11 September eBay's Product Shopping Based Experience September 11, 2018By Seller Dynamics eBay eBay catalogue, PBSE 0 As eBay continue the long march to a catalogue based system the impact of that goal is becoming more and more obvious to eBay sellers. It’s a huge shift for eBay and it is an undoubtedly complicated goal to achieve. The overall aim is to improve the shopping experience for buyers. To give this a name eBay have come up with PBSE – or Product Based Shopping Experience. What that means in practical terms is that eBay is shifting to a similar listing and search mechanism to that which Amazon already has in place. Rather than be presented with hundreds of listings that match the search term entered, eBay buyers will find they are presented with the product and any product variants that exist in a much more concise set of results. Drilling down from there will allow the potential customer to find the actual listings(s) and to choose the seller they want to buy from. This opens up the possibility for eBay to present a Buy Box, or preferred listing spot. A big shift from where things are today. The down side of this change for sellers is that they must ensure that they provide enough information to eBay in order that eBay can associate their listing with the eBay catalogue item. That’s why item specifics such as Brand and Manufacturers Part Number (MPN) have become so important recently when listing an item. Seller Dynamics is configured to ensure that that vital data is passed up to eBay – giving eBay every opportunity to tie the listing to the catalogue item. The challenge for both eBay and for the eBay seller is that the eBay catalogue still requires population and the seller is expected to assist in the creation of those catalogue entries. So new items or items not in the catalogue require some work. For instance, listing an item on eBay with a Brand that eBay expects to have in its catalogue will result in eBay advising the seller to add it to the catalogue, or risk poor sales until someone else does that work. For those retailers that persevere, or who are diligent in adding MPN's, EAN's etc, good results look likely as eBay improve the shopping experience. The changes over the past year or so surrounding image size and active content have steadily made listings look more consistent. Nonetheless, the work involved in moving to a PBSE is likely to be unwelcome by some eBay sellers, especially if their categories or items are the first to be targeted as the new approach rolls out. Related Posts Alternatives for Turbolister Turbolister Is No Longer Available ( Where Does That Leave YOU? ) With the unfortunate demise of Turbolister, small sellers who wanted a simple to use listing tool but didn’t want to pay are left floundering. Still, the need for an eBay specific bulk listing tool hasn’t gone away, so why has this happened? Here’s our take on what to look out for and how you can overcome Turbolister’s disappearance. The main feature of Turbolister? It was a free selling tool - let’s face it. TL worked well for most small sellers. The problem was the software needed a massive overhaul. eBay wasn’t prepared to undertake this. Especially when you consider their highest revenue comes from business sellers. It did seem for a time that eBay might change their mind. The closure was scheduled for June, 2017. It was still working long past then. Turbolister was limited by it's simplicity and restrictions. Though that didn’t matter much if you only listed a small amount of items per month. If you’ve been using Turbolister, you’ll be familiar with the popular functions. Turbolister helped create listings offline - this is sorely missed! Why is this important ? Well, one function that was popular was the ability to create listings offline. That particular feature seemed one of their best - and most missed! It saved upload time from buffering, freezes and crashes into the bargain. This was much more convenient for users. The replacement ‘eBay Seller Hub’ doesn’t allow for offline listing. It hasn’t the capacity to store finished listings either, and doesn’t work as a desktop application. Seller Hub does have a monthly payment option which allows for more functionality. But is it fair to pay for the same features? From reviews we’ve read, it doesn’t hold a candle to Turbolister. Look for free Turbolister alternatives, and you soon realise how useful it was! The only option it seems, is to look for 3rd party listing software that is eBay specific. We decided to take a look at what’s out there for free - we won’t lie - we didn’t find much! 1) Alphalister This listing tool software seems to have been written by someone involved in dentistry in Philadelphia, USA? The free option offers around 450mb of storage but users are calling it ‘clunky’ and ‘slow’. It’s only free for up to 15 listings per month and there is no support. (The top package is $29.99 pm). You can’t import listings that you’ve saved either, so everything has to be inputted. This also means there’s no bulk listing features. 2) Channel Effect Written as an app, it’s again very limited but allows for 100 free listings or 100mb of storage. No support, no user guide, and you can’t preview the listing before it’s live. There’s no ability to create lists offline, so this could also prove troublesome. They too veil their ‘free’ package to promote their other plans which rise to $149.95pm for business use. We failed to find anything else of note. Aside from eBay’s own Seller Hub, there doesn’t seem to be anything out there at present. So where does that leave small business? After all, they want a reliable listing tool but shouldn’t have to pay through the nose for the privilege? A logical step is to determine cheap software alternatives. Determine what features are important to you. Is a desktop application important for you? Do you want to be able to work offline and load items in bulk? If you’re familiar with the ‘cloud’, it helps that the software works well with