with very little else to differentiate them.

The main advantages of these identifiers include:

  • Higher Levels Of Exposure – Generally speaking, those sellers who add product identifiers to their listings will be able to enjoy better and more accurate placement in eBay's Best Match. These will also enjoy more merchandising opportunities on eBay and higher ranking in external search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.
  • Faster Listing Times – When you include identifiers for any item within the overall eBay catalogue, you'll be able to receive high-quality data which automatically prefills your listing. This can really provide great advantages, especially when combined with the very best in eBay listing tools.
  • Product Reviews – If your item is listed in the eBay catalogue, and has previous product reviews associated with it, then those reviews will appear on your listing. This can be essential when it comes to increasing your conversion rate.
  • Solid Pricing Advice – The more information you provide about a particular item, the more information you'll receive on pricing guidance. This can really help you to make your listings more competitive.
  • Trending Price Alert – Listings which include product identifiers will include a trending price alert when they are priced below the average trading price – this can not only help you to appeal to customers with lower costs, but can alert you when another trader is offering the same product and undercutting your costs.

Of course, whilst these advantages are great, the fact that eBay now requires identifying information puts every eBay seller on a level playing field. Throughout the following year, eBay have already indicated that they will continue to focus on product identifiers as an essential component for trading through this marketplace.

Even if your category doesn't require the addition of product identifiers, we recommend that you use the very best eBay listing tools to add them in before you need to. This can give you the jump on your competitors and ensure that you're sitting comfortably when you eventually do need to add this information in.

Tips To Prepare Your eBay Listings For Product Identifiers

1. Understand Which Existing Listings Need To Be Updates – If you're unsure which of your listings need to be updated, there is an easy way to find out. All you need to do is go to your My eBay or Seller Hub. Select all of your active listings before clicking on edit. This will then take you into eBay's bulk editing tool, where you can view an easy table of all your current listings.

Next, you need to click on the filters for “Required Field" to display only the listings that need to be updated with product identifiers. From there, you can easily update the required fields for each item. Once you've done so, you just need to click save and submit changes to allow your listing to be published to eBay.

2. Find Your Product Identifiers! – Finding something to represent your product is actually fairly easy, and many eBay sellers are fretting over nothing. Most products will include product identifiers on the packaging, so there really isn't anything to worry about if you have the packaging. Just to make sure that you don't have any problems discovering your identifiers, we've compiled a list of where you can find each one.

o UPC – Universal Product Codes are found beneath the barcode of any packaging. They usually have one digit separated from the main body to the left and one to the right. In total, UPC's have 12 digits.

o EAN – International/European Article Numbers are also found below the barcode but they are 13 digits long, rather than 12.

o ISBN – International Standard Book Numbers are often the easiest to find, as they are often located immediately above the barcode but also within the first few pages of the book in question.

By knowing where to look for your product identifiers, you can make the entire process that much quicker and easier. For the best eBay sellers, this will be second nature anyway. Larger businesses will often have already been using barcodes and associated information to organise these products in their own warehousing set up.

3. Find The Item In eBay's Existing Product Catalogue – If you're struggling to find all the identifying information, then you could search for the product within eBay's product catalogue. Unfortunately, eBay's catalogue can sometimes be fairly glitch and have difficulty finding the right item.

One of the most effective ways to get around this is to search for your product as if you're looking to buy it yourself, and then click on the “sell it yourself" link.

For the best results, you want to add this information as soon as possible to ensure that you can really start to take advantage of its wide range of advantages.

Don't Make The “Does Not Apply" Mistake!

Many larger eBay businesses that offer a huge range of different items are finding it difficult to organise the time to reset their identifiers. Although this can be made much simpler with the best eBay listing tools, it is a problem that needs to be addressed ASAP. One technique which has quickly become popular is the “Does Not Apply" strategy.

Many businesses are setting their Product Identifiers as Does Not Apply to get around eBay's requirements without having to put any extra effort in. This is an extremely short-sighted strategy that will severely damage these organisations in the long-run.

eBay is so keen to get effective catalogue information onto their products because it allows their website to compare more relevant products and offer as positive a customer experience as possible. The online auction house is more likely to present customers with products that offer complete information and data than those which are essentially empty, or treated with the eBay equivalent of N/A.

Google's Need For Product Identifiers

Another reason that these identifiers are so essential is that Google has started to insist on similar information in their own product feeds. If you're paying eBay to represent your products and drive traffic to your eBay store design, then you can't afford to take the lazy route. eBay will no longer be able to upload your products to Google if you don't supply them with the best information using the best eBay listing tools.

How Can eBay Listing Tools Help To Improve Your Online Effectiveness?

The online marketplace now needs these identifiers to ensure that your products can appear to more relevant and interested customers. If you fail to take advantage of the benefits provided by these features, then you're likely to fall behind your competitors in terms of customer loyalty, ROI and brand awareness.

With eBay listing tools, you'll be able to add new products and update existing listings quickly and easily. Not only will all of your listings follow a set template that instantly identifies the listing as part of your unique brand, but it will also ensure that you include all relevant information and undertake effective SEO when it comes to the product descriptions and listing headings.

Get In Touch With eStore Design Today, For The Best eBay Store Design And Listings Tools!

If you're looking to turn your eBay presence into a success, you need to adhere to the very best practices suggested by the online marketplace itself. You need a unique store design to make your business stand out amongst your competition and to utilise the best possible tools and additions to ensure that you can provide a great customer experience whilst your user is engaging with your business.

For more information, please don't hesitate to get in touch with our professional team today on 0845 838 2700. Alternatively, don't hesitate to email any questions or concerns to sales@e-store-design.co.uk and we'll get back to you as soon as we can!

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