How to Sell More on Ebay
Speaking to clients over the last 2 to 3 weeks it was clear a number had seen their eBay sales fall off a cliff. Products previous selling like hotcakes just weren’t achieving anything like normal sales.
When something like this happens you would normally suspect an algorithm change. Not many people realise eBay uses algorithms to rank search results mush like Google and not all adjustments to algorithms are announced formally. For many eBay users ‘Best Match’ is the key tool they use for searching for what they want, so sellers worry most about changes to components of the Best Match algorithm.
My research on behalf of clients experiencing depleted sales, confirmed eBay had made some adjustments to its Title algorithm. It’s now best practice to make Titles clearer and less stringed, much like Google in fact. I advised clients to make adjustments to Titles and sales recovered within 24 hours.
eBay algorithm changes are ongoing, much like the changes we see at Google. Just a couple of months ago it changed its ‘Best Match’ algorithm to reward seller best practice and ‘popularity’ at the expense of end time. In my view this is moving more towards a Google-like model where businesses are rewarded for pleasing visitors or in the case of eBay, improving buyer experience. Before the most recent changes to Titles there was a feeling the prior changes referred to above may reward professional / power sellers who generate more income for eBay, at the expense of occasional sellers. Good news for businesses.
Understanding eBay Rankings
If you’re selling on eBay it’s important to be conversant with how rankings work. In the case of the ‘Best Match’ algorithm you are rewarded for clarity and making the effort to provide comprehensive listings and sound business practices. You can get some feedback on why your ad was placed in a certain position by using its Listing Analytics Tool although not all data is revealed.
These are some of the most important ranking factors although the weightings will change from time to time.
Titles should be accurate, relevant and clear. Don’t use strings or stuff the Title with keywords to catch additional buyers. That’s old school and frowned upon.
List your product in the right format and categories. Use item specifics. Write clear descriptions.
Provide a good service to your customers and work hard to avoid negative feedback. Using photos and stating your terms clearly helps to avoid disappointed buyers.
Variation Style Listings
These are not supported for all categories but are popular in some Categories such as Clothing. Titles automatically include variations and listings for each product show how many of each type has sold. Both influence listing rank.
This is less important than it was.
Pricing and Postage
A sensible initial price is encouraged. After all, everyone wins if the item sells. Remember sellers are rated by customers on how reasonable their Post and Packaging charges are so eBay wants these to be fair.
Recent Sales and Conversion Rates
Recent sales are now incorporated into a Conversion model which factors sales and impressions together to determine the Conversion Rate. The higher the rate the higher the position in the results returned for a search.
Seller Performance and Ratings
You would expect these to be factored into the ‘Best Match’ algorithm and they are! Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs) are used to promote or demote listings.
The important thing to realise is that ultimately where your listing is positioned is determined by a combination of the factors listed above. This means it’s not just your listing which influences rank but also your business’s behaviour. Because eBay algorithm changes can have an impact on the performance of your listings so it’s important to keep up with changes.