Up to 43% More eBay Buyers In 5 Minutes

eBay Browser CompatibilitiesThis isn’t a joke, it’s certainly not a ruse, it’s a very serious point you cannot ignore and I’ve suffered from it for ages with this very site.

You could be losing out on up to 43% of your browsing buyers because your eBay listings are not being shown to your buyers in different browsers.

Browser compatibilities can be a nightmare and in this article there is a vivid demonstration what not checking your listings in the top four web browsers could mean.

At best you’re not showing off your products to their full potential and at worst, not showing them at all.

Let’s dig in and see what we can do in 5 minutes to identify if we need to take action or not.


The Browser Compatibility Nightmare

“What works in one web browser doesn’t mean it’ll work in another”

I sadly found the perfect example this morning of what a nightmare browser compatibility can be. It’s something that drives me nuts with this site, custom edits to listing templates for eBay and pretty much anything on the net. What works in one web browser doesn’t mean it’ll work in another.

To explain where this article came from and the background to why this is important you take notice involves a little story so let’s dive in.

I need a petrol strimmer to tackle the garden, the more I look at them, the more I convince myself that this need is real. I’ve been eyeing up both a normal petrol strimmer with a blade attachment and also looking at the 5 in 1 versions which come with an extension arm, hedge trimmer and chainsaw.

“I’ve got 4 narrowed down in My eBay and I’m almost ready to buy, but….”

Identifying branches and bushes that would look so much better with this multifunctional device, but it’s a considered purchase as they’re generally over £200, there is no way that’s sneaking past the wife like the last toy I bought and saying “it’s for the kids”.

I’ve got 4 narrowed down in My eBay and I’m almost ready to buy, but…. the web browser I use is Google Chrome. I use Chrome because it is sooo fast. FireFox used to be fast, but Chrome just wipes the floor with it now.

  • But what difference does my choice of web browser make to me buying an item online?
  • How can my choice of browser impact my final decision on which item I finally purchase?
  • Really it does not matter does it?

Actually, it matters a lot.

Exactly the Same eBay Listing, but in Different Web Browsers

In the screen shots below you’ll see why checking your listings in different browsers is extremely important. This is exactly the same eBay listing, but in different web browsers I checked on this morning (and yes I’ve emailed them to let them know).

An eBay Listing Example in FireFox

The below screenshot is how the listing was originally intended to look. You’ll see that the images are showing and also the gallery function works as well when you click on the thumbnail images on the right.

eBay Listing in FireFox

An eBay Listing Example in Safari on the iPad

The screen shot below shows the same listing on the iPad. Surprisingly it displays fine as the Safari browser can be quite odd with templates at times too. All good so far, let’s move on to the next browser.

eBay Listing in Safari

An eBay Listing Example in Internet Explorer

Now this is where the compatibility issues start to show. The bulk of the template and product information is showing, however the main image is missing and the right gallery options don’t work in IE8. But it get’s worse, lets continue.

eBay Listing in Internet Explorer

An eBay Listing Example in Google Chrome

And we’ve hit worse case scenario here, in Chrome the entire description area is not showing and it was the same for all the other listings as well in Chrome too when viewing them this morning.

eBay Listing in Google Chrome

We’d love to think that because somethng works in one web browser, that it’ll work in another and generally that is true.

But each web browser has it’s own quirks and interpret the HTML standards in different ways, especially when it comes to what it should take notice of and what it should not with different versions and what to do when the HTML code it’s provided has errors in it.

I asked Mark Withers, a certified eBay Store designer who has completed over 750 eBay projects over 5 years what his views were on the topic of checking for compatibilities between web browsers on eBay were.

Mark Withers

“Just like any website, it’s important to ensure that your eBay listing is supported across media platforms, such as the iPad, iPhone and the five main web browsers.

A level of markup standardisation and compatibility checking should be demanded by any web designer, and ensuring that you aim to use no CSS hacks for your layouts.

You’ve got to keep checking your web presence, as browsers are updated frequently. In summary HTML and CSS compatibility checking ensure the future stability of your eBay listing templates.

Work with your web designer to understand the standardisation and to ensure all cross compatibility checking is carried out before you list on eBay.”

Sometimes you’ll run into cross browser compatibility issues and what looks fine in one browser, can fail to appear in another and it’s because of these of the differences between web browsers, it could simply mean the difference between sales and no sales.

The Web Browser Usage Statistics You Cannot Ignore

Looking at the latest browser usage statistics from W3Schools in the image below, we can see that Google Chrome is commanding a whopping 43% of all browser hits now.

IE has taken a battering and is now as low as 16% and Firefox is a close contender at 34%.

web browser statistics July 2012

With the recent hype that eBay are expecting some obscene amount of increase in sales through mobile devices, looking at the overall picture we can see from the table below that mobile operating systems are only accounting for a tiny amount of the overall page views on the internet and that the desktop is still king.

Operating System statistics July 2012

Source: here

Check Your Listings Now

Download the four popular web browsers using the links below, they’re all free and won’t take a few minutes to install. Once you have them installed, pick one of your listings and view in it on all four of the web browsers.

Make sure that all the key features in your listings work, such as image galleries that work when you click on the thumbnails, links work and so on.

Generally the differences are only minor, but sometimes they can be major and major problems could mean that a large proportion of your potential buyers don’t see your product details in the full awe that they should be seen in.

For the sake of 5 minutes, do it now.

Your Browser Download Links


In the comments section below John suggested we just check that might be Adblock that is blocking your entire description.

Adblock PlusIn the case of the example listing above, that was the case, the innner division that contained the entire eBay listing description is called “ad_container”. If you were an “AdBlocking” piece of software, you’d block that division too!

