While using item specifics fields isn’t exactly rare any longer amongst eBay sellers, putting serious time and consideration into item specifics fields still is.
It could, however, be to your advantage to put more time into your item specifics fields—or add some of your own—even if this seems at first glance to be a bit of a headache. Here’s why, and what you can do about it.
Item Specifics Are a Key Part of Search Placement and Discoverability
Item specifics cooperate with eBay’s "Best Match" search results to enable shoppers to “drill down” in their search results to find precisely the kinds of products that they’d like to buy. And contrary to what some old-timers may assume, shoppers do use this feature in search.
See all those search filtering options in the left sidebar? They rely on item specifics. No match—no sale.
If you’re haven't completed the item specifics fields that eBay is using in a particular shopper search, your item could be excluded from the shopper’s results—even if your product is precisely the one they’d have preferred to buy.
Just as importantly, your use of item specifics is generally thought to figure in to your basic search ranking, meaning that aside from whether shoppers will find your or not when they refine searches, your ranking may improve (or decrease) in relation to your use of item specifics when listing.
Item Specifics Present Details About Your Product Readably
Sure, you can present all of the bullet points and specs about your product in your item description, but there are several reasons to think twice before making this your policy:
- It’s harder to read. The item specifics data in eBay listings is already automatically formatted to look like a specifications sheet, and has been tested and demonstrated over years of use to be highly readable and understandable for shoppers.
Details might get “lost” in the noise. inkFrog's great visual templates are beautiful and compelling—which is great for driving sales. Fine-grained data about product particulars, however, really cry out to be listed in a simple, conspicuous, no-nonsense way—not embedded where they might be passed over or missed as shoppers are being wowed by images, illustrations, and colors.
Self-created product details in item descriptions are often harder to understand.
It’s less defensible in disputes. Item specifics are clear as day when presented to shoppers, providing rock-solid evidence of what your was promised, all in a format that eBay stands behind. Technical data in your own words, using your own formatting, somewhere or other in your description, is more fraught—and less likely to be useful or defensible in a dispute.
Specifications shown as the result of item specifics are easy to find, read, and understand.
How to Add or Enhance Item Specifics in Your Listings Using inkFrog
- Connect your listing to an eBay catalog product. Start by finding the eBay catalog entry for your product. In the first box on inkFrog’s “Create Listing” form, enter a product code—like a UPC or ISBN number—or a make and model. Find and select the product you’re actually selling from the list that appears.
Add item condition and other required, high-priority data. Scroll down to the top of the “Item Specifics” area and enter condition, make and model data, color data, or any other choices that are offered to you. Remember to describe your product accurately, in specific terms in each case.
Complete the required and high-importance items at the top of the section first.
Complete suggested item specifics fields. Scroll down to the collapsed item specifics fields. These are the “suggested” fields and can be used to provide additional information about your product and that eBay and shoppers may use in search refinement. Click fields to expand them, then select the option in each case that describes your product. Be sure to complete only fields that offer exact and correct options for your product. Don’t, for example, select “64GB” storage for your product if your inventory only offers 32GB—even if no “32GB” option is available. If no matching option is available, leave that item specifics field incomplete.
Click on suggested item condition items to expand them, then enter relevant details.
Add your own relevant item specifics if reasonable. Scroll to the bottom of the suggested fields list and use the “Add a custom detail” option to create an item specifics for any important product details not covered in suggested fields. You can turn this area to your advantage if you act astutely and with integrity. For example, if you offer a 12-month warranty but your competitors don't, you might add a field for “Seller Warranty Coverage” and enter “12 Months / 1 Year” there, so that shoppers see your warranty coverage “officially” represented in the listing.
Enter a barcode or a make and model, then select your product from the list.
Click "Add a custom detail" to enter your own item specifics.
Once you’ve completed the item specifics fields and added any of your own that are accurate and justified, complete the rest of the listing form just as you normally would.
Note that you can return to existing live listings and edit them to add item specifics as well, using the same steps outlined above. Changes that you make will be automatically sent to eBay and reflected in your live listings.
Take the Time to Add Item Specifics
Though item specifics fields can still seem like an afterthought to some sellers, they’re becoming more and more important on eBay, both in terms of your search placement and discoverability and in terms of shopper expectations.
Take the time to complete your item specifics data, to do it correctly, and to enhance this data with additional details that you think shoppers ought to know about your products. The likely result will be increased buyer satisfaction, fewer miscommunication-based transaction defects, and increased sales over the long term.
Posted on August 14, 2018
Item specifics aren't everyone's favorite thing to enter, but here are some good reasons to pay attention to them—and how to best make use of them in inkFrog.
inkFrog offers hundreds of designer listing templates to help you sell your products on eBay. These templates often have tons of space that you can use for photos.
For some sellers, all of this photo space feels like an immediate gold mine—they know just what to do with it. For other sellers, all of that space can feel bewildering. What should go there?
inkFrog templates can offer a lot of photo space.
Here are a few things you can do with the photo space in inkFrog templates that can boost your bottom line.
Cross-Promote Similar Products or Variations in Separate Listings
Making decisions about which product to buy is a part of the shopping process. As shoppers view listings, they are often trying to decide between several slightly different products or several variations on the same product.
The photo boxes in inkFrog templates are a great place to help shoppers to find and view other products you offer that they might like to buy, based on their interest in this product. If you offer other variations of the same product or other products that fill a similar need, feature them in your template.
Remember to link each photo to the relevant eBay item listing so that clicking or tapping actually takes shoppers there—and enables them to buy.
Cross-Promote Accessories and Add-Ons
For some kinds of products, related accessories are common, important, and often immediate follow-up purchases. In some cases, shoppers new to a product may not even realize that accessories are offered or necessary.
