New eBay Product Pages Now Rolling Out to All Categories

Posted on June 16, 2010. Filed under: eBay | Tags: , , , , |

In February 2009 eBay made some important design updates to its Book, Music, Movies and Video Games Product Pages.  And then in the July 2009 Message to Sellers, eBay announced

“Product pages are rolling out to more buyers, so list with product details to make sure your listings are included.   Also, eBay will start selecting sellers’ photos for inclusion in the eBay product catalog on September 1.  If your photo is chosen, your user ID and a link to your profile page will appear on the product page.  If you’d prefer not to have your pictures selected, opt out no later than August 31.”

And now almost a year later, eBay is moving forward with their plan to create more product pages.  Most sellers can expect to see the following screen sometime in the near future:

Some sellers attempting to relist unsold items today will be shown this screen which asks the seller to search the eBay catalog to use prefilled information for their item.  In the bottom left corner in very small writing is a link titled “Skip This Step” for sellers who do not want to use the eBay product pages.

If a product page is available, a seller can choose to use it or not.  An item can be listed or relisted using the seller’s own picture and description rather than the picture and description from the eBay catalog.

I asked eBay today who is creating their catalog and was told that eBay is contracting with third party services.  Specifically, a company called Muse is creating some product pages in the media category.  And eBay has plans to use other third party people and companies for future product pages that are created, from what I was told today.

I have many questions and concerns about the eBay plan to create product pages similiar to the Amazon catalog approach.  First, just how accurate are the third party product pages and who do sellers report errors to if they notice that the description or picture is incorrect?  In the eBay Help pages, a process is described to address this issue but given eBay’s history of not taking action against policy violators, it is doubtful that sellers can expect many errors to be corrected.  Especially given that eBay states the following on their Help Pages:

“Product details and stock pictures may be changed or removed from time to time. When significant changes occur, we’ll let you know. However, eBay isn’t responsible for this content because it’s provided by other companies. Always confirm the accuracy of the information before you list your item.”

On the few product pages for the toy category that I visited, I noticed that the picture did not match the description.  For example, the picture would show a silver color item but the text would state the color description as red.  Some pictures were clearly not even close to what the description stated and some titles were nonsensical.  I have sold some of these items before and the every one of the product pages I looked at ranged from having minor errors to being completely and outrageously wrong. 

And really the big question is how eBay sellers are going to react to the new product pages since the sellers are the ones who will have to all adopt these new product pages in order for them to be successful.  The eBay representative I spoke with today tells me that he doesn’t like buying from a seller who uses stock photos and descriptions and that he recommends sellers not use the eBay product pages. 

In the past, eBay was the place to find unique items but with the new product pages rolling out to all categories the uniqueness of eBay is disappearing even faster.  For example, there are a great many “Toy” items for which there are variations the manufacturer creates (for example, 1 in 100 of a certain item will have a different attribute, usually very minor, to make it more collectible) and creating product pages will definitely have an effect on buyer and seller behavior for these items and I doubt the result will be a positive one for buyer, seller, or eBay.

For some categories such as Music and Books or Electronics, eBay has really big Diamond-Size sellers who will support the eBay product pages and catalog and thus smaller sellers are almost forced to use the product pages or not be found.  However, for other categories and subcategories where Diamond Sellers do not exist I believe eBay will be fighting an uphill battle to get most sellers (small, medium, or even large sellers) to be early adopters of their product pages.  Most non-Diamond and non-Platinum sellers do not have a favorable impression of the eBay catalog and are actually quite fearful of how it will impact their business.  Once again, eBay and sellers find themselves on opposite sides rather than on the same team.

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3 Responses to “New eBay Product Pages Now Rolling Out to All Categories”

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The epic fail that I foresee here is with eBay’s emphasis on ‘secondary market stock’. The available product will be old style, not the new improved this year’s model so buyers will truly have ongoing SNAD issues.

Do you see an even larger exodus of small to micro-sellers resulting from the inability to upload the correct image?

“However, eBay isn’t responsible for this content because it’s provided by other companies.”

So typical of eBay. They contracted and presumably paid them. But hey, they are not responsible for anything that they caused that is wrong.

But, they sure do make sure every thing works correctly (lol) when it comes to collecting fees.

Ebay has a vast and deep inventory of ‘Skip This Step’, and I notice I am listing a lot of it lately. That’s some good stuff!

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