eBay Introduces Multi-Variation Listings

Format could cut listing costs, increase sell-through.

by Auctiva.com staff writer
- Jun 23, 2009

In the past, sellers who sold the same kind of shoes in different sizes and colors had to create multiple eBay listings when they posted these items—one for each variation—but now they can opt to use one listing instead.

This began last week with eBay's introduction of multi-variation listings for fixed-price men and women's shoes. This type of listing will be expanded in July to the rest of the Clothing, Shoes & Accessories category, as well as some Home & Garden items, eBay says. Other categories will allow multi-variation listings for fixed-price items next year.

"We're introducing multi-variation listings for two main reasons: to provide buyers an easier, more familiar shopping experience for popular products [and] to provide sellers with a way to significantly reduce costs by combining many single-quantity and/or multi-quantity Buy It Now listings into one, with the ability to manage their inventory within the listing," eBay reports in its multi-variation listings FAQs.

Sellers will pay one insertion fee for multi-variation listings, which will be the same amount as the Buy It Now listings for the Clothing, Shoes & Accessories and Home & Garden categories. Sellers can also post several sets of images with multi-variation listing and will only be charged for the set with the most images.

Currently, weight variations aren't integrated with the calculator. "Thus, for now, you'd be effectively limited to specifying the maximum of the variation weights for the calculator," reports eBay's Seller Development.

Posting a multi-variation listing is similar to creating a regular listing. Sellers give each listing a title, description, etc., but when they create new listings in shoes, the option of listing items as multi-variation pops up.

This listing format could be very profitable for sellers, notes eBay expert and Auctiva contributor Lisa Suttora.

"This type of product display is what consumers are used to on other sites such as Amazon, Buy.com, Gymboree, Nordstrom.com, etc. As a consumer, if I like a particular shirt that you sell, I don't want to have to click in and out of 14 different listings to see all the colors it comes in," she writes in her blog. "So even if the new listing format will take some getting used to, please understand that from a sales conversion standpoint, the multi-variation listing format is practically guaranteed to increase your sales."

Some sellers agree.

"As a big shoe seller, this is a massively important step forward," notes eBay seller John Pemberton, who posted his first multi-variation listing the first day they were allowed.

Sellers who want to change their current listings into multi-variation listings can do so after ending their normal fixed-priced listings. For more information on multi-variation listings, visit eBay's Multi-variation Fixed Price listings information page.

About the Author

Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.

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