If you also offer accessories or add-ons for the product in a listing, feature the most commonly sold among them using the photo spaces in your template. Shoppers that know to buy accessories will appreciate the convenience of your links to them (and being able to buy from a single seller), while shoppers that don't know will appreciate the education that your listing provides.
Once again, remember to link the photos to the relevant listings for the accessories that you offer, to make it easy to find them.
Cross-Promote Seasonal Items
There’s always an upcoming shopping season to organize your marketing around, and the photo boxes in inkFrog templates offer a great way to “themify” your listings for particular events or seasons.
If you have other products that relate seasonally to the product in the listing—products for the same holiday, for example, or that are typically used at the same time of year—use the image boxes to promote those listings.
Use photo space to show winter goods in winter, Halloween goods in October, and so on.
Shoppers will appreciate the convenience of seeing many of your seasonal products in the same place, and having a collection of related seasonal images in your listings will also tend to make the listing more exciting and persuasive, showing enthusiasm for and awareness of the season.
Promote Your Store Categories
If you have a fairly sizable eBay store organized by category, you can use the image boxes on your listing templates to promote visits to particular category areas in your eBay store.
For each photo space, choose a photo that's representative of the entire inventory of goods that you sell in that category. Then, link to the URL for your store category.
Show photos of and link to the major categories in your eBay store.
Change the text under the image to match the name of your eBay store category or use the inkFrog editor to add some text under the image if there’s no space for text below each image already.
Show Additional Product Views
It may seem as though there’s no reason to add additional product views if you already have several product images at the top of your listing or in eBay’s image hosting area.
There are, however, other kinds of “product views” that can be useful to shoppers and effective in promotion. These fit well in the additional photo spaces in templates and can be added without overwhelming the the listing's primary product images. For example, views that show:
The product being used in common applications or situations
Manufacture materials, the interior of the product, or product disassembly
Key details scanned from product diagrams, manual pages, or other documentation
Instances of the product in stages of manufacture or in a manufacturing facility
The product paired with common accessories (if you sell these, see the section above on cross-promoting accessories; if you don’t sell accessories, remember to add a disclaimer saying that only the product is included)
You can use photo space to show many things that your shoppers might find useful.
All of these kinds of views can be added in such a way as to increase shoppers’ interest in your product and their knowledge of it, both of which lead in the end to increased sales.
These are a few of the ways that you can make use of the photo space available to you in inkFrog’s listing templates.
Remember, inkFrog templates exist for you to use and to customize, and they’ll end up as your item descriptions. Aside from eBay’s own rules, there are no particular rules about how you are (or aren’t) allowed to make use of them.
And thanks to the way in which editing your templates also updates your live listings automatically, it’s easy to try out different strategies over time or to update the ways in which you use the template photo space as your needs evolve.
With a little creativity, and a little time for customization, you can probably come up with uses that we haven’t even discussed here—and use them to increase your sales.
As an inkFrog user, you have access to great templates that offer endless customization—so get busy and make use of them!
Posted on August 14, 2018
There's a lot of photo space for you to use in inkFrog templates. Here are some ways to use it that can help to drive sales.
There's a kind of misguided conventional wisdom going around right now about item descriptions. Since eBay is shifting toward product-centered commerce, this thinking goes, and since item descriptions are now often an extra click away, they don't matter any longer.
This isn't true. Sure, there are now buyers that may purchase without ever seeing an item description, but now you also know that when buyers do click, they're very specifically looking for more product information before making their purchase.
Even on the new product-based commerce eBay, some shoppers will want more details.
If you want to make the sale, it's your job to give it to them.
Templates Don't Get You Off the Hook
inkFrog offers hundreds of beautiful designer listing templates for use on eBay, but don't imagine that choosing a great template for your listing performs the same function as a well-crafted item description.
Depending on what you put into your templates, they can tell buyers either far more or, at the other extreme, not much more than what they already know about your product.
For best results, you want "far more" to be the case for your listings.
Even visual listings using nice templates need to provide detailed information.
Crafting a Useful Item Description
It takes care, thought, and at least a little bit of elbow grease to craft item descriptions that will help you to turn shoppers into sales. Here's a general outline of what you should include:
Complete product identification details. This includes not just the make, model, and possibly size information that you put in your listing title, but part numbers, variation identifiers, version or revision information, or anything else that will help a shopper to identify exactly which product is being sold.
Complete condition information. Not just one word or one sentence here, but enough detail to make the condition of the product and the packaging in which it will arrive very clear.
Meta and other useful information. Product specifications, use cases, preliminary help or support information, or anything else what will help your shopper to make a decision about your product are useful here.
Caveats. Anything that shoppers are likely to misunderstand or make mistaken assumptions about in your listing also belong here.
Summary of terms. Even though your shipping and returns terms are spelled out elsewhere in your listing, forcing shoppers to click away to see them makes your listing harder to use. If your terms are favorable compared to other sellers, you also want to foreground them rather than hide them in other parts of your listing.
The challenge is to include some or all of this information in such a way as to make it accessible, readable, and not overwhelming.
Let's take a look at two examples drawn from very different eBay categories. Here are the products:
Used Tamron 28-105mm f/4-5.6 zoom lens for Nikon mount cameras
New Enerwear men's trail socks, six pack
Let's tackle the lens first. Compare these instances of item description text, both for the same product:
Used Tamron 28-105 lens f/4-5.6. For Nikon mount. Great for portraits or family action shots. Lens is in good condition and takes good photos, all rings and mechanics work. No scratches or haze on glass. Rubber grips are in good condition, not worn or stretched. Uses 62mm filters, 2.8" when mounted and 4" when fully extended. With caps and hood. 100% working, buy today!
Used Tamron 28-105mm zoom lens for Nikon mount cameras. Great for portraits or family action shots!
Condition and Accessories
Shipping and Returns
Buy with confidence!
These two descriptions actually present much of the same information—but one of them is far easier to read. The description on the right actually includes several additional points, but adding these to the description on the left would make it even less readable.
