Item Specifics have always been important on eBay, but never more so than today. In some categories such as Clothes Shoes and Accessories they’re absolutely essential if you want your products to be found, but in truth your sales will be harmed if you don’t use them in all the categories that you list in.

The task has been made somewhat easier for certain products for which eBay have catalog data, but in other categories it’s up to you the seller to fill out Item Specifics.

So what exactly do Item Specifics do? Well you’ve probably noticed that whenever you search for an item on eBay you have the ability to narrow down your search using the left navigation bar. eBay call this navigation bar the “Product Finder”.

On top level eBay searches the Product Finder narrows a search by location, listing format and currently in the run up to Christmas the option to search for listings which offer express shipping. As you drill down into eBay sub categories to narrow your search eBay start to offer more options such as brand, colour, size and condition. Additional item specifics will then be category dependant for instance in clothing there will be more sizing options such as chest and waist measurement and for computers and laptops processor type and speed, memory, hard drive size etc.

For clothing items specifics are more important than ever, with the launch of the Fashion Hub all clothing without item specifics are excluded from search results. eBay direct buyers to purchase jeans by waist and leg length and if your items don’t have item specifics then they’ll be totally hidden.

Sadly there are still thousands of listings without item specifics. A search today for Mens Jeans returns over 66,000 items but one third of these – over 22,000 listings for jeans have no waist size item specific. If you’re one of the sellers who haven’t filled out the waist size item specific for a pair of jeans then theirs little chance a buyer will locate your item.

Getting Item Specifics right

It’s important to work with eBay when entering item specifics. You might think that completing each specific as accurately as possible will ensure that your item is found, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

To make certain that your items are found you need to use the item specifics that eBay show to buyers. The most obvious example of this is colour – eBay typically display a limited set of colours which currently include: aqua, beige, black, blue, bronze, brown, burgundy, clear, gold, green, grey, multi-coloured, orange, pink, purple, red, silver white and yellow.

When you enter the colour for your item you need to select on of these colours to ensure your item can be found. If you have an Ivory dress, or an oxblood pair of shoes it’s easy to think that that’s the colour you should use. What happens in reality is that if you type in “Ivory” or “Oxblood” as a colour then your item will be hidden in search. For colour in clothing there is a “Specific Colour” attribute that you can use so the correct method would be to list “White” as the colour and “Ivory” as exact colour.

The only safe way to ensure that you use the correct item specifics is to search on eBay for the item that you’re listing and check what attributes eBay are surfacing in search results. This produces a dilemma for sellers who rely on flat files to upload their listings or who routinely rely on information from manufacturers. The information needs to be processed to ensure you use the correct attributes.

Sadly you can’t even rely on eBay tools, for instance if you use TurboLister and click the “Get Suggestions” button it will return suggested attributes but these will currently be those that eBay use. Also if attributes are dymanic, as sellers start to use attribute values that aren’t shown as default to buyers eBay recognize that a large number of sellers are using a new attribute and will start to display the new values in search.

Although helpful if as for instance Nintendo have just released the DSI XL in new colours, but until these are surfaced in search result you’re reliant on buyers specifically looking for a product in the new colours. In this case it’s worth including the colour not only in item specifics but also in the product title. It’s also worth mentioning that item subtitles are a good place to add colour choices available, especially on products that you list using multi variation listings.

In summary items specifics are vitally important to ensure that your products are found on eBay, but if you’re entering data that eBay isn’t showing to buyers then it’s just as bad as if you didn’t enter any item specific attributes in the first place.


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