It's time once again for those words sellers have come to dread - eBay will be requiring new item specifics to be entered for items in multiple categories, effective February 22, 2023.
This mandate will impact sellers in the Collectible Figures & Bobble Heads; Motorcycle, Scooter, ATV/UTV Parts & Accessories; and Candles & Home Fragrance, Home Décor, Pillows, Furniture, Window Treatments & Hardware categories.
Details 👇with links to download the full list of impacts categories and required specifics from eBay.
Item specifics play an important role in increasing the visibility of your listings on both eBay and on external search engines. The more data you give us about what you’re selling, the better we can match your item to what a buyer is looking for, either through query search, left-hand navigation filters, or category merchandising pages.
New item specifics in the below categories will be required on February 22, 2023 for all new and revised listings.
Collectibles (Figurines): Download details
Parts & Accessories (Motorcycle, Scooter, and UTV/ATV): Download details
Home & Garden (Candles & Home Fragrance, Home Décor, Pillows, Furniture, Window Treatments & Hardware): Download details
You can add these item specifics to your listings now, and we encourage you to update your listings as soon as possible.
Why do sellers cringe at every new item specifics announcement?
For one thing, many sellers believe the change to using item specifics for navigation and narrowing search results instead of the previous sub-category structure has had disastrous effects on the buyer experience.
Other sellers see the constant nagging to fill in ever more item specifics as a waste of time and something that gets in the way of listing efficiency.
There have also been many cases where the item specifics eBay automatically fills in are incorrect, creating even more work for the seller to delete the incorrect information and fill in correct information.
The problem I have with the item specifics is that I get everything done when I list, then maybe a few months later, ebay changes stuff with the item specifics and I will have to go in and change things one listing at a time... something I can't do in a timely manner.
Like, at some point, they added the "Release Title" field. Don't know when that happened, but I still haven't had time to change ALL my listings. For some reason, I just discovered all my listings had "Record Store Day" in the specifics... I changed that in a bulk edit, but have no idea why ebay added THAT! All my records are vintage pressings.
Even starting from scratch, there are SO MANY fields to fill in, it's overwhelming. At times, I just figure and hope that the buyers will READ my listings, as all that info is in the title and description, if I do miss something.
You are correct - the item specifics issue is a big one! By choosing to weight the search engine to look at item specifics more that the title, the search has been easily manipulated - intentionally by some sellers and unknowingly by others.
Ebay treats its sellers like third world employees instead of like partners. They try to force everyone to bend to the will of their most recent and ill conceived projects and changes...... but they do not take human nature into account.
Item specifics have proven to have no value- sales have steadily decreased and they take 4x longer to fill out so what is the benefit? The search is 10x worse than it was before item specifics were implemented.
As a seller i often leave the wrong prepopulated specifics in a listing because its not worth pouring over them to correct them. The new listing tool has made this even worse by hiding all the item specifics in little mobile app poppup boxes.
Some sellers have realized that because the search is so ineffective at showing what you actually type in the box that flooding the item specifics with keywords- get them visibility. This of course only further ruins the relevancy of the AI search. Its a problem that ebay has had since opening up the item specifics to the search algorithm.
Until ebay dials back the AI and weights the search algorithms to a more simple design that compares what we type to the listing titles and matches up common words again.......we will continue down this path of irrelevance.
It just seems like there should have been some payoff on the backend (listing) to sellers for contributing to the item specifics system.
By now - I should be able to pick the product from the suggested items, knowing I can reliably skip all the item specifics, since that data should be pre-populated in the listing.
Instead, we are treated to what's become an inaccurate, 'open source' database of "item specifics."
If you use the suggested match - you have to double check all the item specifics for mis-information.
I could even see how nefarious sellers could use this defect to sandbag casual listers. Create attractive listings with wrong item specifics. So the casual seller - who trusts the suggested listings item specifics - might not chart as high as the nefarious seller in searches (who of course uses a template with correct infos)
And if sellers don't fill in the required item specifics, not only will it impact their visibility in searches, eBay may decided to move their listings to "other" categories where they will be buried even further.
Some parts and accessories sellers recently received the following warning email from eBay:
During the last couple of months, we've made some category changes to make your Powersports Parts & Accessories items more searchable for buyers and, where applicable, moved them to new categories to improve searchability.
Recently, there has been a significant increase in Parts & Accessories listings being moved to the "Other" category because item specifics that would place the items in the best matching categories were missing. That means parts and accessories shoppers are less likely to discover those listings in their search results.
We know that updating or adding complete and accurate item specifics to your listings can take additional time, but we want to remind you that you'll drive significantly higher buyer interest in your items when your listings are placed in the best matching categories.
Learn how to add item specifics to your listings so more buyers can discover them.
What do you think about eBay's item specifics mandates? Let us know in the comments below!