The readability of the description on the left can be improved by making it shorter, but then critical information would have to be excluded. The takeaway? Formatting matters—and affects not just how clear a description is, but how much information you can reasonably include.
So that it's clear that the same concerns apply to new products, and to products in other categories, let's look at the other product we mentioned:
Enerwear 6-pack men's merino blended wool trail socks. Army green. Blister-free. Fits US men's sizes 10-13. Full cushion support, reinforced heel and toe. Great in cold weather conditions or for hiking, skiing, camping, or work conditions.
Enerwear men's blended wool trail socks, 6-pack—great for outdoor activities of all kinds!
Shipping and Returns
Once again, we can see the same balancing act on the left—include more information and the description becomes difficult to read. Include less information and it's still difficult to read, plus shoppers can't find the information that they need to make their decision.
The description on the right includes detailed product information, application information, and positive marketing copy—but isn't overwhelming.
The Basic Parts of a Good eBay Description
Based on these two examples, let's recap in even simpler, more basic terms what a good eBay item description contains:
Includes fairly comprehensive details, specifications, and condition information
Includes information about use or product application
Uses basic formatting like bold text and bullet lists to organize information
Is concise, readable, and well-organized
Whether you use visual listing templates or not, if you’re able to cover these points as you create your item descriptions, buyers that click on your description link will find the information they’re looking for.
As a result, they'll be more inclined to buy and more clearly informed about the products you’re selling—as well as the terms under which you’re selling them. The result? More sales and fewer headaches for you,
If you're new to selling on eBay, you're probably excited to get started and to scale. The last thing that you want to deal with as you ascend to new heights is an interruption in your ability to sell.
With that in mind, keep this list in mind. These eight things can lead eBay to either restrict your selling or to suspend you outright—so as you grow, do your utmost to avoid them.
Restrictions and suspensions can halt your growth in its tracks—so learn what to avoid.
Failing to deliver. Your listings are a promise—to deliver a particular item, in a particular condition, within a particular time frame. That's the selling business, after all. Hopefully it goes without saying, but if you fail deliver repeatedly on this fundamental responsibility, your selling will be restricted.
Having problem transactions. eBay can see most of the problems that occur in your transactions—negative feedback, late shipments, late deliveries, refund or exchange requests, and of course complaints to eBay customer service. Accumulate a few of these and your selling will be restricted.
Keep tabs on your seller performance level. If you see it falling, redouble your efforts.
Selling outside of eBay. Sales on eBay are how eBay makes money. That's why it's against the rules to offer an eBay shopper a sale outside of eBay—even if the shopper is the one that makes the request. Do this and your selling will be restricted.
Sharing contact information with shoppers. You're only allowed to to communicate with shoppers using the eBay message system, and you're not allowed to offer them other ways to communicate with you. If you share other contact information—phone numbers, sales floor addresses, email addresses, or non-eBay websites—anywhere on eBay at all—it will be detected and your selling will be restricted.
Only contact through the eBay message system, either via eBay or inkFrog.
Intellectual property theft. Profiting from others' ideas or intellectual property is forbidden on eBay. This means that you can't use another seller's photographs or item descriptions. It also means that you can't offer knock-off goods that are clones (or fakes) of legitimate products. Do any of these things and your selling will be restricted.
Listing banned items or committing a crime. There are laws about items that can't be freely bought or sold, and eBay rules on banned and restricted items that add further to this list. There are also laws that prevent you from saying certain things to other people—threats and harassment are good examples. Violate the law or any of eBay's product or communication safety policies and your selling will be restricted.
Study eBay's banned and restricted items policy for your niche, then abide by the rules.
Listing inventory that's new for you in large volumes. eBay knows, more or less, what you sell. If you sell a thousand pairs of socks and mittens , then suddenly list hundreds of thousands of dollars in diamonds, iPhones, or other high-fraud products for the first time, without a gradual transition, eBay may assume that your account has been compromised by fraudsters, and may restrict your selling.
Failing to pay eBay. When you sell on eBay, you incur fees, which are then billed to you. Fail to pay your fees in a timely manner and your selling will be restricted.
Accidental failure to pay eBay fees is a common reason for temporary suspensions.
The list above isn't comprehensive, but it gets us a lot of the way there. A ten-second summary version runs something like this. On eBay, if you want to continue to sell and grow, don't:
Fail to deliver
Fail to satisfy customers on the first go
Trade outside of eBay
Give shoppers ways to reach you outside of eBay
Steal images, listings, or ideas
Sell fakes or knock-offs
Break eBay rules
Break the law
Give the impression that your account's been hacked
Fail to pay your selling fees
It's not uncommon for new sellers to dislike one or several of these rules, but eBay's effectiveness as a marketplace (and sellers' ability to profit by selling on eBay) is dependent on trust. Everyone benefits so long as buyers and sellers alike trust the eBay marketplace.
All of the above practices put trust at risk, so eBay restricts sales or suspends sellers entirely when they occur. So even if you find some of these rules draconian, find ways to sell on eBay without breaking them. Millions of sellers already have!
How to Reverse a Restriction or Suspension
If you didn't find this list soon enough, you may find yourself on the wrong end of selling restrictions or a suspension. If your restriction results from a failure to pay fees, then the solution is easy—log into your seller account, ensure that your payment method is up to date, and pay your fees.
In other cases, things get more complicated. How do you go about reversing another type of restriction?
The simple answer here is that you'll need to contact eBay, come to understand what you did wrong, request reinstatement or the removal of restrictions, and follow the steps you're given by eBay to bring your account back into good standing. Start at eBay's holds, restrictions, and suspensions page and read the information there.
Then, scroll to the bottom of the page and use the contact options to reach out to eBay and ask for a reversal.
Visit the end of the holds, restrictions, and suspensions page for contact options.
