Size conversion on eBay: get it right and grow your international sales
Do you offer products on eBay with sizes or dimensions in their specs? Do you sell, or are you considering selling, on international online markets? Then you should be familiar with international size charts.
If your product attributes contain sizes or dimensions, it’s important not to leave listing translation to standard translation tools. Wrong translations can cost your ecommerce business lost orders and returned products.
Here’s what to do instead to convert sizes and dimensions correctly and sell products on eBay more successfully.
Size conversion on eBay
Sizes are pretty common in ecommerce listings. For example, Webinterpret checked how many eBay items contain sizes: it’s around 22% of items in the Clothes category per month.
Thus, if you sell clothes online and trade on international markets, you’re probably familiar with international size charts (conversion charts).
Conversion charts translate units of one system of measurement into corresponding units of another.
Now consider the following example. If you’re a British merchant selling shoes in France, size variations “UK 7, UK 8, UK 9, UK 10” won’t be translated by Google into “FR 41, FR 42”, etc.
If French buyers see unfamiliar sizes, they’ll probably move on to the next product listing.
If you sell products with sizes, standard automated translation is unlikely to pick up sizes from the context. As a result, standard translation tools won’t convert them for foreign online buyers and/or can even mess up your listings.
The bottom line:
Your international return rates may significantly go up and seller ratings down. Further, returned items will cost you money.
To sell more on international eBay sites, convert sizes (correctly)
Imagine this situation. You’re an online shopper from the UK. You want to buy shoes, size 9. The shoes you’re after are very expensive in the UK.
You’ve decided to do some browsing on international marketplaces. You’ve discovered that prices are much better in a few European countries and in the US.
You’re ready to make a purchase, but there’s one problem. You want size 9, but you see 42 or 43 on the European sites. In a similar way, sizes seem to be somewhat different in the USA.
You’re confused by the sizes. You don’t fully understand US or European clothing sizes and you’re not sure if you’ll choose the right one.
Luckily, some sellers have taken your predicament into consideration. They’ve added relevant international size charts and clearly marked sizes familiar to UK buyers. Their prices are good, too.
Problem solved: you’ll purchase the shoes from one of those considerate online sellers.
If international size conversion on marketplaces looks like no problem from your, the online seller’s, perspective, put yourself in your buyers’ shoes.
Size conversion vs. competition on eBay
You may assume that the online buyer can always look sizes up online. They can always ask. Or they will simply know the difference between sizes in the UK, Germany, France and the US.
Unfortunately that’s not the reality in most cases. Often the reality is that the busy buyer will go to those online sellers who show some empathy and respect for the buyer’s time.
Those are the sellers who convert sizes for their international customers. Such online merchants can expect more orders.
If online shoppers see unfamiliar sizes, in turn, they’re likely to keep browsing. Buyers are in a good position: the market is competitive with many sellers to choose from.
You don’t want to be one of those merchants that are overlooked at the start. However, with today’s competition, any additional purchase barrier on your side can cost you thousands of lost orders.
Making the buyer look up sizes or use currency converters puts them one step away from the ‘buy now’ button.
Sizes in (international) ecommerce
Sizes are common for products from a number of ecommerce categories. Fashion (shoes, accessories or clothing) is probably the most obvious one. However, sizes are part of the specs for many other items, such as figurines and car parts.
For international online sellers it can get tricky. The main reason: different countries, but also manufacturers and individual sellers, can use various metric systems.
To enable foreign online buyers to choose the correct sizes, international conversion charts come to the rescue. Such charts indicate relations between sizes.
Once more for emphasis:
Wrong sizes equal higher return rates, lower seller ratings and less revenue. Unfortunately standard translation tools are unlikely to provide the ability to translate sizes.
This is what an ecommerce-optimized tool should provide. Take Webinterpret’s solution as an example. It translates sizes for marketplace merchants. Additionally, it offers customized size conversion for eBay sellers, which Google doesn’t support.
Webinterpret has over 700 default manufacturers’ charts and around 12,000 custom sellers’ charts. Size translation is configurable by individual merchants.
Furthermore, sellers can declare if they want to translate. Particular brands may have their own conversion charts. In such cases sellers can even provide their own translations.
To identify which chart to apply, we check the item’s context: a component name (to detect if size conversion is applicable), brand name, category, sites and seller ID.
Size conversion & product searchability in ecommerce
In international ecommerce size conversion affects the searchability aspect of marketplace listings.
Consider a situation when the buyer is searching for a particular type and size of shoes, e.g. Clarks size 8. In the search bar they can directly type ‘Clarks shoes UK 8’. The first search results likely to be displayed will be the listings with Clark shoes available in this particular size, i.e. ‘UK 8’.
However, the buyer searching on eBay FR will probably use the French size, e.g. “Chaussures Clarks 38′ (chaussures = shoes). Not surprisingly, all items not converted to the French size 38 will land at the bottom of the page results.
According to Noemie Colin, eBay Product Manager at Webinterpret:
Size conversion is an important aspect of the localization process for any ecommerce store. It’s to meet the buyer’s expectations, but also to increase the visibility and searchability of products.
Further, Noemie has a piece of advice for sellers creating their own conversion charts via the Webinterpret interface:
I recommend removing the country prefix, e.g. UK, FR. This will improve item visibility in eBay search results.
Some sellers may want to convert sizes, adding country prefixes, e.g. converting “UK 8” into “FR 38”. The version with the prefix, however, will be less searchable than “38” only. “38” will be less restrictive for search filters used on eBay.
Dimensions in (international) ecommerce
Dimensions are any numbers followed by units, e.g. kilograms, inches, centimeters, etc. Google doesn’t support dimension conversion at all.
If buyers don’t recognize the metric, they may not bother to look it up. Instead they will choose a listing containing familiar information.
We convert around 7% of eBay items containing dimensions per month. We’ve identified different patterns, for example Ø 350 x 25.4 mm, 500kg, 0.5m 1m 2m 3m 5m 7.5m 10m.
In some eBay categories there are restrictions, depending on the conversion and type of product. For example, we can convert inches into centimeters, but in the case of TVs or computer screens, inches will be kept for all sites (English-speaking and European).
Hassle-free translation & localization on eBay & other marketplaces
You may have a good product offer that will rock the interest of buyers from abroad. However, a few oversights, such as wrong or unconverted sizes or dimensions, can break your sales. This is not necessarily something that Google Translate and similar tools can help you with.
To ensure the correct translation of sizes and dimensions in your product specs, ecommerce-optimized technology can help you take care of international size charts so you grow your international sales on eBay and other ecommerce sites.
Webinterpret’s AI-based solution helps eBay & other marketplace sellers optimize translation & localization processes and costs. Our marketplace offer is constantly expanding so if you want to grow your online sales, feel free to contact our sales experts.
To find out how to translate and localize in a way that sells, download our FREE ebook!