They weld themselves to the top of eBay search results and now that eBay’s paid promotion tool for “Featured First” is going, using variations on eBay has never been so important.
In this Podcast with myself Matt (waves) and Dave Furness, we discuss eBay variations and why you should be using them, the benefits and the downsides and give you 7 tips to follow for success using variation listings.
We’ve listened to your feedback and today’s Podcast is a half the length of our previous Podcasts and comes in at a trim 30 minutes. If you think we’ve skimped on value, you’d be wrong, wait until the end :)
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What are eBay variations & Why do you want to use them?
Variations allow you to keep a product that has a range of options in a single listing. This makes selecting the right product as a customer much, much easier as they no longer have to go and find the variation they want, such as a shoe size, they can pick from a single listing.
Several good examples of how these are used and are easier for both buyers and sellers are:
- A pair of shoes that come in multiple sizes
- A dress that comes in different sizes and colours
- Rugs that come in different colours, styles and sizes.
- Motorcycle helmets
- A handbag that comes in multiple colours
Each of these products can come in different sizes, colours and styles. When linked together it makes it much easier for a buyer to make the right choice and also easier for you as a seller to track their inventory as instead of an individual listing for each colour/size/style, they are all contained in one listing.
Variation listings are now supported in 20 categories on eBay UK and you can see the full list and the exceptions here.
What other Benefits are there for sellers?
There are several key benefits to using variation listings and for best match rankings which is of special note and we cover that shortly too.
Key Benefits of using Variations
- First picture is free so that if you have can extra free pictures on eBay, that swap when the buyer makes a selection
- Saving money on listing fee’s as one insertion fee
- The subtitle upgrade is better value as its £1.05 for a single listing
- Increase of product visibility – every time a sub SKU sells the whole listing benefits
- Stays clear of duplicate listing policy
- Makes it easier for the buyer to find what they want which should make your listings stickier and increase conversion.
Note: You will hear us call them “multi variations” in the Podcast, even if you item has one variation, it’s the same thing. It’s just a term we use and it’s the same as variations, whether there is 1 variation or 5 variation options.
eBay Variation Tutorial Video
Earlier this year Dave Forest from the eBay UK seller team created a video to take you through the creation and use of eBay variations.
Dave takes you through a live listing on the eBay site, a Men’s T-Shirt that has colour and size variations and we can see how the price changes with his selection and also the how the image changes for each colour variation. Then how to create a variation listing in multiple colours and sizes like the example listing.
eBay Best Match & Variations
Listings that are variations become welded to the top of the search results. Even by eBay’s own admission in several categories you cannot compete unless you are using variation listings. They took hold fast and have completely changed the dynamics in every category they have been released in.
To make the point, we’ve made some searches on eBay below. Take a look for yourself and the listings that you see without “More Options” under them, you’ll find very few because for all the BIN listings, the single listings just don’t get a chance.
Example Searches of How Variations Weld to the Best Match Search Results
In the Podcast we refer to a rugs listing that has 17 colours and 10 sizes, you can view that item here http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/150669779518 at the time we looked at it, it had around 2216 items sold. Now it has 2255 at the time of writing!
Are there downsides to using eBay variations?
Although these are minor when compared to the benefits, unfortunately there are a couple of downsides to using variations.
- Can’t rename the master variation SKU in eBay
- Creating them can be slow
- They are not supported by all 3rd party tools and even eBay’s own turbo Lister you cannot import or export them.
- Cannot add separate EAN’s for Google search/shopping results for each variation
In the next updates we are seeing
I’ve covered the eBay Autumn 2012 updates in huge detail, however the variations didn’t get much hype from eBay, but they were one of the biggest winners with numerous changes that will improve their performance.
- We’ll be seeing “£9.99 – £129.99″ instead of the highest price only
- Also seeing image swatches for colours, when common colours are used (shades)
- Intelligent variation search – search for Pink shirt and eBay will show you the image of a pink shirt (Providing you have one uploaded).
- Featured first is going, so your listings need to be as good as possible to get to the top spot…
Our Tips for Variations on eBay
Myself and Dave have put together 7 top tips for you on eBay variations and the last one is golden.
- Where-ever possible use them
If your category supports them then you should be using them (we have the entire list on the website at… ) http://pages.ebay.co.uk/help/sell/listing-variations.html#categories
- Keep the options to a minimum
Think of your buyers! Try and keep the variations to a minimum, Size and colour.
- You can change prices if needed
Remember you can change the pricing for each combination and if one variation goes out of stock, the listing remains.
- Take advantage of eBay’s Fast N Free Option
Don’’t forget that eBay are going to be showing products as “Fast N Free” when you have an estimated delivery of 3 days or less. So that means if you have a handling time of 1 day and first class or a courier of 24hrs or 48hrs with the same handling time.
- Don’t force variations if your products don’t suit.
Certain categories are so suited to having variations, such as fashion and certain home items. If your item isn’t one of them, don’t force it or have complicated variations.
- Use images for each core variation
Make sure you have pictures loaded for each variation…in place for when the latest update comes in, it’s going to be even more important
- Name the variation labels well
Apparently it is OK to do this, you are able to Keyword stuff the variation names. As the variation names may only show 35 chars in the drop down box but you can add variation names that are up to 50 chars long. So thats your eBay title at 80 + 50 + 50 + etc… There is an article I created a while ago here that includes a video showing this in action. eBay declined to remove the listing.
We don’t really say it enough, thank for taking the time to listen in, because of you we’re out growing our current web hosting and are moving to a new server this weekend.
You may have noticed that the sound quality has got better and we’d love to hear your feedback about this Podcast and your thoughts and experiences with eBay variations.
You can let us know in the comments box below.