You may be asked to provide various forms of identification, to sign documents, or to take other steps that eBay feels are necessary to ensure that you are who you say you are, that eBay knows who you are, and that you're an asset, rather than a liability, to eBay and to eBay shoppers.
The more complicated answer adds to this two caveats:
There are no guarantees. Your selling privileges are entirely up to eBay—and there is no requirement that they reinstate sellers following a restriction or suspension. For this reason, it's best to be humble and helpful as you try to go about restoring your selling privileges.
Registering a new account is a bad idea. eBay is surprisingly good at identifying sellers that register new accounts. Remember, they have tons of data on you—email, mailing, and IP addresses, cookies and browser identification, phone numbers, payment methods, product lines, listing content, and more. Get caught re-registering after a restriction or suspension and you're unlikely to ever be reinstated.
For these reasons, at the end of the day, it's best to follow the process that eBay provides to you, even if it seems frustrating or slow.
Even better, go over the list of don't-dos above and take them to heart before the worst happens—then work hard to ensure that you're never restricted or suspended in the first place!
Posted on July 30, 2018
If you're new to eBay, study this list of practices to avoid—so that you can keep growing and selling without interruption.
Many sellers come to inkFrog from Shopify—or another web store platform—with the goal of adding eBay quickly and easily as a sales channel.
inkFrog makes this both possible and painless, but at the same time, if you want to do well on eBay over the long term, you should take time to understand the best practices that lead to long-term eBay success. Getting your listings live is one thing—making and continuing to make sales on eBay is another.
Here are some of the most important eBay best practices that may not be obvious to sellers new to marketplaces. Keep these in mind to maximize your long-term eBay sales prospects.
Offer Free Shipping
Free shipping is now virtually standard on eBay. If you don't offer it, you won't make nearly as many sales in most categories.
Check that free shipping box in inkFrog if you want the best sales outcome.
eBay foregrounds free shipping prominently in search results, so that buyers can easily identify and click on listings from sellers that offer it.
Buyers can easily filter their search results to include only items offering free shipping using a prominent check box on search results pages.
Free shipping is widely acknowledged to be a factor in calculating search rankings, with sellers that offer it tending to appear nearer the top of results.
Put these facts together and you can begin to see why free shipping is often the price of entry when it comes to selling successfully on eBay. Figure out how to work it into your margins if possible, to avoid having to admit shoppers (and eBay) that you charge extra for shipping.
Offer 30-Day Free Returns
In recent quarters eBay has been pursuing parity with Amazon's returns experience. As a result, 30-day returns are now the eBay default, and the standard that eBay encourages sellers to meet.
Sellers can still opt for a “no returns” policy, or in a few categories for 14-day returns. Sellers also choose who pays for return shipping. But to be called out in search results and enjoy the best ranking, 30-day free returns (seller pays shipping) are the way to go.
eBay's standard recommendation is 30-day free returns for all products.
Keep in mind that whatever your official policy, all bets are off if a shopper actually calls eBay—in the real world, eBay may at its discretion issue a return label or refund on your behalf, regardless of your stated returns policy.
For this reason, you may as well work 30-day free returns into your numbers and offer them. That way, at least you'll benefit from the search rank and conversion boost that comes from advertising service at this level.
Use Detailed Listing Titles
There are many factors that play into eBay search rankings, but the most basic of these are your listing titles. Want to be seen by shoppers? Then your listing titles must include the terms they're searching for—and this means more relevant keywords and more detail.
Take "Large Leather Backpack" from your website page and turn it into "Top-Grain Leather Backpack Large Blue Rucksack for Back to School Camping Hiking" if you want to maximize your sales. No, it doesn't roll off the tongue, but it's a more likely starting point for a high-performing eBay listing.
Effective eBay marketplace titles might not be as pretty as the ones on your website.
That said, keep in mind that eBay's search ranking also considers click-through rate. If you appear often in search results but you're rarely clicked on or make a sale, you'll fall way back in the rankings—so monitor the performance of your listings and optimize regularly to ensure that they perform well for you.
In other words, make the most detailed, informative titles that you can—then monitor them and adjust as necessary to ensure that the keywords you've chosen are relevant, and are leading to clicks and sales.
Add Item Specifics
eBay's search engine is thought to privilege listings with completed item specifics fields, and eBay shoppers are encouraged to filter their search results using on-page criteria that map directly to these fields.
For these reasons, item specifics aid you as a seller in two ways:
They boost your initial search ranking, increasing the likelihood that your listings will come up sooner, rather than later, as shoppers shop.
They ensure that you're not excluded as shoppers drill down through millions of eBay listings to just those that they want. If a shopper checks the box saying that they want a tablet with a seven-inch screen, you want to be in the list of results that they see—not filtered out simply because you didn't complete the "Screen Size" field.
Use item specifics fields to make your products visible to shoppers who narrow their searches.
In short, accurately adding as many item specifics as you can improves not only your appearance of professionalism on eBay, but your ability to make sales as well.
On eBay, shoppers see your competitors' products every time they see yours, and there are millions of products on offer. In other words, you're not alone on eBay, and neither are your products.
When you earn a shopper click and get them to your listing, you want to hang onto them for as long as possible, rather than letting them click back and escape to another seller's products.
inkFrog's designer templates offer ways to get shoppers to your other products.
The best way to do this is to cross-promote heavily. Use the spaces for cross-listing in inkFrog's designer templates to link to other related products that you offer, to maximize chances that shoppers will eventually buy from you.
Pursue Great Feedback
On eBay, shoppers are free to publicly rate each of their experiences—including their shopping experience with you. eBay prominently displays your seller rating (a.k.a. "feedback" percentage and score) every time a shopper views your products. A shaky customer service week on eBay can immediately tank your sales.