To add to the testing above, it’ll take two more minutes to add the two common “Ad Blocking” extensions to Chrome (see here) and FireFox (see here). There are other blocking extensions, but these two are the largest ones around.

So in conclusion it could be as in the case as it was for this article, the entire description area was being hidden just because of a single division being named in-aptly or there really could have been another critical issue with the description causing it not to show. Or as we found in the Internet Explorer example above, the image gallery failing to load, which is not as bad as the description being hidden, but still hardly ideal.

Do you keep seeing scroll bars on your eBay listings?

Update: There is a workable “Work around” in this article.

When viewing an eBay item, sometimes the description area which is now being placed in a IFRAME tag doesn’t render in the browser page correctly, causing your listing details to only be 200-300 pixels tall and a scroll bar appears on the right hand side.

This seems to happen to both FireFox and Chrome quite regularly for me (probably in Internet Explorer, but I never use it) and to visually explain what I’m referring to a screen shot is below, note the scroll bar on the right hand side:

ebay listing scroll bars

To try and combat this all you need to do is add an style to your style sheet. If you have no idea what a style sheet is, just copy/paste the code below at the very top of your listing in the HTML view and save the changes.

<style type="text/css">
#EBdescription {
     min-height: 4000px; !Important;

This will force your description to be a minimum of 4000 pixels tall. If this is too long for the majority of your listings, try 3000px, then 2000px and inversely if its not tall enough increase this value.

Its not perfect but will at least tell the majority of modern browsers that the height needs to be at least this value and extend the iframe downwards to limit the scrolling.

Have you see this before on your or another listing? Let me know in the comments box below.

The eBay US Fashion Outlet Run Down – What Can You Do?

So the USA finally got the eBay Fashion outlet yesterday then. There are 12 retailers in total in the launch and an astonishing number of them are using Fooition shop designs & templates.

Where this article is going to be different, instead of focusing on why it exists (which in my mind an exceptionally positive event) and who is included, I’m going to break each of the stores down and explain where I believe they could do better in their presentation and implementation on eBay. Yes its just launched, but there is a lot to be learned from.

Scot Wingo from ChannelAdvisor has done a decent breakdown of what the extra perks are for them and who is included, he’s missed out the strike through pricing option that you’ll see in use on most of them and only hinted at the sheer amount of abuse that these retailers will gain in daily deals, exposure and PR from eBay. You only need to look at the eBay UK version of the fashion outlet to spot that it’s a heavily closed shopping experience to the outlet stores.

It should also be noted that Outlet stores have a different eBay shop structure to the normal eBay shops, that allows greater flexibility in what can be done. On the outside the implications are subtle, however, they are exceptionally more powerful and I’m sure in time the rest of the community will get these options.

What Can You Do?

I’ve put together this video that runs through all the fashion outlets on eBay US. The question is to you, what can you learn from them to improve your eBay activities?

7 Leathal eBay Listing Mistakes (Including Borat)

I’ve put together some of the most lethal eBay listing mistakes, I’m sure you’ll not use any of these, just in case, here are some of the things to avoid!

No Gallery Picture

No Gallery Picture

No Gallery Picture

Have you seen how many items are in the clothes, shoes & accessories category lately? On checking there is approximately 13 million listings. Fashion items are the most visual items of them all and not including a gallery picture, which is free I hasten to add, will pretty much kill any chances you have of getting a buyer (or anyone for that matter) to view your listing.

One Word Titles

No eBay Title

One word eBay title

We’ve now got space for 80 characters from the previous 55 this month. There are extremes of keyword abuse, however this one falls rather short.


eBay Caps Lock

SHOUTING at your buyers doesn’t help.


Poor Images


One hours free consulting if you guess right what this is.

You can get mobile phones with 12Mp cameras on them now (probably more!), there is no excuse for not including great images on your listings.

Using Borat to Sell Your Wares


Say NO to Borat

Look, I cried with laughter at that film, but skimpy birthday suits to sell your wares, naaaa.

If you cannot think of any more constructive keywords to put in the title, stop!

Get your Pricing Right


Pricing gone AWOL?

Yep that’s a seven million pound book. I’d not want to be paying the 9% fees on that!
(£617,282.88 to be precise, ignoring any discounts)


The above are a bit of fun, I found all these on Sunday evening within a few minutes.

On a serious note though, great eBay listing’s are a combination of the lots of little things done right, great titles, superb images, informative descriptions and so on, not a Borat-look-a-like in his skimpys.

Stop - Take Action!What could you do today?
What tiny tweaks could you make today, to make your listings better?
Need ideas? See an earlier guide I wrote for SEO for eBay 10 minutes per day.

eBay Duplicate Listing Tool

Duplicate eBay ListingsIf you’ve been shelled up for the past few weeks, you’ll not have noticed that eBay are taking action on duplicate listings and from mid May in the eBay May 2011 update amongst many other changes.

eBay have released a tool so that you can check your listings in advance for duplicates and take action on them now before they end them automatically in mid may.

You can find eBay duplicate listing tool at the link below:

As mentioned in May they’ll be automatcially ending any fixed price listings eBay see’s as being duplicates regardless of sales performace and will be happening to all categories with the exception of Cars, Motorcycles and Vehicles, Parts and Events and Tickets.

eBay give you some tips in their update information for duplicate listings, if you’ve not done so already, check to see if your category is having the variation format introduced and learn this forma very quickly as it will change the dynamics of your category. You can learn more about this and the other changes in the previous article Making Sense of the Pending eBay UK Updates in May 2011