5 Expert Ideas for Optimizing eBay Listings

Earlier this month, we announced a joint partnership with eBay to help sellers grow their businesses like never before. Through this partnership, sellers large and small can now use Sellbrite to easily add eBay’s thriving marketplace as a new sales channel and manage it as part of their multichannel business.

We’re kicking off the partnership in two ways:

First, we’re launching the Sellbrite + eBay Seller Growth Program. This program was built for sellers who are new to Sellbrite and eBay and offers the following:

  • Free Sellbrite subscription for 4 months
  • Free Unlimited eBay listings for 3 months
  • Free Basic eBay Store for 3 months
  • Free Support from eBay Growth Team

Second, we’re creating and sharing a series of new blog posts that provide eBay sellers with the actionable advice and resources they need to boost sales and fuel business growth.

This blog post is the first piece of content in our new series. In it, we’re presenting five expert ideas that every seller can use to optimize their eBay listings in order to sell more products.

Why Even Think About Optimization?

According to a VentureBeat article published last year, there are roughly 25 million sellers selling 800 million items to a community of over 157 million people on eBay at any given time. As you can imagine (and as you’ve probably experienced firsthand), competition is incredibly fierce. There are more businesses with similar products going after the same audience than ever before.

In order to effectively stand out, differentiate from competition, attract and convert more customers, and build a successful and sustainable business, you can’t just write product descriptions and publish identical listings day-after-day. You have to do more. To optimize your listings and ultimately sell more products, you need to know things like:

  • What motivates your target customer to buy
  • What prevents your target customer from buying
  • What your competitors are doing to attract customers and sell products
  • How to measure and act on the performance of listings

As you begin to work through answering the questions from the bulleted list above, you’ll begin the early stages of developing and shaping a clear listing optimization strategy for your business. This strategy will help guide you as you question and decide how to best showcase, describe, price, and promote your products.

Based on the answers you come up with, you’ll likely want to make a list of listing page optimization ideas that you can try in order to find out what your customers respond to and engage with best.

These are 5 of the most common optimization ideas the best sellers are making today in order to drive more sales:


Expert Idea #1: Take Better Photos & Make Them Mobile-Friendly

One of the easiest changes you can make to improve the effectiveness of your listing pages is to simply take better photos of the products you’re selling. When it comes to selling products online, high-quality visuals are key. Since your buyers don’t have the luxury of walking into your store and picking up your products like they do when they’re interacting with other brick-and-mortar businesses, it’s important that you make professional-grade photography a priority when getting ready to create new listings for products.

In a resource page on their website, eBay shares 11 most important tips that will help you take photos that sell. Here are 6 of those tips:

Tip #1. Use a plain, uncluttered backdrop. Always make sure your product is the primary focus of the photo you take. You can achieve this by keeping your photo simple and placing a white backdrop behind your products. You can buy backdrops for as little as $20 on eBay.

Tip #2: Turn off the flash. Use diffused lighting. Turning off the flash will make it so that you don’t get unwanted shadows or light spots that distract from your product or make parts of your product difficult for buyers to see completely.

Tip #3: Use a tripod. There’s nothing more unprofessional than a shaky or blurry photo. A tripod will help you take higher quality photos and will allow you to take a series of different photos of your product from the exact same distance. You can find a wide variety of tripods on eBay—pick one that works best for you and the equipment you’re using. 

Tip #4: Capture all angles, details, and blemishes. Again, since your buyers don’t have the luxury of picking up and inspecting your product in-person, you have to do everything you can to help them see your product, evaluate its quality, and decide if it’s something they want to ultimately buy from you. If your buyers can’t see every angle and detail, they might feel like you’re intentionally hiding something from them and might be reluctant to buy from you.

Tip #5: Capture detailed close-up shots. Again, don’t leave your buyers guessing. Give them the opportunity to see your product up close, as if they were picking it up in their hands in a store.

Tip #6: Enable the Zoom/Enlarge feature. Make sure you take your photos at the highest resolution possible in order to enable the zoom and enlarge feature in ebay. Note that images less than 800 pixels on the longest side will not have this feature enabled.

To see the other 5 tips, explore their guide here.

In addition to taking better photos of your products, you should also make sure the images you upload are mobile-friendly. If your potential buyers have issues viewing the images of your products on their smartphones, they will not buy from you.

To make sure you’re uploading photos correctly on eBay to allow for mobile viewing, check out this guide from eBay.

Expert Idea #2: Give Potential Buyers The Information They Are Looking For

Another great way to optimize your listings is to write copy that gives potential buyers the exact information they are looking for when reviewing your products. The easiest way to do this is to first dissect your existing product description and eliminate all irrelevant or unhelpful information—i.e. The fluff. Next, replace it with statements that directly address the objections and questions you know buyers have had before when buying your products.

At this point, some of you might be asking yourselves, how do know what information our customers are looking for?

