How to optimize product listings on marketplaces? [Research]

Listing optimization on eBay and other marketplaces is worth the effort.

Why? Proper listing optimization means more sales.

However, optimizing product listings can be tricky, especially if you sell internationally.

This is what we’ve recently checked at Webinterpret. First, we’ve managed to better understand the role of optimizing product attributes for increased product visibility and conversion rates. Second, we’ve taken actions that have significantly increased our sellers’ listings visibility and revenue.

In this article we’ll share with you what we’ve done to improve eBay listings and thus increase product visibility by up to 60% and sales by 20%.

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Product listing optimization to improve listing visibility

The purchase funnel framework models the journey of a buyer toward the purchase of a good or service. One of the key aspects of this framework is the concept of “visibility”: how likely a particular product is to be found by a potential buyer.

In contrast to other factors (e.g., price) that mainly impact the final decision of the buyer, product visibility is affected by the particularities of the search engine and the interface implemented by the marketplace. A clear example of this is how widespread search filters are:

search filters marketplaces ebay france

Search filters on marketplaces help buyers refine their searches and see only those listings that match the criteria defined by the search filter. In other words, only products that contain the attributes (or item specifics on eBay) and values defined by the search filter will be displayed in search results.

Webinterpret’s ecommerce solution aims to maximize the number of attributes recommended by eBay in sellers’ product listings according to marketplace specifications.

Our goal is to provide the best possible ecommerce solution to help marketplace sellers increase their revenue. We measure our success by the actual increase in our customers’ international sales.

How to optimize your eBay listings: best practices

Let’s start with some basics regarding eBay listing optimization.

So, how do you optimize your listings on the eBay marketplace? The following best practices will help you increase your sales opportunities on the platform.

#1 eBay listing optimization best practice: take care of product images

When taking photos of your items, stay professional. With professional-looking pictures, you’ll be taken seriously as a business as opposed to a casual seller.

Your product images can make or break your sales.

It’s worth following eBay’s best practices and image guidelines. In general, photos should be well-lit, clear, high-resolution, and set front and center against a plain white background.

When taking photos, focus on the product. Try to take a few shots from different angles to give your visitors a good view of the item. If the item is hard to size, position it next to a ruler in the shot. Make sure that shoppers know what they’re getting.

ebay tips for taking photos that sell

#2 eBay listing optimization best practice: take care of product descriptions & keywords

Provide a clear description of each item. Add details about its features (measurements, dimensions, color, specific features, condition of the item, etc.) and explain how to use the item.

It’s important that the buyer knows exactly what they’re going to get. Otherwise, they may want to return the item or give you poor feedback. Your shipping and return policies should be clear, too.

Ecommerce tip
Be clear and accurate in your descriptions. Avoid busy pages with bright, flashy graphics, spelling mistakes, poor grammar, or too much text.

Finally, ensure your items are discoverable. Your product titles should be rich with the keywords your buyers are searching for. Use relevant keywords in your product descriptions, too.

#3 eBay listing optimization best practice: take care of positive feedback, communication & customer service

Do your best to get a positive feedback score. Negative feedback will affect your seller score. If it goes below a certain limit, you may not be able to run your eBay store. It’s not worth taking risks in this regard.

Above all, make sure that your items are 1. as described; 2. delivered on time.

Ensure that goods are well packaged to avoid damage in transit. Keep the buyer posted, for example, by messaging them that you’ve shipped their item. It’s also important to have a clear returns policy.

Finally, respond quickly and politely to problems, questions, and negative feedback. Remember that on eBay, you have the chance to rectify mistakes, request feedback revisions, and make things right in general.

#4 eBay listing optimization best practice: stay efficient & keep track of your sales

Use eBay’s Selling Manager Pro to stay on top of the admin that comes with high-volume sales, for instance:

  • Scheduling listings in bulk
  • Printing invoices
  • Automating feedback
  • Viewing sales at a glance and more.

Consider other eBay selling tools that will help you beat your competitors and reduce your workload.

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Localizing listings on eBay and other marketplaces: challenge

Finding corresponding product attributes can be tricky when a product listing is localized on different international sites or markets of a given marketplace. In other words, the attributes in the original listing may not correspond with the recommended ones in the destination market.

The challenge goes beyond the simple translation of specific attributes.

Consider this example. Let’s say an original product listing on eBay Italy contains an attribute called “Colore”. We want to localize this listing for eBay Spain. It may seem obvious that we should simply translate ”Colore” (Italian) into “Color” (Spanish).

This, however, may result in product visibility issues.

The recommended attribute in the destination market (in this case, Spain) may not be a direct translation but a different word/phrase, e.g., “Color principal”. Such situations are quite common in different markets/sites in the same market.

eBay listing optimization & Webinterpret’s experiments

In our experiments, we identified recommended attributes that were most often missing in each category of each site. We then collected all the potential original attributes that might correspond to the missing ones in destination markets.

How we optimized attributes in eBay listings

  1. Here’s an example of a UK product listing localized for a French market:
    We identified that the attribute “Longueur de la robe” (dress length) is recommended for the clothes category on eBay France (but we failed to include it in our listings).
  2. We looped over the original listings, analyzing their attributes in order to identify which UK attribute to use as a value for the recommended French attribute “Longueur de la robe”. For example, given these original attributes: {“Size”, “Brand”, “Style”, “Dress Length”, “Material”}, we can identify that “Dress length” is the one that corresponds to “Longueur de la robe”.
  3. Finally, we updated our automatic systems so that the value associated with “Dress Length” is used to provide the value for the French attribute “Longueur de la robe” whenever a UK listing is localized in the clothes category on eBay France.

Results after the eBay listing optimization experiment

After our experiments, the average number of views per product roughly doubled.

The following chart displays the average number of views per product. The big spike on week 0 was caused by re-listing the products with their new translated attributes.

ebay listing optimization increase views chart

As to the impact of our experiment on the actual sales, sales increased by about 20% compared to the previous period.

eBay listing optimization: conclusions

To beat competitors, sellers must maximize their product visibility.

Attributes have a big impact on product visibility (and sales) on marketplaces. Identifying missing attributes in translated listings can significantly improve product visibility (number of views) and sales conversions as a result.

Based on our experiments:

Increasing the number of recommended attributes in our listings increases product visibility (up to +60%) and sales (+20%).

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