The bad news: Getting views will soon be even harder. More and more sellers will face low view counts as eBay rolls out its 2018 Spring Seller Update (source).
The good news: You can get your listings in front of more buyers if you follow these strategies.
Today you’ll learn:
- How to get more views on eBay using 6 powerful strategies.
- The ways the 2018 Spring Seller Update will change how buyers find your listings on eBay.
- What you can do to protect your business for years to come.
Wait a second…
Why will getting views on eBay be even harder?
eBay has always used a listing-based shopping model. Just like a newspaper’s classifieds, it doesn’t matter how many people put up the same thing for sale. Each of them gets their own listing.
Example: Imagine that 200 people are selling the same Mickey Mouse spoon-and-fork set. A buyer who searches for it will see 200 listings of cartoon-festooned silverware.
That gives you, as an eBay seller, a decent chance of having your listing seen. But eBay will soon switch over to a product-based shopping model.
What’s ‘Product-Based Shopping’?
Product-based shopping focuses on the product, not the seller. No matter how many sellers offer it, used or new, only one page will exist. Just look at Amazon to see how this works:
Soon eBay buyers too will see product pages that combine all listings of the same product. In most cases, eBay will feature just one to four listings above the fold. They will bury all but the very best sellers.
eBay began letting buyers try product-based shopping on October 9, 2017. You can see it yourself by using Group Similar Listings.
Group Similar Listings changes eBay’s listing-based shopping experience to a product-based one.
As you can see below, that squashes 2,683 listings into just 92 product pages!
There are 56 listings of this particular Roku streaming device. Product-based shopping makes it look like there is only one listing:
All other listings appear below the fold. They are, in fact, chopped liver:
When eBay finishes its updates, all buyers will use something like Group Similar Listings.
Listing-based shopping will disappear. You will have to fight hard for those few precious above-the-fold slots in order to get any views on eBay.
The two big strategies for getting more views on eBay are having:
- the absolute best listing
- the lowest price (which is not what you want!)
Use the following tips to make your listings the best they can be both before and after the update and get more eBay views:
How to get more views on eBay – 6 easy steps
1. Optimize your listings
As I’m writing this article in April 2018, almost any seller can get more views on their listings fast by using eBay SEO.
SEO stands for search engine optimization and refers to techniques for getting your webpage or listing to show up first in searches.
Almost any well-optimized listing has good odds of getting noticed right now.
The Spring Seller Update changes that.
In this eBay SEO blogpost, you’ll learn that matching your listing to the eBay catalogue will boost your rankings. But once eBay switches to product-based shopping, matching to the catalogue won’t just be smart. It will be required.
eBay will force some listings to match as early as May 2018. And as the catalogue takes over, it may make some aspects of SEO meaningless.
What won’t matter anymore?
Keywords will likely go the way of fax machines: not useless, but only important to a few businesses.
If other sellers offer the same product as you, it won’t matter if you rock at writing titles full of keywords. eBay will combine your listings with competitors’ under the item’s default title.
However, if you list something nobody else sells, then every detail of classic eBay SEO will still matter. That includes keywords.
So be sure to learn how keywords work if you’re listing a product that your company manufactures or a unique handmade item.
Learn more about how to use keywords and how to optimize your listings for eBay SEO:
What will still matter?
eBay SEO comes in two flavours:
- seller-specific SEO
- product-specific SEO
Seller-specific SEO boosts rankings for ALL your listings and will still matter after the update.
And one of the biggest parts of seller-specific SEO is customer service.
2. Put customer service first
Customer service affects your view count more than almost anything else on eBay. This infographic from ChannelReply shows how better service can get your listings in the spotlight:
If you can reply quickly and well to every buyer message, eBay will prioritize your listings and you will get more views. Improving your customer service is often the only change you need to make.
Will Customer Service Still Matter after the 2018 Spring Seller Update?
Absolutely! eBay says they will only feature above-standard sellers in product-based shopping. And eBay’s seller standards focus entirely on the customer experience.
If you provide fantastic customer service, you’ve won half the battle. You’ll get more eBay views both before and after the update goes through.
3. Offer eBay Guaranteed Delivery and free shipping
Product-based shopping isn’t the only way eBay is becoming more like Amazon. Just look at eBay Guaranteed Delivery. Just as Amazon Prime delivers in two days, Guaranteed Delivery promises delivery by a deadline (usually three days).
If you offer Guaranteed Delivery, eBay gives you benefits similar to those of Amazon’s FBA. You get:
- a lot more views
- protection against certain refund requests
- some of your customer service handled by eBay
eBay’s filter for Guaranteed Delivery listings allows buyers to hide all sellers who don’t offer it.
eBay has found that Guaranteed Delivery is the second most important thing to their buyers.*
Only one thing matters more: free shipping.