Worse, poor feedback performance also reduces search visibility. Just two or three negative feedback ratings in a short period of time can lave shoppers less likely to buy and your listings less likely to ever be found.
With a feedback profile like this one, your margins can be a lot better.
In other words, you should be laser-focused on customer service and satisfaction on eBay. With top feedback scores, you'll have leeway to operate with higher margins than everyone else. Meanwhile, poor ones can decimate your sales even if you undercut every other seller on price.
So make sure that each of your eBay transactions is worth positive feedback—then proactively ask your shoppers for positive feedback in messages or in your fulfillment package.
eBay is a Huge Opportunity for Conscientious Sellers
If you're new to eBay, you've probably heard both the success stories and the lamentations—some sellers seem to find a gold mine on eBay, while others have struggled to make any progress at all.
In large part, what separates the winners from the losers on eBay is adherence to best practices—like the ones above—that mesh with eBay's marketplace experience and realities.
Find a way to incorporate these into your business model, adhere to them religiously, and your inkFrog-enabled eBay sales will grow to significantly enhance your bottom line.
Posted on July 19, 2018
Selling on eBay isn't quite like selling on your own website. inkFrog can help with the logistics, but you should keep these best practices in mind.
inkFrog enables Shopify sellers to quickly begin selling on eBay without having to find new hours in the day or new employees to manage an eBay store.
To make the most of eBay, however, consider making the eBay listings that inkFrog creates for you different from the Shopify listings they're based on. In particular, consider changing their title and price.
How eBay is Different, and Why it Matters
Your eBay listings target a different audience from the one reached by your Shopify store, and they do this on a shopping platform—specifically, a marketplace—that has its own unique characteristics.
eBay shoppers shop by keyword, and see competitors' products alongside yours.
On eBay your titles and prices are uniquely important because:
eBay is search-based. eBay shoppers usually make purchases by typing keywords for products into eBay's search box. Your eBay sales therefore depend on how well your titles include product-relevant keywords that shoppers search for. Most of the time, you'll do better if your eBay titles are longer, more specific, and more descriptive than your Shopify titles.
Competition levels on eBay are higher. Because eBay shoppers are searching on eBay by product, rather than browsing through your products alone, they're shown other offers alongside yours. For this reason, on eBay competitive pricing can be key to earning that first shopper click—the one that leads to your buy button, rather that someone else's.
So while it's certainly possible to use inkFrog to simply publish your Shopify listings to eBay as they are, it's usually worth the extra work to customize your titles and prices for eBay.
Enabling Listing Differences in Your Synchronization Settings
To customize your eBay listings in inkFrog, begin by carefully configuring the synchronization settings for your linked Shopify store.
Find sync settings at "Store Connector" → your store name → "Settings" in inkFrog.
By default, when you link a Shopify store your titles, descriptions, and prices are synchronized from Shopify to inkFrog (and thus, automatically, to eBay), but not vice-versa.
By default, your Shopify titles and prices will overwrite data in inkFrog when different.
If you leave these default settings in place, import your Shopify listings, and then customize them, your changes will quickly be overwritten as inkFrog updates the listings in your database from those in your Shopify store.
If you'd like to customize your eBay listing titles and prices to be different from those on your Shopify store, change your synchronization settings so that they look like this:
Disable title and price sync entirely to enable Shopify and inkFrog versions to differ.
With synchronization disabled for title and price, changes that you make to your eBay listing titles and prices will neither be overwritten by your Shopify store data, nor used to overwrite your Shopify store titles and prices.
Note that you can also configure synchronization for other parts of your listings—descriptions, inventory levels, out-of-stock situations, and more—as a part of your eBay strategy. Consider also looking at and configuring these other settings to suit your needs.
Editing your Titles and Prices in inkFrog
With your synchronization settings properly configured to enable your listings to differ, simply begin to edit your listings in inkFrog after import. Open the Listings area of your inkFrog account and focus first on what you believe to be your highest-value eBay listings.
Click the edit button (it looks like a pencil) to the far-right of a listing to open it. Once inside, you can add relevant keywords to your title:
- Shopify title: "The Banker - Our Cowhide Folio"
- Better eBay title: "Genuine Leather Full-Grain Cowhide Business Notebook Folio, A4 Size, Black"
Edit your listing titles and prices in inkFrog to change them on eBay.
After updating your title, do research on eBay to find current prices on offer for products like yours. Adjust your price, if your margins can tolerate it, to position yourself in the same ballpark as most of the sellers competing against you. For the biggest possible boost, match or even beat the lowest prices.
When you're done, click "Save" → "Save & revise listing" to save your changes and update your listing on eBay to reflect them.
Is It Worth the Investment?
For sellers with a large number of SKUs that rely both on Shopify and on eBay equally, it's often a better long-term strategy to find a middle ground between the title and pricing realities on Shopify and those on eBay.
Finding this middle ground, then using inkFrog to keep Shopify and eBay data precisely in sync can save a huge amount of time when there are a great many products and listings to manage.
If, however, Shopify is your primary place of business, yet you'd like your eBay sideline to perform better—or if you want to customize a few of your most important products for eBay without affecting your pages—it's worth the investment to modify your sync settings, then edit your eBay titles and prices in inkFrog to maximize your eBay sales.
Posted on July 13, 2018
For maximum sales, your Shopify and eBay listings should differ slightly. Here's why, what to change, and how to tweak inkFrog settings to enable it.
Many eBay-first or eBay-only sellers use inkFrog as a way to create, manage, and streamline the operation of their eBay stores—but if Shopify is your first or major sales channel, you'll use inkFrog in a slightly different way.
Rather than working inside inkFrog every day, as a Shopify seller you'll use inkFrog to ensure that the work you do in Shopify is reflected in your eBay store, and that orders placed on eBay can be fulfilled from within Shopify:
Use inkFrog as a painless way to get your Shopify products up for sale on eBay.
