“The time we put into [structured data] is a 100% worthwhile investment. We have definitely seen the results.” For seller Mary Wein of PhotoVideo4Less, structured data — information such as product identifiers and item specifics— is a vital part of any listing.
This data helps improve search visibility on and off eBay, including external search engines, merchandising and deal modules, and browse and product pages. It helps eBay put your product on the right pages so a buyer can find it more easily.
If a buyer comes to eBay to find a smartphone, for example, they can shop by features such as brand, color, storage size, and condition. If the shopper narrows their search to new rose gold iPhones with 32GB of storage, only phones that meet those specifications—as identified through structured data—will be shown to the buyer. As we explained in The Perfect Listing: How to Optimize Your Listings for More Sales, “A listing without product identification is the equivalent of an unlabeled brown box in a grocery store stockroom.”
In short, structured data tells eBay where to put your item so that it can be shown to more buyers.
When we talk about “structured data,” we’re specifically talking about:
We spoke to the team at PhotoVideo4Less to find out how structured data has improved their sales. The business, which has had a brick-and-mortar store in Brooklyn since 2004, has been a top camera seller on eBay for 12 years. Though the Brooklyn store does well on its own, owner David Englander says he started selling on eBay to introduce the business to even more customers. He continues to sell on eBay because of the new business it brings, and the support he receives from eBay. “eBay is different from other marketplaces because most other marketplaces are sellers themselves and they do things to their advantage. eBay is solely a marketplace, so we’re not competing with eBay.”
PhotoVideo4Less owner, David Englander, in the company’s Brooklyn shop
PhotoVideo4Less manually revised over 2300 listings in 2016 to make sure that all listings had product identifiers. That must have been a big project!
Joel Spitzer, Purchasing Manager: We divided up a list of all the listings to revise and did it manually. It took a while, but we worked through it and every week the list got smaller.
What benefits have you seen from doing it?
Joel: We got a better understanding of how buyers search and browse on eBay and now we can make sure that however a buyer shops on eBay—by model number or UPC or brand—we show up. We believe this has definitely helped our sales.
Mary Wein, Customer Service Manager: Our sales went up 5-10% after adding structured data to our listings.
Your main product offering is seller-created bundles for cameras and drones, so now you’re adding the bundle tag to all relevant listings. Why?
Joel: This is so important because if someone searches by bundles, we should show up. If we don’t have it tagged this way, we don’t show up. The way we did it wasn’t manual. We did it in a bulk update so it was an easier process.
Mary: Forty percent of our listings are bundles. We want our kits to show up 100% of the time under this search so we don’t lose potential sales. Also, if this will impact search keywords, it’ll help boost our sales.
What would you say to a seller who isn’t using structured data including bundles and lots, product identifiers, and multi-SKU product identifiers?
Mary: We believe that the time we put into this is a 100% worthwhile investment. We have definitely seen the results. The information is out there; you just need to take advantage of it and put it into your listings.
What kinds of changes did you need to make to your processes in order to incorporate this structured data into your listings?
Mary: We needed to integrate this with our third-party lister. Linking it to the eBay catalog makes it very easy for us to search and find an item in the eBay catalog and automatically link it before we list it. We also have a lister’s checklist to make sure that all the information is filled in. This step was added to the checklist to be more mindful of it and make sure we incorporate it when we list.
What benefits have you seen using structured data?
Mary: We have no doubt that it’s boosted our sales. We know that the search engines work with product identifiers when customers search for items, so this is definitely helping the items come up in results. It also helps us get more clarity on the products we sell. Every item gets an identity, so we know exactly what we’re selling and can categorize it properly.
David Englander, Owner: And, from a customer service perspective, the more information we give customers about the product, the smoother the transaction will be.
Finally, customer satisfaction seems to be a top priority for you. Do you have any tips you can share with other sellers as to how they can offer stellar customer service?
David: We really care for our customer. If you really care for the customer, you come up with new ways to make the customer feel better about the purchase. If you just do customer service for metrics, you fail. If you do it because you really care for the customer, it makes you come up with the right way to make your customer happy.
Thank you, PhotoVideo4Less team, for sharing your insights with us!
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