If you offer both Guaranteed Delivery and free shipping, you will provide the two things dearest to buyers’ hearts. You will show up in far more searches because they’ll filter you out less often.
This will let you compete with the best sellers on eBay. It’s also almost as good as Amazon Prime – and the buyer doesn’t have to pay for membership. That means you even improve your odds of selling to buyers who research on other websites.
*eBay recently removed this statement while updating their help pages. It was originally posted here. The info came from a 2015 customer survey.
4. Use awesome photos
You can show up at the top of every search.
But if you have bad photos, your competitors will get all the views!
Like most eBay sellers, you probably have room to improve your photography. But you might think that you don’t have the time, budget or talent to do any better.
That just isn’t true. You can take professional-looking photos on a small budget. Try the following:
- Use a tripod and a self-timed camera to take hands-free photos to avoid camera shake.
- Take and use high-resolution images.
- Use a clean background, ideally a lightbox or a smooth sheet of white muslin.
- If you can’t afford professional lighting, take photos outside or near clean windows on sunny days. Late morning and early afternoon offer the most even lighting.
Will photos still matter after the update?
On Amazon, most sellers don’t have to upload any images. It’s not yet clear whether that will be the case on eBay, though. In Group Similar Listings (the current version of product-based shopping), sellers use their own photos.
Takeaway: Expect photos to stay important in 2019 and beyond. Invest in high-quality images and you will get more views.
5. Be accurate and don’t cheat
Never try to game the system. Don’t:
- put your item in irrelevant categories
- use unrelated keywords
- try to dodge the eBay catalogue
You might show up in more searches, but if your item isn’t what the buyer wanted, he won’t click on it. That means no views for you.
Worse, eBay will punish you if they notice.
- remove your listings
- place limitations on your account
- even suspend you from using the site
Keeping descriptions accurate will protect your account and get you more high-quality views.
6. Price perfectly
Price always makes an enormous difference. With the arrival of product-based shopping, it will only become more important.
Knowing how to price on eBay will get you more views both before and after the update.
There are three ways price can get you more views:
- Listings with prices eBay considers competitive will rank higher in Best Match searches now.
After the update, they will have a better chance of being featured on product pages.
- Psychologically appealing prices get more clicks.
Two common strategies: use numbers that have fewer syllables when read out loud, and try to keep the digits on the left low.
- Having the lowest price will get you more views.
Before the update, buyers who search using the ‘lowest price’ filter will see your listings first. After, eBay will heavily feature your listing on the product page.
Warning: Competing for the lowest price can cause a price war, or ‘race to the bottom’. Everyone loses money if you and your competitors keep undercutting each other. Only aim for the lowest price as a last resort.
Bonus: What Other eBay Changes Will Affect My View Count?
eBay will do much more than just switch to product-based shopping. These 2018 Spring Seller Update changes may also affect your view count:
- eBay Guaranteed Delivery is now open to less experienced sellers
This could help you get more views if you didn’t qualify before, or make it harder if you already offer Guaranteed Delivery.
- Promoted Listings are gaining new homepage placement
This could make them a better way to get visitors to your listings.
- eBay will eliminate the 14-day returns option for most items in favour of 30- and 60-day return policies
If you offer 14-day returns now, you’ll have to upgrade or risk losing views for not accepting returns.
- You’ll have to offer free return shipping
on most listings to qualify for Top Rated Plus.
- eBay will remove negative and neutral feedback
more often to protect you from unfair buyers
- eBay Stores will see major changes in mandatory updates
These should bring in more traffic from search engines like Google and increase your view count if you have a Store.
Want to learn more about eBay changes that will affect your listings? See eBay Business Strategy 2018–2019: A Seller’s Survival Guide.
How else can I protect my business?
Even if you have the perfect strategy for getting more views on eBay, you should never keep all your eggs in one basket. The Spring Seller Update proves that ground-shaking changes can happen quickly.
Protect your business by branching out into other websites. Start selling on Amazon, your own online store, and perhaps other marketplaces like Etsy and Walmart. This is called multichannel ecommerce.
When you only sell in one place, changes like eBay’s can put your business at risk. Going multichannel means one site’s changes will never end your world.
The 2018 Spring Seller Update will make getting eBay buyers’ attention even harder.
But if you learn how to get more views on eBay now, you’ll set yourself up for success both today and in the future. Pay special attention to improving:
- your customer service
- and photography
Don’t let worries about changes stop you from improving your listings. Act today, and when other sellers get buried, you’ll keep getting more views.
What scares you the most about the eBay’s upcoming changes? Have your view counts already been impacted, for better or worse?
Let me know in the comments below!