eBay will require sellers in the Clothing, Shoes & Accessories category to include item specifics such as brand, style, color, size and size type in all new and revised listings starting July 20.
Listings that don't include the required item specifics will fail to post, eBay warns. The new requirement was noted in eBay's 2011 Spring Seller Update, but might have been overlooked by some sellers amid the commotion over the new fee structure.
Item specifics are details about products that help buyers narrow their search results and find exactly what they're looking for. eBay began introducing these additional attributes in 2007 for products such as cameras, cell phones, clothing and video games, and plans to support them on eBay Motors by May. Additional item-specifics values for Clothing, Shoes & Accessories became available on eBay earlier this month. See a complete list of eBay's required item specifics.
"Fashion enthusiasts are searching and browsing on eBay for clothing, shoes and accessories by key details such as style, size, brand, condition and format," eBay says. Including this type of information in listings "will help buyers navigate to the most relevant items and make a quicker purchase decision."
The information should also reduce the number of questions sellers will have to field because all the item details will be summarized at the top of the listing, eBay adds.
Auctiva can help
Users of Auctiva's listing tools have had the choice to specify either item specifics or custom item specifics, depending on their selected category, for several years. While item specifics allows sellers to specify size, style, material, main color and condition, custom item specifics enables more granular detail to be provided, such as shade, pattern, or even purse strap length.
For categories that support both types of item specifics, the Auctiva lister explains that support for item specifics will be removed at a future date, so it's important to enter custom item specifics when that option is presented.
"Auctiva customers who sell in Clothing, Shoes & Accessories are probably already accustomed to using custom item specifics, so it should be easier for these users to update their listings," says Rebecca Miller, Auctiva's product analyst.
However, Auctiva is not able to verify whether sellers have specified eBay's required attributes, so it's up to sellers to ensure their listings are compliant. Currently, saved Auctiva listings must be revised one at a time.
Active listings that don't include custom item specifics should not be affected, according to eBay. But if a seller attempts to relist one of these, or create a new listing from a listing that doesn't include these details, the listing will fail.
Auctiva has posted FAQs about the new item specifics requirements.
Editor's note: eBay has changed the enforcement date for item specifics, which was originally set for May 9, 2011. This article was updated on May 3, 2011, to reflect the change.
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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.