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The Perfect Listing: How to Optimize Your Listings for More Sales

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Last Edited 02:10:00 PM

One of the fastest paths to more sales is to optimize your listings. An optimized listing makes it easy for buyers to find your item, and it entices them to click, and—ultimately—to buy.


The secret to a perfect listing: As Senior Managers of B2C Platform and Programs Devin Payne and Chris van Wagoner explained in their eBay Open session “The Perfect Listing,” it starts with putting yourself in the buyer’s shoes.


Devin and Chris likened the buyer experience to shopping for groceries. Imagine eBay is a grocery store. How do you make sure your product is displayed on the right aisle and shelf? Once a customer heads to the aisle where your product is located, what will make them look at your product instead of the dozens of other similar products? And, once they have your product in their hand, what’s going to entice them to buy it? These three steps will help you optimize your listings for more traffic and increased sales.


Use structured data to help your items get found.


The first step in optimizing your listing is to help buyers find the products you’re listing, and the best way to do this is through structured data. Structured data helps eBay put your product in the right “aisle” so a buyer can find it more easily. For example, when a buyer comes to eBay and shops for a tv, they can browse the category by factors such as screen size and brand, check out product reviews, and search for items that are brand new, nearly new, or pre-owned. Once they choose, they’ll be taken to the “aisle”—the browse page—with those products.


But, if you don’t tell eBay what your item is, we don’t know where to put it. A listing without product identification is the equivalent of an unlabeled brown box in a grocery store stockroom. If you haven’t used structured data to tell eBay where your items belongs a buyer shopping for that item might not see it.


eBay makes it easy to add this data. When you upload an item with a product identifier, eBay auto populates a lot of specifics for you and makes item-specific recommendations that you can apply with one click.


Use quality photos and choose the right price to get more clicks.


Back in the eBay “grocery store,” you’ve gotten the buyer to your “aisle” and they’re looking at a wall of products, many of which look similar. How do you get them to click on your listing instead of the dozens or hundreds of others?


Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. Take a look at the pages your items will show up on and think about what would make you want to click on something. Look at the sellers around you. Do their items look more enticing than yours? Image is the number one thing that makes a buyer click or not, and a poor photo can make a buyer question how professional the transaction will be. Make sure your photos look as professional as possible. Use a white background, don’t use the flash, take photos from multiple angles without props, fill the frame, take high-resolution photos and edit your photo to sharpen and enhance.


Consider your price as well. Buyers are very price sensitive. Studies have shown that three-quarters of people will drive 5 to 10 minutes to save 5 to 10 dollars. Online, buyers don't have to drive across town, they just have to check another listing to compare. Use the pricing guidance tool in the Growth tab of the Seller Hub to see suggested prices and consider using Promotions Manager or strikethrough pricing to entice buyers with a deal.


Optimized titles also help. Longer titles (more than 75 characters) tend to receive more clicks, as do titles that include popular searched keywords related to that item. What doesn’t work: titles with acronyms, ALL CAPS, punctuation or asterisks, or spammy commands like “wow” or “look.”


Sweeten the deal to make the sale.


Structured data got the buyer to your “aisle.” Professional photos and the right title and price enticed them to look at your item. Now the buyer is deciding whether or not to put your product in their cart. It’s time to close the deal.


First, make sure you’re using structured fields to manage shipping price, returns, and handling times; it’s more difficult to manage references in multiple listings if your listings aren’t consistent and it’s important to make sure this info is accurate and up to date. You should also avoid any off-putting disclaimers (for example: I’m not responsible for any damage during shipping.) By highlighting that, you might lose the buyer.


Think about what you can offer to instill more confidence in your buyer, and assure them that this is the item they must have. Same-day handling is one feature that can build excitement and maintain good feelings in the buyer. Sixty-day returns can also entice buyers and increase their trust. Data has shown no significant increase in the number of returns from 30 days to 60, so if you already offer 30-day returns, consider increasing this to 60 days. Other ways to sweeten the deal for buyers include free shipping, eBay Guaranteed Delivery, and donating a portion of your sales to a good cause through eBay for Charity.


