Author: Jessica McDonald

eBay active content policy changes – June 2017

ebay active content policy changes

We have had eBay sellers contacting us, concerned that eBay active content policy changes in 2017, and their listings still contain active content.

We want to reassure sellers that their is no need to panic.

From spring, active elements will stop working, but listings will remain active and customers will still be able to purchase.

Active content changes come into full effect in June. So there is still time to organize an active content free design solution for your listings.

Frooition can create listing designs, complete with dynamic cross promotion features, completely active content free. For sellers who don’t have a Frooition design,  listing rescue is the fastest way to clear active content from listings.

How presentation affects value perception – and how to use it to increase your sales.

Burger with meat and French fries in serving basket on dark background

Don’t judge a book by its cover.
The perfect example of good advice none of us can take.

The burger above looks like it would cost more than the average fast food burger served in a polystyrene box. Being wrapped in brown paper and served on a chopping block, the basket for the fries, the slate table. It is all very artisnal looking. None of these elements affect the taste or quality of the burger itself, but they absolutely affect our perception of its value.

“There is no truth. There is only perception.” – Gustave Flaubert.

When you eat at a Mcdonald’s you are expecting food that is fast, but without any real care put into it. When you eat in the Gourmet burger company, you are expecting something prepared with thought and attention. The name of the restaurant tells you to expect that, the menu descriptions and presentation of the food would tell you to expect that, the presentation of the restaurant itself and the price would tell you that too. All of these elements are key to value perception. And they are exactly the same, no matter what you are selling.

A well presented brand is perceived as a
quality brand, a trust worthy brand.

 

Apple are a brand that capitalises on our love of aesthetics. Their adverts show you beautifully stylised images of products, but tell you very little about them. Good clear product photos are one of the best ways to instantly increase your sales.

The description of your product is the second most vital factor to its selling online. Try to include as much information as you can. Be honest, and focus on the benefits of the product. Zappos are great at describing products. The image below is one of the products on their site. You can see they have lots of good clear photos of the product, in all colours, so customers can feel confident that they know how it will look. The description is set out as a bullet point list and is very short on adjectives. Instead, they focus on stating each feature and its benefit. I have highlighted the benefits. You can see that the points that are not benefits are just specification facts.

Every adjective is an unsubstantiated claim that may spark skepticism.

Instead of saying “high quality leather lined footbed” they say “leather lined footbed moulds to your foot for ultimate comfort and support.” This is because vague statements like “high quality” are opinion based. When you describe something as high quality or beautiful, you are expressing your own opinion, rather than giving the customer information they can use to make their own opinions.


Zappos shoe description

No one trusts the salesman.

Customers now are more skeptical than ever before. And winning trust is key to not just sales, but building customer loyalty. You can see that at the top of the image, right under the product name is a star rating and a link to customer reviews for the product. That is because customer reviews are the most valuable kind of social proof, and will certainly influence sales. Zappos have done something clever at the bottom of the image too, using information collected from customer reviews to answer customers most common questions about fit. They do not need to tell you about the quality of the shoe, because their customers are doing it for them.

The fact that Zappos have formatted all this information so well, that they have professional product photos and a sleek looking website which is easy to navigate, tells you that they are a professional company and that you can trust them. Using the right hand side promo area to offer free shipping and make it clear how to contact them with any further questions shows that they value customer service, and this add value. People are far more likely to trust what they perceive to be an established, professional company. Through surveying our customers, we have found that eBay stores experience between a 10-30% uplift in sales after having a professional design installed.

The majority of online purchases now involve a mobile device. You could have professional images, focused descriptions and lots of glowing reviews, but if your site is not built to be mobile responsive, it will look awful to mobile customers. Poor presentation and navigation makes customers feel distrust, and even doubt the value of your product and service. Value perception is so effected by website presentation, that all Frooition designs are mobile compatible as standard. Making sure that every customer gets the best view of your store.

Look at how you are presenting your products. Could the photos and descriptions be any better? Does your website look professional and instill trust? Does your mobile site look as trustworthy as the desktop version?

Please comment if you have any further points, or you have implemented any of the changes covered.

eBay Shop Bot – Customers new online shopping BFF?

ebay robot

Facebook messenger had zero bots in February 2016. By November it had over 34,000.

We already use bots to get an uber, to book a flight or to check the weather. In China, selling through messaging apps is already massively successful, with brands answering customer questions through conversatons, minimizing the need for searching and return rates.

In the West, AI chat bots had a baptism of fire back in 2014 with Microsoft’s Tay. Designed to learn from other’s conversations and speech patterns on Twitter, online troublemakers managed to manipulate it into tweeting racist slurs and hate speech. Microsoft quickly removed the bot, but many criticized their lack of foresight, for not including content filters.