Products that you publish in Shopify can be imported into inkFrog, which will use them to generate eBay listings.
Sales that you make on Shopify are able to update your eBay inventory levels and vice-versa.
Orders from both can be processed and shipped from within Shopify.
In short, inkFrog connects an eBay seller account to your Shopify store in a way that makes eBay sales activity nearly transparent. As you sell, you'll continue to work primarily in Shopify, since inkFrog does not create or publish product listings on Shopify.
Instead, inkFrog creates eBay listings from your Shopify inventory, then keeps listings and orders on both platforms in sync according to your preferences.
Getting Your Products Online
When you add new products to your lineup, first publish them for sale on Shopify. Any products you offer for sale on Shopify can then be imported and listed on eBay using inkFrog:
In inkFrog, select "Store Connector" → your-store.myshopify.com.
Opt to import new products from your Shopify store.
Revise them as necessary to optimize them for eBay sales, then have inkFrog list them to eBay for you.
Remember as you do this to ensure that your synchronization settings enable differences to exist in the parts of your listings that you plan to customize.
Publish new products to Shopify first. Then, use inkFrog to manage them on eBay.
Once inkFrog creates eBay listings for you, your eBay listings and the Shopify products that you used to create them are connected inside inkFrog. Listing details, prices, inventory levels, and/or orders are automatically shared, if each of these kinds of synchronization is enabled, between your Shopify and eBay stores.
Note that if you're already selling on both eBay and Shopify, you can use inkFrog's import process instead to "map" existing eBay listings to your Shopify listings for the same products, so that this synchronization can begin. Before doing this, be sure to double-check your synchronization settings, to ensure that listings on one platform don't overwrite listings on the other unexpectedly.
Managing Day-to-Day Operations
Most sellers find that the following workflow makes it easy to manage their Shopify and eBay sales while using inkFrog:
Configure inkFrog to synchronize inventory levels and prices between the two platforms.
Configure inkFrog to synchronize any orders placed on eBay back to your Shopify account.
Then, process all orders, respond to all messages, and manage your day-to-day business operations for both platforms from within Shopify.
Sync inventory levels and orders back to Shopify, to manage your sales in one place.
The wealth of options enables a nearly "set it and forget it" eBay selling experience.
inkFrog Makes it Easy to Add eBay Sales to Your Shopify Business
Using the general workflow outlined above, you can add eBay as a new sales channel to your Shopify business quickly.
Continue to think of Shopify as the center of your business, and continue to publish new products and fulfill orders from within Shopify, using inkFrog to create and manage your eBay listings for you.
Listing data, inventory levels, and prices stay synchronized according to your preferences, and with eBay orders and messages accessible from within Shopify thanks to inkFrog, your existing fulfillment workflows don't have to change.
Are you a Shopify seller who's ready to start selling on eBay, too? Try inkFrog today!
Posted on July 13, 2018
Sell on Shopify and want to sell on eBay? Here's how inkFrog can get you up and running quickly, along with some big-picture best practices.
inkFrog provides you with powerful listing template tools that enable you to:
Customize information-rich designer templates for use in your eBay listings
Accumulate your own library of customized designer templates over time
Automatically update all of your live listings just by editing the templates that they use
inkFrog offers you hundreds of designer templates and the ability to customize them.
Policy, Brand, and Other Updates
There are some obvious uses for the ability to easily leverage and edit designer listing templates, and to apply those updates across many live listings.
inkFrog tools make it easy to comply with rapid-fire changes to eBay's listing policies. inkFrog users can simply edit one or a handful of templates, then apply them across hundreds or thousands of live listings, rather than having to edit every listing by hand.
Using inkFrog templates and the closely related idea of inkFrog profiles also makes it far easier for you to create all of those listings in the first place. Outline the important details and designs once, then use these as your automatic starting points for every new listing.
But that's not all. Here are some other benefits enabled by inkFrog templates that will propel you to the top of your niche.
Better "Hard" Promotion
Using inkFrog templates, you can quickly design and roll out listings that put great promotional offers or timely material front and center for your shoppers. With templates, you can do this quickly; it's no longer a massive effort to add a banner, a badge, or the latest customer testimonial.
Would you like to have a sale? Offer a bundle deal? Have a new product, policy, or accolade that could—if the buying public saw it—enhance your ability to make sales?
Just roll out a new template variation to any selection of your listings with a single click—and then roll it back again (or replace it with something new) whenever the time is right.
With inkFrog, deploy promotional content across hundreds or thousands of listings in minutes.
Better "Soft" Promotion
Brick-and-mortar stores decorate seasonally and for holidays because festive surroundings reinforce shopper motivations and interest. Want to do the same on eBay?
With inkFrog it only takes minutes to update your entire library of listings with a particular a seasonal or holiday look, and it's equally easy to revert once a season or holiday has passed.
eBay sellers have traditionally done less of this kind of promotion because it's a lot of work to "decorate the store for the season" when the store consists of dozens and dozens of listings. Adopt inkFrog and it suddenly becomes a sound—and easy—strategy to adopt.
Every seller wants to cross-promote their listings, and with inkFrog, you can do this effectively once again—even without the dedicated tools that eBay retired years ago and without using the kinds of "active content" that eBay banned in 2017.
Most of inkFrog's professionally-designed templates have ample, pre-configured space for cross promotion that you can use to direct shoppers to new, promoted, or related inventory. The "update many listings with one click" nature of inkFrog templates brings strong cross-promotion strategies into the realm of the possible again.
With inkFrog, you can once again assemble powerful, timely cross-promotion campaigns and put them into effect without worrying that the effort involved will outweigh the sales gains.
Leverage the benefits of effective cross-promotion again—no matter what you sell.
Policy, Brand, and Other Updates
inkFrog enables you to quickly update other aspects of your listings, no matter what they are:
Any combination of the above
This frees you to powerfully represent these kinds of initiatives in your listings, knowing that you can update your entire inventory rapidly and with minimal effort, whatever the reason.