If your listing has beautiful photos and a great price, but you haven’t used product identifiers, buyers won’t make it to your listing. If you’ve used product identifiers and have great traffic, but your listing has issues, you won’t see sales. The bottom line: all three of these tactics have to work together to create the perfect listing.


For more, watch the eBay Open session “The Perfect Listing” with Senior Managers of B2C Platform and Programs Devin Payne and Chris van Wagoner.


by softersilk · Rockstar

WONDERFUL!  But please add the importance of making a listing MOBILE-optimized!  Sellers need to understand why they need to get rid of old types of templates.

Glad you addressed the issue of those nasty disclaimer-type comments.  Please write more about this.


 Excellent article, great advises. Thank you!!


Don't like the way you show what YOU, choose when searchers are looking for Items

(Best Match)

should not be

shown by your selection. should be random or 1st listed as in the beginning. 

This is not fair. why should anyone want to sell on E-Bay when you don't give their items a chance to be shown?

The old way was a lot better

You have put me out of business. 

I have been on E-bay for 10 years+. you were doing better the old way. everyone that 

I have talked to Does Not like the new E-Bay Way.

Why are you putting me out of Business????

I have sold the same way for 10+ years was doing good til, some smart person came along with their bright ideas. 

Are you trying to put the small ones out??

Anita Mcgrew


I'm in a Facebook Group called eBay Thrifters. There are over 74,400 members and growing. There are literally HUNDREDS of sellers on there who are complaining about the lack of sales. Not just a handful, but HUNDREDS. Something is going on where the small sellers are literally being ousted from eBay and many are talking about closing their stores. Some of them have been into eBay for 10+ years and rely on it as their primary source of income. Some pay their mortgage every month with it.


My question is... if we have done all of these things as you suggested - even things you have not suggested, such as mobile optimization, etc. then why are we not seeing any sales?  Last week, I had my first $0 Sunday ever. Sales have literally gone down the tubes ever since June. All of these new things eBay is doing is not helping the sellers, and many of the buyers are also frustrated and going elsewhere. There are so many websites to sell stuff, but people who are loyal to eBay and who have loved it for years, like me, are wondering WHY we are not getting any sales?  It cannot be completely linked to the hurricanes, because the drastic drop started about June. My numbers, like others, have been less than stellar. For example, last year I had 485 listings and $1485 sales for August. This year I have 712 listings and only $800-ish for August. This is a pattern that is growing increasingly scary and the sellers in these groups are all panicking.


Why is eBay changing everything to welcome only Big Business?  It seems like they are trying to be like Amazon but people don't want that... they liked the auctions and finding cool, vintage items that they couldn't get anywhere else. Now, the promoted listings and best matches and all the other stuff is just flooding the site with junk and people are leaving. PLEASE EBAY... go back to the way things were. I don't want to have to close my store. I have invested hundreds of hours of time and to have only $150 sales in a week (gross BEFORE shipping) is not even paying for my store fees.


I have done all of the things you said above in this article and even spent days (not hours but days) mobile optimizing my listings, weeding out the old ones, etc. and still I'm not hearing cha-chings. I speak on behalf of the 74,000 other people in my group when I say... sellers are frustrated. Something needs to be done as many of us are doing what we can on our end. Thank you for hopefully listening. You can go to the Facebook group and see for yourself, this is a SITE-WIDE pandemic and nearly all of the sellers are expressing the same anxiety and frustration.


