Selling on eBay in 2015 – Survival of the Most Optimised Listing
Selling on eBay is increasingly more and more competitive. The best way to boost sales is by optimising your listing description. What does optimisation mean in terms of eBay listings? Well, several things, but most important of all: a highly optimised listing description has a correspondingly high visibility in eBay search compared to listings with little to no information or description.
eBay’s search metrics, known as Cassini, boils down to one general theory: the best-selling your listing is, the more likely it will rank higher in eBay’s search results. A best-selling or highly converting listing is one that successfully sells an item with the fewest possible visits or clicks. That is why it is absolutely crucial to make sure that you have the highest possible conversion rate (sell through rate) possible. Sell through rate (percentage) can be calculated simply by dividing the total number of sales of a single listing by the total number of clicks the respective product listing received. That’s why it is often called “click through rate.”
To summarise, a listing that is sells well will appear higher in search results. My caveat: do not fear when you plug in this sell through rate (STR) formula and you find that this percentage is lower than expected. The average sell through rate on eBay fluctuates between 2% – 5%. Gone are the days on eBay when STR was in the double digits for the majority of active sellers. STR has dropped significantly due to a massive spike in competition over the past several years as retail giants have now turned to shopping engines such as Amazon and eBay to market their products in conjunction with online marketplaces becoming increasing saturated. That is why is absolutely crucial to optimise your listing’s visibility and ranking within eBay’s “Best Match” search results.
One of the best ways to boost your product listing exposure is by taking advantage of your listing description. eBay offers an HTML notepad editor where sellers can add additional information in their description. It is essentially free advertisement dedicated to your product. It is critical to take advantage of the product listing description in order to improve your sell through rate.
There are, however, pitfalls to creating a listing description that are important to avoid. All relevant information should be placed at the heading of a listing. Up-selling galleries, which are a popular addition to listing descriptions, should remain at the bottom of a listing as to not distract a viewer while they are browsing for a specific item.
The adage, “looks are everything” applies to the world of listing descriptions as well. Unappealing and disorganised listings have lower sell through rates. The way a listing description presents a product has a great influence on whether a customer will feel confident enough to make a purchase. A listing is categorised as unattractive or untrustworthy is if it does not look professionally designed. The tell-tale signs of an unprofessional listing are: excessive walls of text, photos, font types, font colours, or highlighted fonts.
Superficially, it may not matter what a listing looks like in regards to the level of quality and service you may provide as a seller, however the more professional a listing appears, the more likely a customer is willing to trust an anonymous online seller. The best way to consider a listing successful is if it clearly advertises a given item and its specific product information within the smallest amount of space and in the shortest amount of time with the most professional appearance.
On average, viewers will visit a listing for less than ten seconds before making either a positive or negative purchasing decision. Not only must a listing be professional looking to evoke a sense of trustworthiness, but the listing itself must also efficiently and effectively display relevant information in the least amount of time. Online shopping is time sensitive unlike brick and mortar stores, exiting a listing is as simple as a mouse click; speed is of the essence.
Another crucial aspect of increasing a listing’s visibility is having accurate keywords in your listings’ title. There are several ways to identify the most accurate listing title to increase your products’ visibility including performing a basic search of your item in eBay and checking to see what similar listings use as titles. Basic market research is key to setting an accurate title. Things to avoid: unnecessary symbols, excessive capitalisation, and misspellings.
When broaching the world of sales on major selling platforms such as eBay, the best way to distinguish yourself as an independent seller is building social proof and authority via improving and enhancing product listing descriptions.
Adding branding signifiers such as personal photos or a logo, including all necessary and relevant information in a clean, professional format, and using the most accurate keywords to describe a listing will boost your authenticity and visibility on eBay’s search. It is no longer a viable marketing strategy to list the bare minimum.
Serious research and considerations must be made in order to produce a listing with a high sell through rate. Fortunately, when you’ve reached a point where you have optimised your listing strategy you can use it as a sort of template for all future listings.
As eBay becomes an increasingly competitive market, independent sellers must take advantage of every possible means of successfully promoting their listings via advanced listing descriptions, accurate keywords, and strengthening their online reputation.
About the author:
Viktor Levitin is the head and CEO of the parent group, LGO Israel, and LGO UK, two award winning eCommerce companies. LGO Group provides eCommerce and conversion optimisation services to leading brands including CrazyLister, an easy to use drag and drop editor for eBay auction listings.