Since then, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have all been racing to build systems that not only recognize, but truly understand natural language. Whoever can put technology that understands natural conversation not only in your living room, but in your pocket too, can become the hub of everything you do online.

This fall, Microsoft released a paper claiming that its speech recognition has reached parity with humans. Though the research comes with caveats, it represents the current state of the art, at least among publicly available work.

Debuting today on Facebook messenger is eBay’s very own shop bot, designed to help customers find the perfect gifts for their loved ones.

eBay’s shop bot is powered by AI to help it better understand the context of a shopper’s needs, and it has machine learning capabilities that will be improved over time. Like a Furby. The more people use the bot, the better it will get.
One particularly interesting feature of this bot is that you can show it a picture of a product you like, and it will find you similar products from eBay’s massive inventory. I very briefly tested this feature, by finding a picture of a product I liked on Pinterest, and asking eBay shop bot to find me ones like it.

 

eBay shop bot screen shot

 

eBay shop bot screen shot

The bot asked questions to narrow down the search, and used good conversational language, but at times obviously completely lost the thread. Asking me if I would prefer unisex costumes or men’s t shirts. I have not a clue how it got to men’s t shirts from cat ears umbrella.
Going away from the shop bot, and instead just going into the eBay app and searching “cat ears umbrella” these were the first results:

eBay app screen shot

Immediately much closer. On this occasion, it was easier to just use the search on their app, but this app is not designed as an exact match product finder, but more a way to get suggestions on alternative ideas for gifts. And in that respect, it performs well.
This is only the first day of launch and it will certainly be interesting to see how the app develops and improves with use.

Fro sellers, This is certainly a positive development, as the shop bot will introduce new customers to products they may have never considered searching for. As the shopping bot develops, it should be able to anticipate your tastes and suggest not just one product you will love, but a whole range of items to compliment it. The sales potential is huge.
If you use the eBay shop bot, please tweet us and let us know how it worked for you @frooition.

 

How to set your eBay store to holiday mode

Set eBay store to holiday mode

The holiday season is upon us. A busy time for eBay. But once the rush has died down, and the last post has gone, many sellers set eBay store to holiday mode, and relax. If you are contemplating a little eBay down time this holiday season, here is how to switch holiday mode on;

1. Log in to eBay, scroll down slightly,and go to Manage my store on the left of the screen.

manage store

2. Go to Holiday settings in the left hand side bar.

Turn On (1)

3. Opt to turn on holiday settings.

Turn On (2)

4. If you want to put buy it now items on hold, click hide and block purchase.

5. Select display a return date and enter date in the box.

Note: When you set a return date, the default holiday message on the listings tells visitors that you will be away until the day before that. It may be useful to set it to the day after your actual expected return, to give you some time to settle back in.

6. Edit text in message to display on your store front.

7. Apply. You have now set eBay store to holiday mode.

8. Relax and enjoy some time away from eBay.

Once these settings are set, it can take several days for your listings to be hidden, and then several for them to appear again after holiday mode is switched off.

The active content design solution chosen by eBay.

eBay Active Content Compliant design

In business, proper planning and preparation is often the difference between success and failure. Future proofing your eBay business, avoiding penalties and getting the best ranking for your products requires you to follow eBay policies. Currently, that means having an eBay active content compliant design before June 2017.

As an eBay certified provider, we were informed of the planned changes to active content policy before they were announced to the public. We were bound by non disclosure until eBay made the announcement, but from the moment we knew about the planned changes, creating a solution to help sellers move through smoothly was our biggest priority.

Ecommerce moves fast. So as ecommerce specialists, we don’t procrastinate.

Ebay asked us to help them with a design for their global shipping supplies page.

eBay shipping supplies page. Designed by Frooition.

Since then we have provided eBay active content compliant design  for sellers of all sizes. So far, we have converted over 20 million live listings to being active content free. No listing downtime and no loss of sales history.

“I would recommend Frooition to anyone serious about eBay business.”

– Universal Gadgets

Frooition eBay active content compliant design is supported by our unique CMS, updating live listings and automatically syncing cross promotion bars to show related items.

Using our automated system rather than hard coding cross promotion gives customers active content compliant cross promotion that can  be updated in just a few clicks. No links to irrelevant items when stock changes, and no links to dead listings.

We are trusted by some of the biggest brands on eBay, and have seen clients grow from small sellers, to eBay giants. We are currently working with top sellers such as Linda’s stuff, Universal Gadgets and World of Rare Books to ensure that their designs are active content compliant. Our UK based, in house design and development team are bringing that same high functioning level of design to countless smaller sellers too, who we are pleased to be supporting on their journey to eBay success.

Our website has more information on our eBay active content services, as well as a contact form to have an eBay specialist call and talk you through your individual options.