As a member of eBay Thrifters, a FB group, the above post is right on the money and agree with 100% of the post. This FB site gives me a true reading on eBay's plight and the reaction of the thousands of members in this group,  Some even wondering if Amazon is going to buy eBay. Sales for me have dropped off the map, The worst summer in my 6 years here has just past, and unless eBay stops playing games with other peoples money, the upcoming holiday season will be many, many members last.Smiley Sad


I totally agree, My sales have hit rock bottom, its like we have to give our stuff away in order to make sales. This was a great place for me, I stayed loyal because traffic was good but now, Ebay has just taken the vendors that have made Ebay great and tossed them out with the dish water... Atleast now I know it just isn't me.

But now what? Anyone got any recommendations where to look?

down on sales in VAB

by scarletw68 · Pathfinder

I also agree that my sales have been low compared to how I was doing before. I have stuck with eBay for over 10 years, I have listened, learned, and complied and yet my sales are down. What gives eBay, do the small business owners not matter anymore since you can make more from the bigger sellers? Perhaps you should remember who gave you that backbone of your business. I do not belong to any thrifters club but I have seen a Huge difference!



by smoki11 · Adventurer

I must agree with everyone.  At first I thought it was just me.  I have reduced my prices so low, I am lucky I make my money back, besides paying e-bay fees & pay pal fees , this maybe the last few months I continue to sell on e-bay.

Study hard...


The ebay cassini algorithm is horrible. I have been on ebay for 18 years. and never had to deal with special tactics to sell something. As randalls3poodles above stated "some smart person came along with their bright ideas" There was nothing wrong with the way ebay functioned. The only problem I saw was not enough protection for sellers. Buyers constantly scamming people and ebay always sides with them. Ebay executives need to realize they are not AMAZON. They need to quit trying to compete with them. Quit allowing only certain listings to be shown because at the end of the day, when stuff does not sell, ebay does not make money. Buyers will always exist. They can just go to other platforms, but ebay is nothing without sellers. What would happen if all of a sudden in a perfect world everyone who lists products have identical listings? From the title, returns, guaranteed shipping, same price etc.... What do you do at that point? I understand that ebay wants customers to be satisfied, but you should hold individual sellers accountable for their actions not punish all of us. At the end of the day, most people type in a brand they want, then whatever it is, then go to the top and search lowest to highest with shipping. Eby should not prevent them from seeing every option available because ebay wants to hide listings. I'd be willing to bet that the people that make the decisions on ebay have never even listed anything or at least not enough to be someone who should make decisions. 


 Change comes in numbers...


 Ebay will continue to push and push the smaller business ebayers until they either pay for all of the extra marketing gimmicks that ebay has for sale or until they leave ebay...one by one with tail between the legs.  Ebay is getting our store subscription dollars whether we make a dime or not.  If each of the small business ebayers used only the free listings and postings that ebay allows...and did a "blackout month" by cancelling all subscriptions in an organized fashion and on a collectively agreed upon month, ebay would get an up close and personal view of what can happen when people are fed up and come together as a group to keep their subscription dollars in their pockets.  


It is difficult to do because so many of us have come to depend on the income; however, until we can find a way to make it happen as a group...and not individually...ebay will continue to push and we can't do anything about it:-(.


Hi - can someone either explain to me or point me in the direction of what one needs to do to make my listings mobile optimized? THANKS in advance.



eBay is simply no longer a reliable selling platform. 