this. Think about your internet speed and how long online listing may take. This is important if all they offer is online listing. Consider the price for the amount of listings allowed within the software. Will you want the facility to save your listings for repeat business? If so, make sure the software tool will allow this. The ability to store sold descriptions and images is a great plus for any listing software. Consider this when weighing up your choices. Another helpful addition to have in inventory software is ready made sales templates. These are templates especially designed for the eBay platform. Think about time over profit. If possible for you, calculate your costs with each software you consider. Sometimes what appears to be more expensive is actually cheaper. Read reviews of the software tool you are looking to convert to. Public opinion goes a long way in helping you decide nowadays. Ensure that you know what support you get if you decide to convert to a new listing tool. Find out what form of supports are available, and if you pay extra for it. Get the company to do a demonstration with you based on your typical selling routine. See how intuitive the software is for you. Better still, get trained if they provide this and go with a free trial if offered. Remember, eBay is less an auction site and more a shopping platform nowadays. This is how their marketing strategy seems to have been heading for sometime now. Conclusion Consider what extra features paid software gives you. For a fixed price and no long term contracts, extra features may be worth the money for time saved and backup support given. You could find yourself selling even more as you can list more! Paid listing software offers greater selling opportunities. You could even decide to expand your business and who knows where that might lead? You could be on your way to becoming another eBay millionaire before you know it! Then the closure of Turbolister could turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Amazon Academy at Glasgow with Enterprise Nation Amazon Academy + Enterprise Nation The Amazon Academy, with more than a little help from Enterprise Nation, visited Glasgow recently (17/04/2018), so we headed along. It’s the second trip to the Central Belt for The Amazon Academy in two years. Their first foray north was around a year ago to Edinburgh. This year they shared their love with Glasgow instead. So what did we think? Engaging Well, the first thing I noticed was that it seemed a much more engaging event that the previous one. Maybe the venue (Glasgow’s SECC as opposed to Edinburgh’s EICC) helped, and maybe the much more obvious focus on Retailers helped as well, the technical AWS stream was dropped this year. Whatever, the difference was, it seemed a much more successful event, in my opinion. Doug Gurr gets the event going The day opened with the Amazon Country Manager, Doug Gurr, giving a very positive message about the emerging trend in Scotland related to online retail (and in particular Amazon of course). Doug gave a couple of case studies, and in ran through a potted history of Assai Records, one of the clients that use Seller Dynamics. With a strong online presence, big users of FBA, and record shops in Broughty Ferry & Edinburgh, Assai are an interesting case study. Assai (HTS) sell a number of lines, but have a great line in Vinyl Records. We got involved with them when they got frustrated with their then supplier of marketplace management software, and they’ve been with us since 2012. If you like your vinyl, you can find a regular Vinyl Release video – often very funny – on their Facebook page. The Assai Edinburgh Shop manager does a very passable imitation of Liam Gallacher in one of the video reviews. Clearly Doug was keen to encourage the audience, and was suitably complimentary about the audience’s entrepreneurship and business drive. As we chatted to the retailers throughout the day it was clear that all were looking for the next profitable thing to do in their business – and Amazon featured highly. Though it was also equally clear that many were hesitant about how to make the first step, or indeed wondering if taking the next step was going to be worthwhile. The Case Studies As the day progressed there was a good panel session where successful Amazon Sellers got a chance to explain how they were doing. Michael Corrigan from Trtl is always good to listen to, and does pop up a lot at this type of event, but Trtl’s simple yet brilliant scarf to help you sleep on a plane deserves the attention. They built their business by selling on Amazon USA – a great example of how Amazon can really create success stories. Also in good form was Karen Riddick from Second Nature, her honesty and candour was refreshing. Particularly interesting was her story of being relieved when she was able to send her stock to FBA. The reason? She could no longer see it, and because of that she no longer felt as anxious. Karen also recommended getting a Gym membership if you use FBA. When she stopped having to lug around boxes in her warehouse, she put on a couple of stones in weight. (Now no longer evident I hasten to add). Wearing his trade mark hat – A Panda – Chris Forbes from Cheeky Panda, explained about building his Bamboo based tissue business with Amazon. The audience started buying his stuff during the discussion – that’s pretty cool. It was an interesting session, hosted by the unflappable and articulate, Emma Jones, of Enterprise Nation. I think she may have done a few of these before. Emma did the MC thing throughout the day, and did well to keep the energy going in the room. Robots After the panel it was Amazon’s Gavin Morrison's turn, and he opted for the assistance of video… Videos of robots bringing the shelfing to the picker in an Amazon Fulfilment Centre helped to show how sophisticated Amazon’s fulfilment is. And a video of something called SCOT (can’t remember why) featured a cartoon bagpiper – if Gavin want’s a real