eBay was once known as the marketplace for used and collectable items. While it became famous for these reasons, eBay has been working hard over the last few years to shed that reputation and improve the user experience of its online marketplace.
In Australia especially, eBay has made a major shift towards mainstream retail, luring 80 of the country’s top 100 retailers to launch eBay stores on its marketplace.
The influx of more mainstream branded goods to eBay’s marketplace has seen eBay management pushing hard over recent months to get their sellers providing structured data.
What is Structured Data?
Whether you are a new or old seller, structured data is something you are going to want to pay attention to. Structured data is any type of data that has predefined attributes. In the case of a marketplace like eBay, this includes product identifier codes (barcodes, part numbers, model numbers) and other standardised information that enables online shoppers to more easily identify the products they want to buy.
eBay is working to create a more consistent shopping experience – low quality listings are being demoted in favour of better structured listings that contain accurate and complete product information.
One of the main reasons eBay is doing this is so they can compete with larger online retailers like Amazon and Walmart, but also to ensure they don’t fall behind in Google search placements, a major driver of new buyer traffic to eBay.
Why is Structured Data Is Important for Sellers?
Structured product data should typically lead to increased sales. It enables buyers to find products they want much more efficiently, and allows eBay to provide more reliable product information to aid buying decisions. As eBay’s search evolves towards a more product-centric experience, sellers who fail to provide product identifiers and attributes will be demoted in search listings their listings, or may not even ever be picked up in them.
This type of system will reward sellers that are willing to take the time to create accurate listings that feature UPCs, EANs, GTINs, product specifications, model numbers, and other information that helps a buyer identify the specific product they are looking for.
The modern e-commerce market is dominated by companies that are peddling white label products from Alibaba. Shoppers don’t have to worry about buying knockoffs when they can verify the legitimacy of an item using structured data.
Another major incentive for sellers to start prioritising structured data is the fact that they will be able to check what prices other sellers are listing the same products for. Finding similar listings was difficult on eBay in the past, but that isn’t the case anymore as product listings are becoming standardised across the board.
You can easily take advantage of data structuring to keep tabs on current supply levels for a specific product. Before, you had to scour eBay in order to make sure the marketplace wasn’t saturated with your product. Now, it’s even easier than ever. All you have to do is enter a product’s identifier code and you will instantly see how many other sellers are trying to sell that specific product.
Easily Sell on Multiple Marketplaces
You shouldn’t limit yourself to one marketplace. If you sell a product on Amazon, porting it over to eBay will be fairly easy considering you’ll already have most of the structured data you required. The same process can be reversed for eBay sellers looking to start selling on Amazon as well.
Structured data is a major benefit for eBay sellers as it will introduce them to something that Amazon has been requiring all of its sellers to follow for a very long time, and one of the prime reasons Amazon remains so popular with online shoppers.
Data Structuring Meet Mass Personalization and AI
Two of the biggest buzzwords in tech today are mass personalization and artificial intelligence (AI). In many ways, the two concepts work together and pair well with data structuring initiatives.
As eBay collects more and more structured data about product through seller’s listings, they will better be able to train their AI systems to make personalized suggestions based on the types of items people are browsing.
Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook have been using systems like these for years in order to provide meaningful suggestions to their users. Now, eBay is looking to do the same as they are determined to remain relevant and overcome the collectables marketplace stigma that they still carry in some parts of the world today.
eBay is continuously improving their search engine to provide a better user experience. It wasn’t too long ago that eBay’s search engine provided some pretty awful results, the type of results that were far too literal and often missed the searcher’s intended meaning. With the ability to sift through big data, users can expect the eBay search engine to start to provide suggestions that are actually useful. eBay’s algorithm will connect search patterns to determine what the searcher is actually looking for, rather than displaying results based solely on the keywords entered.
It is an exciting time sellers on eBay as they will benefit immensely from the company’s data structuring initiative. If you sell on eBay, get familiar with the types of data that eBay wants you to include in your listings and use that to your advantage. Sellers who neglect the company’s push for data structuring will fall behind.
You’ve been warned.