by suebqb1 · Adventurer

i have been working one on one with customer support hoping they could help me get my sales back up. Back in the day i was a power seller. Now i am still in the toilet with doing everything they say. Sometimes only making a $1 or $2 after shipping and fees. My sales came up some only to fall back down again. there are months where i work for Ebay more than for myself. Right now i am on a leave due to medical issues and hope to get the doctors ok to start selling again in march i am hoping for since i missed valentines day due to being in the hospital. One nice thing they are doing for me after i explained my problem is they are not taking store fees till i am able to start selling again. i have gone down to just a little more than part time selling . i have added to my store items that i dont normally sale and those items are doing ok but i think changing my store name might help not sure cause i am grasping on straws to make a go of it. i have been selling for 9 years on Ebay. Never had a neutral or negative always 100% feed back. They have told me my pictures are great that i use identifiers i even do promoted selling which when i get close to my free amount  if i ever get to my free amount as a top rated seller i would stop the promotion cause i cant afford to loose more money. with all the changes in discounts i am making 10 1/4% less just in additional fees. im going to keep trying for another 2 years i have told myself but after that i will have to re-evaluate if i am staying or just do occasional post and pay monthly during oct-dec and then go back to the 50 free. i just dont know right now. i am going to try to hang in there. Hopefully Ebay will return to have the small seller be just as important as the big ones. Bottom line is if we dont make money they dont. so give us back our discounts. i understand charging for shipping because back in the day sellers where charging high shipping which Ebay didnt touch and sell the item for .99 so they were cheating Ebay back then . but the rest of this new stuff is for the birds. i have a feeling when we back up to the old days but fee the shipping so that doesnt happen give us back our discounts that everyone will be happy. Ebay might even going back to their roots that the sales will increase and they will go back to a good profit as well as the sellers.

by wallysox1 · Adventurer

I agree with all of you!  My sales also are down around not close to half of what I made last year, and last years was down a bit from the year before that. The items that I do manage to sell I barely cover my cost.  I am working towards shutting down / cancelling my store.   I may use the 50 free and have a few things listed that way.   I cannot afford to keep selling on Ebay.  They have gone out of their way to make things as difficult as possible for me and for other small sellers.  So, I have decided to give it up.  I am doing nothing but working for Ebay for free.  Not sure what I am going to do, but I have to face the fact that if I want to eat I have to do something else.  


Me too!  I’m in the same boat.  I closed my eBay store last summer in 2017 ....tried to keep about 60 listings going.  But after finishing my 2017 taxes, it is clear that sales are less than half from last year....through doing absolutely NOTHING wrong.  I’m also a top rated seller with items that are priced good and providing perfect service (ONE negative with thousands of positive feedback is not legit!).  After spending month after month researching eBay and reading hundreds of different posts from eBay sellers, I am personally convinced that eBay doesn’t want the small sellers.  It was said earlier on this thread that eBay makes money regardless if the seller sells anything or not. It  is clearly stated in the eBay agreement that eBay is not obligated to show items that we pay to have seen.   When you approved the eBay agreement by listing items, you agreed that you wouldn’t seek legal council or pursue a class action law suit against the corruption!   They’ve covered their a$$ so you have no recourse against them for stealing your money!  But, what eBay may not have considered,  is that the sellers are also buyers!  When I leave eBay (soon),,,,I won’t ever be back to buy.  When you consider the number of Sellers that feel this same way, its just a matter of time before the whole thing sinks.


Best match may not give buyers what they want. It seems to me, it is just a means for ebay to shove listings down that do not "conform" to ebays ideas of best practices. Let the buyer decide all on their own what comes up in any given search instead of pushing the larger sellers stores items ahead of all the smaller scale sellers. If you want conformity then demand it and change the selling rules so that all of the listings do conform to your ideas. I have been with ebay since the late 90's. I have trouble finding what I want to buy nowadays. It did not always seem so hard. ebay will have a hard time surviving if it does not go back to it's roots of good quality used merchandise, antiques and collectible items and stop trying to compete with big box stores and Amazon to sell brand new stuff. Lastly. ebay should help all sellers be succesful so they can also be. Eliminate Cassini and all the problems it has created. It is not working for the people trying hard to sell.

by bodybars · Adventurer


i have been selling Body Jewellery on eBay for over 12 years but the last 2 years I have seen my sales just plummet. I do promotions, discount and free postage but no matter what I do my sales have not bounced back. I have one really good day followed by 10 very poor days. I used to accept returns but customers were abusing the returns process and send items that had clearly been used. I cannot accept used items back for health and hygiene reason. 


eBay new policy of atomatically accepting returns made it impossible for me to keep accepting returns. This is not the problem though as my sales have been bad for quite some time now. I am 35% down on last year alone. Can anyone give me any ideas on how I can improve my chances of sales. Any help is much appreciated. Thanks




The explanation is simple:  There are at 50% more people selling on Ebay than a year or so ago. I left Amazon to try Ebay, and no difference; too many sellers.

by cammie-ysd · Adventurer

I agree with everyone about sales being off.  My sales have been cut in half.  I beleive that the  other marketplaces such as Wal-Mart marketplace have cut into our sales.   If you want to sell on that site you have to have over $100,000 in annual sales.  They totally cut out the small seller.   