bagpiper next time I’ll give my older brother a shout for them. If anyone was in any doubt that Amazon can fulfil orders better than anyone else, they were surely relieved of that doubt by the end of the 15 minute session from Gavin. The Hague Agreement There wasn’t a poor session during the day. Perhaps the session featuring the DIT, a Tax Expert, a Forex Specialist and an IP lawyer was a little dry – but even that was handled well, with audience participation. Emma insisting that a questioner should stand up so she could be identified as the Hague Agreement specialist in the audience, that was a good way to lighten up some dry (but important) subjects. The Afternoon Sessions Skipping past lunch (I had the fish pie if you are wondering) there were three or four smaller breakout sessions to attend. Going Global proved a popular draw, but I opted for the other three choices. Deal of The Day The Marketing Session pushed the benefit of Deal of The Day and Lightening Sales. There are some pretty heavy gating factors before a retailer can access those options – but it was interesting enough. Struck me as a little expensive for the lightening deals (I am Scottish of course), but undoubtedly a good way to establish early sales, or shift end of line items, if your pockets are deep enough. Prime The Amazon Prime Session was interesting, pushing the increase in sales you can expect if you adopt FBA. The session didn’t cover Seller Fulfilled Prime, which was a pity, given the increasing use. But you can’t have everything squeezed into 30 minutes. Amazon Business The B2B Session was the last one I attended before the after hour drinks. I’d liked to have heard how Handmade At Amazon was progressing – but I couldn’t be in two places at once and opted for the Amazon Business session hosted by Nikhil Amin, who persevered well despite his tickly throat. We’ve supported Amazon B2B, within Seller Dynamics, since it started in the UK, and I wanted to hear how things were going. And things on the Amazon B2B side seem to go well, though I sense not quite as fast as it did in the USA when they launched there a couple of years back. Amazon B2B has always struck me as a great option for almost every retailer on Amazon. Amazon Business is structured so that businesses who buy on it can get bulk discounts, credit terms and the all important VAT invoice. And with workflows and user login management it’s a great solution for businesses who want to buy online and control access. Retailers should take note and sign up on it, it’ll increase sales. The Wrap Up The after hour drinks allowed a few folks to have a chat and a beer before heading away. From the comments I heard it seemed to have been a good day. The only real negative comments surrounded not being able to get answers to specific questions from the Amazon folks on the various stands. Understandable I guess on both sides. All in all, a pretty fine event, with a good audience in attendance. Most of the audience perhaps still quite early in Amazon adoption, but a few who were further down the track. On a straw poll basis I reckon 15% were making a living on Amazon but were needing to grow, and 15% would never be able to sell on Amazon due to the product type. The remaining 70% were probably just needing a good push to get over the line and to actually realise what the folks at Trtl and others have found: Amazon can really get your business moving. Looking forward to next years already. Thanks to Enterprise Nation and the folks at Amazon for taking the time. How to manage eBay templates due to rule changes It is clear that eBay are steadily discouraging the use of eBay listing templates. The most recent announcement is their intent to stop eBay Shop Fronts. Active content and outgoing link removal from listings were the first big changes that signalled the move. And those changes came hard on the heels of image size guidelines being tightened up. It seems clear that eBay are steadily moving to a situation where they want the user experience to be as consistent as possible, regardless of who the seller may be. At the same time the eBay catalogue will no doubt get expanded and improved. It would appear that a move to a more Amazon style catalogue would be the end goal. Though that can't, and won't, happen overnight, if that is the intent. So what should eBay sellers do? The one thing that is essential, is to stay organised, and have good control of the raw copy and specification data for your listings. That means having your listing copy seperate from your listing html. By doing that it means that whatever eBay do with templates and html rules that you will still have the underlying data to fall back on. That's why you should be using listing software that keeps the html away from the copy, and only combines the two when the listing needs pushed onto eBay. If you only have the listings as they exist on eBay, then they will be full of html. When eBay introduce the next set of changes, whatever those changes may be, you'll not have the copy available to you as text. Instead you'll have a pile of html, with your precious copy buried inside it somewhere. To extract the copy from the html listing you'll need to parse the listing and discard the unwanted html, but without losing too much of the formatting information: such as carriage returns, and new paragraphs. Extracting copy can be troublesome. It's something we do for clients, and we've found that it can be a time consuming process. It all depends on the complexity of the underlying template, and any peculiar html that is in there. You have to be careful to avoid inadvertantly discarding important copy, in short: it's easy to throw the baby out with the bathwater. So remember: If you want to make yourself resilient to any new rules that kick in from eBay, with respect to listing html, the best thing to do is to ensure you've got your product and listing information stored and managed separately from the formatting html. Comment (0) Comments are closed.