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

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Verified Blogger
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

Rising Star

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:-(.

by 3923molly · Adventurer

eBay refuses to be defined 

"FLEA MARKET" of the internet.


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.