We are fortunate to have ebay still up and running.  I appreciate ebay but, I would ask them to advertise none stop.  They need to market the heck out of Ebay.  We should see commericals everywhere.  Each time they do a marketing blitz/campaign my sales increase.  When they stop my sales drops again.  

Ebay PLEASE PLEASE Market and advertise more.  Amazon is winning but is expensive and the buyers return around 35% of the items. If you get a chance to speak to a Google Rep you will understand why we have to use UPC numbers and change the way we list. 

Google is the "Big Brother" of the search engine and if we do not comply we are not going to show up in a search on the web and eBay is going to loss a seller and eventually go broke.

Ebay is a blessing and I am thankful for ebay.


Excellent article thanks.  However, eBay customer service reps (CSR) have told me that I shoud "use less words in the title"  I'm a private seller and I have a book collection of 8k+ hardcovers, mostly firsts, Unread...  Sample Listing titltes I have been using is #1.   They recommended  #2


Your opnion(s) are welcome


1.   Retribution | Michael Grant | HCDJ | NEW | Unread | FIRST


2.  Retribution Michael Grant



by acquisator · Adventurer

The CSR gave you really, really bad advice. But you do need to take the | punctuation out of your title and not put New and First in all caps.


Awesomewriter2012 is spot on!  I am a relatively new seller of 1 1/2 years.  My sales used to be close to $1000 each month.  The next day after Black Friday, mt sales tanked!  Crickets.  Day and night difference.  I havent had 10 sales since then!  MY SALES ARE NOW DOWN 99%!  I sold one $15 item all month.  I have close to 200 items listed. I have called repeatedly and have been told the same thing...  edit your titles/listings!  Lower your prices! Ive edited and edited.  If I lower my prices any more Ill be paying them to take them.  Im convinced that my store is not being seen.  Period.  It wouldnt matter if I WAS paying them to take my stuff...if noone sees my items they cant be interested in them!  During Christmas, I had every listing Promoted.  I dont know what Im going to do expect downgrade to a free acct.

If anyone wants to protest, Im in.


Maybe I'm odd, but I actually prefer real photographs, on kitchen tables or otherwise, to stock images that don't represent what I'm purchasing. In the basketball example, the first photograph shows what I'll be purchasing. The others are useless for that purpose.


In the diecast and toy car collectibles, for item specifics, it always wants to autofill Character Family: Cars. However, that's specifically talking about characters from the Cars movies right? Or is it simply meaning its cars as in a vehicle?

by luizay · Adventurer

For Colletible and used dishes there is no product identifier (the bar code number if Iundestand right) so without it my item will not be showing on the search engines like bing and google so i will not have traffic on my store? How about the thing I hear so many time about the flip (not quite sure if the name is correct) that the more the buyer pays to e-bay the more their product is showing,(like the more expenseve subscription I was looking into my sales and most of my sales are yearly in the morning and late in the night when the traffic is low and ussually on the days between 7-14 before pay day and 23-27 before the other pay day whitch is consider another low traffic days has anyone hear about it and is it true?

by brendda66 · Pathfinder

I agree with pretty much everyone. I started selling on eBay last year and I made a lot of money. This year, it’s like What’s Up???  I haven’t made much at all. The new tactics aren’t good. I like the old way better. Also bring back the valet sellers. They were a big help with stuff that I just could not sell even though it meant they got a percentage of the money.