eBay recently announced significant changes to its inventory management system, in an effort to standardize product listings. As a result, sellers have been required to change procedures for listing products on the platform.
These changes have resulted in some confusion as to the best way to optimize postings to ensure that the maximum number of interested shoppers sees them. Previously, a retailer could list a product with several different keywords, so that it would show up in the maximum number of search results.
However, this created a system that was confusing for shoppers, as searches could bring up unrelated products with similar keywords; as the platform expanded and brought on new sellers, it became challenging to monitor and scale for growth.
eBay currently has over 25 million sellers, including retailers, and over 1 billion products available for purchase. Streamlining the listing process is a necessity to manage the sheer volume of data involved.
eBay’s revised selling platform offers a product-based shopping experience, collapsing items for sale into groups of products. Now, a retailer must list using the eBay catalog, changing the way that products are promoted and viewed on the site.
These changes are intended to streamline the shopping experience by providing users with the most relevant results. However, it has also changed the way that sellers list products for sale.
To create a new strategy to optimize sales under eBay’s new management system, sellers should:
1. Be prepared
eBay communicates with sellers directly about major changes to the platform, but information can also be found on the eBay website Seller Center. Upcoming changes may also be included in corporate press releases and shareholder communications. eBay also maintains a blog, a YouTube channel, and a community discussion group for information sharing among sellers. Keep an eye on what is happening with the company, to ensure that you stay abreast of upcoming changes.
Ensure that you read all information distributed for the benefit of sellers carefully and plan accordingly.
2. Monitor price fluctuations
As opposed to other online marketplaces, eBay is an auction website, meaning that prices are elastic and fluctuate frequently. Changes in prices for your products, as well as price changes for similar products from competitors, can drastically affect sales and inventory. It is important to be flexible in price planning, and agile enough to react quickly to take advantage of changes in price and demand.
3. Don't oversell
It is vital that sellers understand eBay’s seller policies, to acquire and maintain ‘top seller’ status. Poor inventory management, including overselling, can negatively affect the metrics that are used to determine seller status, and repeated instances of overselling, quality issues, customer complaints or shipping problems may result in a seller being downgraded.
4. Don't overstock
While overselling can negatively affect your seller rating, overstocking inventory is a drain on resources and efficiency. Keeping too much product on hand has repercussions on storage costs, increases the complexity of fulfillment and returns, and makes it difficult to forecast sales accurately. Optimize inventory balance to improve efficiency and revenues for your eCommerce store.
5. Use a software solution
Managing eCommerce is a complicated process, mainly if a retailer is selling on several different marketplaces. An omnichannel software solution like ChannelGrabber can help with this – a centralized dashboard facilitates the listing process, provides automatic inventory updates to prevent overselling, and provides data for forecasting and analysis.
The change to a product-based shopping experience has changed the way that sellers list and promote products on eBay’s marketplace. However, it is also expected to improve the customer experience and make products easier to find through search engines.
Contact ChannelGrabber today to learn more about how omnichannel inventory management can help your eCommerce platform streamline, save costs, and run more efficiently and effectively.