Strategic Freedom and the Freedom to Execute
The takeaway? inkFrog offers you hundreds of professionally designed, completely customizable templates that can be rolled out to any number of eBay listings in moments.
For sellers like you, this means a new universe of capabilities. With inkFrog, you're free to build marketing and sales strategies that weren't previously practical for you—and to execute on them without the constraints that limit many other eBay sellers.
Sound good? Try inkFrog today!
Posted on July 06, 2018
inkFrog's designer templates make it easy to create and update your listings—and this opens up a world of possibilities for your eBay sales.
If you use inkFrog, yet you're still creating your listings one by one, it's time to learn about profiles.
inkFrog profiles enable you to list so quickly and easily that you'll never want to create listings one at a time again. If you haven't already done so, now is the time to put profiles to use. Here's how.
What Profiles Are For
Put simply, profiles are bundles of eBay listing form settings that you find yourself using over and over again as you list.
Profiles give you a way to save these repetitive settings. You spell them out as a bundle, give the bundle a name, and then inkFrog automatically fills out that part of the listing form for you whenever you ask it to.
Dozens of choices are made in creating an eBay listing. inkFrog profiles streamline this process.
There are five kinds of profiles in inkFrog—listing profiles, shipping profiles, return profiles, payment profiles, and master profiles that tie the others together.
Here's how they work and what to do with them.
In listing profiles, you create named bundles of settings that each outline:
A catalog entry, eBay category, and optional second category
A listing format (fixed price, auction, etc.)
An optional eBay Giving Works ID and donation percentage
An inventory or product location
An inkFrog listing template
Use profiles to bundle eBay listing form settings that you use over and over again.
In shipping profiles, you create named bundles of settings that each outline:
A type of shipping rate (flat, calculated, freight, etc.)
Eligibility for eBay's Global Shipping Program
Handling time for shipment
Eligible destinations or exclusions
One or multiple carrier services and rates
In return profiles, you create named bundles of settings that each outline:
Whether or not returns are accepted and the length of the returns period
How refunds for returns are issued and who pays for return shipping
Any restocking fees for returns
A detailed return policy explanation
In payment profiles, you create named bundles of settings that each outline:
Kind(s) of payments accepted
A PayPal payment address
Whether or not immediate payment is required
How and where to apply sales taxes
How to Begin and What to Do
Build a profile for each bundle of settings you repeatedly use as you list on eBay. Do this by visiting a profile area in your inkFrog sidebar, then clicking the "Create New... Profile" button.
Do you repeatedly create fixed-price listings in a particular category, with inventory in a particular location, using one custom inkFrog template? Click "Listing Profiles" → "Create New" to create a listing profile that spells these settings out.
Do you repeatedly create listings that direct payment to a particular PayPal address, requiring immediate payment? Click "Payment Profiles" → "Create New" to create a payment profile that spells these settings out.
And so on.
After you build listing profiles, shipping profiles, return profiles, and payment profiles that represent your most commonly repeated eBay listing form settings, you're ready to create some master profiles.
Each master profile may contain:
Product images and/or SKUs
Pricing, quantity, and cost information
A listing profile
A shipping profile
A returns profile
A payment profile
You can add to or modify these each time you use a master profile to create a new listing.
Notice that the listing, shipping, return, and payment profiles that you built now function like Lego blocks, enabling you to quickly build a master profile for each kind of product you carry.
Each master profile can contain frequently used text and images for a particular type of product(s), along with all of the eBay listing form details that you'd normally use to sell them.
It's easy to create new eBay listings from your master profiles.
Once you have a master profile for a product, creating new listings for it is really fast. Just:
Click the icon on the far right of the master profile you'd like to list.
Select "New" and make any last moment changes or customizations needed.
Select "Save" → "Save to library" (to create a new listing in your library) or "Save" → "Save to library & launch" (to create a new listing and post it live on eBay).
With your profiles in place, you'll be able to create and publish new eBay listings at a startlingly rapid clip, without irritatingly repetitive effort.
Make Changes More Easily
All of this is great and saves tons of time, but now for the best part.
The best part is that when you create listings using profiles, you can change every listing that relies on a particular profile just by changing that profile.
So, for example:
If you move your warehouse to a new ZIP code, edit your listing profile(s) to reflect your new ZIP code; all of the associated listings will automatically be updated.
If you switch to a new shipping carrier or service, edit your shipping profile(s) to reflect your new shipping policy; all of the associated listings will automatically be updated.
With profiles, you can update—not merely create—dozens and dozens of listings easily.
With profiles, you won't just create listings more quickly than ever before; you'll maintain them more rapidly and easily than ever before, too.
Sound good? Log into your inkFrog account and give profiles a try—or if you don't yet have inkFrog, try it today!
Posted on July 06, 2018
Still creating eBay listings one at a time? Uncertain about what inkFrog profiles do? See how to use inkFrog profiles—and why they'll save you tons of time.
Creating item listings on eBay isn't particularly difficult, especially if you make use of inkFrog's listing tools and hundreds of designer templates.
But as many sellers have discovered, getting an item listed isn't always the same thing as getting a listing seen. There are dozens or even hundreds of listings for every product on eBay, yet only one "first page" of search results.
Here's how to ensure that the listings that you create actually rank well in eBay search, and actually get clicked on once they're shown to shoppers.
Use eBay's Catalog and Item Specifics
Items that make use of eBay's catalog and that include many item specifics fields are far more likely to appear in shopper searches than those that don't—and this disparity will only increase as eBay's push toward product-centric shopping continues.
As you list a product, be sure to search for an eBay catalog match using an electronic product identifier like a UPC or ISBN code, or barring that, using simple keywords.
Don't skip the product catalog field as you create listings in inkFrog.