In a post titled, The Perfect eBay Listing: How We Increased Our Sales by 220%, author Victor Levitin offers a few recommendations for zeroing in on this information. In order to find out what information your potential buyers are looking for, he recommends leveraging the following areas:

1. eBay Messages – what are the questions people have asked you in the past about your products?

2. Paying Attention to Competitors – what information do your competitors include in their listing pages?

3. eBay Feedback Reviews – what feedback did people leave for you in reviews that you can use to make your description more helpful to future buyers?

4. Your Other Selling Channels – how do you describe your products on other selling channels and what feedback are you getting from customers and potential buyers on those channels?

If you can dive into these areas, you’ll be able to find a lot of  information that can be used to provide potential buyers with all the information they need to ultimately make the decision to buy your product.

Expert Idea #3: Include Trust Indicators and Social Proof Statements

We’ve written a lot about social proof and trust indicators before on this blog, and it’s because they are incredibly effective tools that can be used to persuade people to buy from you.

Just as a refresher: ecommerce business owners use social proof as a psychological tactic to give people the feeling the need to buy because others around them are buying.

To optimize your eBay listings, try incorporating the following types of social proof statements into your description:

  • Customer testimonials
  • Screenshots of reviews
  • Screenshots of happy customers engaging with you on social media
  • Number of products sold
  • Total number of customers who have purchased from you in the past

Trust indicators are words, graphics, and badges that help the potential buyer feel safe about the purchase they’re about to make.

To optimize your eBay listings further, try adding trust indicators. A few examples include:

  • Money-back guarantee statements
  • Information about your shipping and return policies
  • Statements about the quality and authenticity of the products you’re selling

When you add trust indicators and social proof statements to your listings, you remind potential buyers of three things: they are buying from actual human beings who care, their information is safe, and they will get the product that they are buying.

Expert Idea #4: Leverage Keywords & Keyword Phrasing

If you haven’t ever really thought intentionally about the keywords and keyword phrasing that you’re using in your eBay listings, this optimization area could be a huge opportunity for you. 

The keywords you ultimately choose to include in your titles and product descriptions are what help you get found easier when potential buyers are looking for the types of products that you sell.

If you haven’t had time to think about keyword optimization much yet, here are some great resources worth exploring:

Tip: to improve your keywords, spend time analyzing which keywords and keyword phrases your competitors are using!

Expert Idea #5: Leverage Listing Upgrades and Item Specifics

One last way you can optimize your listings is by leveraging listing upgrades from eBay when it makes sense to do so. It’s important to recognize that whether or not listing upgrades are worth your money will depend on the price of the products you’re selling. Some listing upgrades will be more effective than others, so it’s important to perform a simple cost/benefit analysis before choosing to pay for any upgrades.

Examples of listing upgrades include:

  • Bold Title
  • Gallery Plus
  • Subtitle
  • Listing Designer
  • Value Pack
  • Scheduling
  • International Site Visibility
  • Multi-Category Listing

Can’t decide if an upgrade is worth it or not? Take a look at this helpful chart from the book eBay Hacks, 2nd Edition. The chart will show you the listing upgrade, the insertion fee, the recommended minimum item value, and whether the upgrade affects search results and your listing page.

A word of caution: listing upgrades can add up fast! Make sure you’re being strategic about which ones you’re adding and why.

For items specifics though, you can add more content to your listing that will make your listing more relevant to a potential customer’s search because it allows those specifics to be included in the search filters.  Not only that – it’s helpful for buyers who are viewing your listing to make the right decision on whether or not this product is exactly what they need which can increase conversion rate and decrease returns and negative feedback.

And, a little shameless plug here – Sellbrite makes it really easy to populate your Item Specifics with data from your inventory.

Bonus Idea: Optimize for Mobile

You might think that optimizing for mobile is eBay’s job – and it is.  But there are some things that you can do as well.  This is from their website:

“To make your listing mobile friendly, you will need to ensure two things.
  1. Make sure your viewport is set correctly by copying and pasting this code into the viewport header if it’s not there already.
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">
  2. Make sure your content fits the mobile screen.”

You can even use this tool by eBay to check and make sure your listings are optimized for mobile.

What other optimization ideas are you using to make your eBay listings more effective? Tell us below in the comments section.

New to eBay and Sellbrite? Take advantage of our Sellbrite + eBay Seller Growth Program

William Harris William Harris is leading content at Sellbrite and is also the Founder & Growth Marketer of Elumynt, LLC., VP of Marketing and Growth for a top 700 online retailer and former head of Marketing for When I Work, a VC backed SaaS company. William is also a contributor to leading publications like The Next Web, Search Engine Journal, Social Media Today, and Sellbrite and a speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, search engine optimization, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding. Follow William on Twitter (@WmHarris101), LinkedIn, and Google+.