After finding and selecting a matching catalog entry, take the extra time to complete item specifics fields as well, which boost your search ranking and are also used to include items whenever shoppers narrow their searches on eBay.
Include Multiple High-Quality Photos
eBay's search engine analyzes about the photos that you use to represent your product—not just how many of them there are, but also how they present the product you're selling. eBay's guidance suggests that you should:
Include more than one or two photos
Represent your product from multiple angles
Ensure that your product fills a significant portion of the frame
Show your product against a clean, light background
Remove any additional clutter or other object(s) from the photo
Upload photos in very high resolution, thousands of pixels tall and wide
Do not overlay your image with other text or line art
eBay search likes bold, clean, uncluttered photos against a light background.
You can see what eBay is basically looking for—photos that look like professional product photography, not like smartphone snapshots in a cluttered office or intake area. Study the product photos on large retailers' websites, then try to match them for overall look, quality, and quantity.
Price Your Item Competitively
Price isn't the most significant factor in eBay's search ranking algorithm, but it is a factor, and the farther away from average prices you are, the less likely your item is to be promoted by eBay search.
Though guidance for eBay's product-centric pages isn't yet available, the presence of a prominent "lowest price" area on eBay's new product pages suggests that there will continue to be a significant benefit pricing lower than everyone else.
See these three boxes? They're prime real estate, if your price is right.
Put these two considerations together and you should realize that you should offer the lowest price when you can, price in the same ballpark as the competition the rest of the time, and when you can't offer the lowest price, make up the difference by really killing it with the other listing tactics discussed here.
Create Tight, Rich Title and Description Text that Uses Relevant Keywords
eBay's search system works hard to match shopper searches to relevant keywords while also being smart enough to distinguish between nice, human-friendly titles and noise that attempts to "game" the search system, so as you create titles and descriptions, think along the following lines:
Include a make, model, and product category ("Nikon D300 DSLR Camera") in every listing title
Include the most relevant other details (size, capacity, color, version, release year) as well
Use keyword phrases (in your title) and sentences (in your description) that match the ways that actual people would string these words and sentences together
Avoid "marketing" words and all-caps words ("NEW", "LOOK", "MUST-SEE", "FRESH") as possible penalty words
Don't use search terms or word soups like this. Not if you want to rank well in search.
As a good guideline for words to omit—if eBay has an entire separate listing form area or tool specifically dedicated to the information you're trying to convey—say, item condition, markdowns, shipping times, and so on—eBay's search algorithm is likely not to value those keywords in your title or description text, and may even penalize you for them.
Adopt eBay-Suggested Best Practices for Returns and Shipping
Each of the following is both recommended by eBay and also considered as a factor in eBay's search ranking system:
Shipping cost (free shipping is the eBay recommendation)
Handling times (same-day or one day are the eBay recommendations)
Shipping times (three days is the eBay recommendation)
Return policies (free 30-day returns is the eBay recommendation)
Restocking fees (no restocking fee is the eBay recommendation)
See all that bling below the top-ranked listing? It gets shoppers to click and buy.
The more of these best practices you're able to adopt, the higher your listings are likely to rank in eBay search. Of course it's not easy for most sellers to accommodate all of them, but if you can accommodate at least two or three of them (with free, rapid shipping likely being the most important), you'll give yourself a key boost.
Improve Your Seller Performance Levels
eBay has strongly suggested that all of the following are also considerations in search rankings:
Feedback score and feedback percentage
Detailed seller ratings
Response times to eBay disputes and messages
The number of transactions with problems (return requests, late deliveries, negative ratings, and so on)
Yes, this stuff still matters—including for your search ranking.
What this means is that your customer service orientation also figures in to your visibility on eBay. The better the overall service levels you provide—fulfilling orders on time, responding to queries, setting expectations so as to minimize returns, and earning positive feedback—the higher your search ranking is likely to be.
Don't Just Show Up in Results; Earn the Sale
This tip is the most subtle, but also one of the most important in your eBay search ranking. eBay has indicated that your click-through and sale percentages matter for your search ranking over time. That is to say that:
If your listing appears in search results and shoppers click on it, that's good for your ranking.
If your listing appears in search results but shoppers don't click on it, that's bad for your ranking.
If shoppers view your listing and make a purchase, that's good for your ranking.
If shoppers view your listing but don't make a purchase, that's bad for your ranking.
Listing tactics that may have worked a decade ago—like including as many keywords as humanly possible, creating many listings for the same product to crowd competitors out of search results, listing accessories in non-accessories categories, and so on—are now likely to actively lower your search ranking.
Irrelevant keywords or boring listings can harm your ranking—or get you hidden entirely.
To maintain a high ranking, your ideal goal is now to appear once in a shopper's results, to tweak your first image and title in such a way that shoppers always click when they see your listing, and to be so relevant to shopper searches and so compelling with your listings that shoppers who view your listings always purchase then and there.
Ranking Well is All About Maximizing Shopper Excitement and Sales
At the end of the day, all of the factors we've outlined here point to eBay's larger search strategy.
Remember that while eBay isn't in the business of helping you to make sales, they're certainly not "neutral" about making sales. They want to entice as many shoppers as possible to buy as many things as possible, and to do this, they're going to foreground the sellers and listings that are most likely to close the deal and satisfy the buyer.
If you're able to internalize this idea—that eBay's search system wants to draw shoppers in, ensure that they quickly and smoothly find what they want to buy, and deliver them an experience that brings them back again next time—you've got the basic mentality right.
If you can marry that shopper-centric attitude to the tactics outlined above, your listings will soon be ranking well on eBay.
Naturally, we think inkFrog is the easiest, best way to tackle these tactics and to create and manage your listings. So try inkFrog today!
Posted on July 06, 2018
Creating listings is easy with inkFrog. But to make sales, you've got to get your listings to appear in search. Here's how.
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