Good data takes you nice places – What is missing?

When you deal with marketplaces such as eBay, or want search filters on your website you need to HAVE this data to hand. Most suppliers don’t add this additional data, you are lucky if you get colour and size!

In a data feed you would normally get:

1. Title
2. Description
3. Price
4. Quantity
5. Image name
6. Product Code
7. Size & Colour but these could be tacked into the title field and NOT separate.

The best way to figure out what is missing is by looking at eBay. eBay does so much research on how shoppers BUY stuff and they use an ever evolving filter system based on item specifics. This is typically the model I use for extra data.

So, if I was working with a fashion retailer, I would go to the women dresses category and see what filters eBay uses.

1. Size

2. Brand

3. Occasion

are the top 3 that eBay feel are the MOST important, then you have…

4. Main Colour (not so important because people will search for ‘Red Dress’ more often than not)

5. Style

6. Material

7. Size type (Petite/Tall etc)

These are all things people want to know about a dress. Shopping for dresses is a fine art, hence the number of specifics. Looking at these you can also start to construct a TITLE for your item, that will be found better.

An example of good title for a dress with multiple sizes would be:

ASOS Long Black Maxi Silk Party Dress Petite & Tall Sizes Available

(I assume here that with your size variations in dropdown that they are searchable by whatever system/marketplace this is used for)

Your supplier will probably give you ‘Black Maxi Dress’ and this could apply to many different dress styles with different codes. This is rubbish, and you will find you spend MOST of your time with this part of the data.

So now we have sorted the attributes we are missing in our data which gives us better titles, but how about description data?

A classic good ‘supplier’ description of an item is:

Beach dress by ASOS Collection

  • Made from a silky fabric
  • Plunging neckline
  • Halterneck design
  • Keyhole detail to back

However, a full description would include material, washing instructions and what the fit was ‘Regular, Tall or Petite’. A snip-it about the collection would also help sell this item.

This is probably the data you will find you can standarise over large proportions of data. If your supplier descriptions are NOT so good. This could take a while.

Next is the all important IMAGES!

Typical supplier image:


Images you ACTUALLY need:

image1xl image2xl image3xl image4xl

You need images around the 1200px x 1200px mark for zoom functionality and detail. Consider this a minimum.

So, wow a lot of data needed to sell an item! A lot of this data CAN be standardised in an excel sheet, however you need to be careful of mistakes.

Anyone want this dress? It’s here and cheap too!

This is the FIRST point from the good data series

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Like SEO, UX/UI should be in everything you do…..even eBay

UX/UI (user experience/user interface design) is all about approaching what you do on the web from the users point of view. Be it eBay listings or websites, this along with SEO needs to become natural for a professional in this industry.

However, so many companies get this WRONG. Even if they go ahead and hire a UX/UI team or consultant.


Number One Reason Your UX Investment Isn’t Paying Off

  • You hired the wrong people.
  • You’re not letting the right people do their jobs.
  • UX work is done in a silo.
  • UX team brought in too late.

and the mashable blog post here:

Bad layouts hurt your business. I have seen it so many times, and even the most experienced designers and companies can get it completely wrong. You need to make sure the people you work with USE the web, and for e-commerce projects BUY off similar sites on a regular basis. If a designer or employees of a design company have never bought or sold anything on eBay, it is best to find a company with people who HAVE for your eBay design.

Same with companies that prove listing services to eBay! They claim magnificent eBay optimisation that is all kinds of magic and then all they do is fling a few extra keywords on your titles…sometimes more than once for extra policy breakage!

I buy a LOT online, which is why I make great decisions when it comes to your eBay business.

Think on it next time you embark on a design project or listing services. Check WHO is in charge of the layout or optimisation.

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Help my sales are down and its CHRISTMAS DAMMIT!

This is a post in response to Dan’s post on Tamebay “Help! My sales are down” – 5 things to consider. I won’t cover his ground but I will cover some other observations:

Product Titles

On eBay, Amazon and in your own webstore the TITLE of your product is responsible for SO many things; from telling your customer what they are looking at to making sure they FIND you in the first place. When I search for something I normally use two words and this thought process:

“attribute + item name = search results”

If the search results are over 100 items I look at the titles of the first few items and redefine. This is where I get my ideas from when I am searching.

“attribute 1 + attribute 2 + item name = better search results”

But what are attributes?

A common but not exclusive list of attributes:

– Size
– Colour
– Brand
– Purpose
– Gender

Purpose for example is ‘rugby or football’ or an exact model/make of a car etc.

Things I look out for but don’t normally search for in titles include item condition statements. I also look for other sizing or expanded attribute information. I normally search for a size ’12’ for female clothing but if I am looking for jeans will also want the waist and length.

If someone else’s title tells me what the item is better than yours, I will click elsewhere.

Your titles DO also have to make some kind of sense for example:

‘NEW STYLISH GRIP SERIES LEATHER CASE COVER FOR IPHONE 4 4S FREE SCREEN PROTECTOR’ – I hate capitals and it is against eBay’s good title suggestions but looking at the wording this title has all the keywords I need and it tells me what I am clicking on.

‘Fits,iPhone 5 5G Case,Silicone Cover,Skin, For Apple,Royal Pig HOT PINK’ – All the keywords, no sense. A better title would be ‘New Hot Pink Royal Pig Silicone Cover Skin fits Apple iPhone 5 4G’ (As 5G doesn’t exist, no one in the UK would search for it).

However, both of these were top of the searches in eBay for ‘iPhone case’ proving that keywords and not sense gets you high up however this auction ended with no bids. None. Probably only at the top because it was a ‘minutes left’ auction. On refresh something with an equally bad title replaced it, again…no bids.


Don’t be lazy here. Your images tell me WHO you are and what kind of business I am dealing with especially in a raft of search results. I am either looking for a second hand something from a home/private seller or a new item from a professional seller. Photos on someones floor says ‘home seller’ to me and model photos/professional photos say ‘professional seller’.


OK, you have hooked me in now so don’t make me READ. Give me 3-5 reasons why I should buy and have done with it. Tell me what I get, what it is good for, something to make me trust you and trust that this item is fit for purpose. Something super technical? Tell me after the main reasons, because if I need to explore technical specifications I will now read on as I want to buy from you.


Don’t show me a random 90’s eBay image for a logo if you are a large seller with professional photos and make the effort to hook me in with good titles and descriptions! I won’t remember you. I might go back to that seller I used a while back in this category. I was happy with my purchase, let me search for the same item I purchased back then to see if they have the item I want. I didn’t add you to my watch list, I wasn’t engaged with the full experience and you can go back in the search lottery when I try again. I do this OFTEN if I can’t find a seller that I like from an eBay search.


I don’t always go for the cheapest, however I consider VALUE a lot when I purchase online. This item is more expensive BUT…

If you are NOT the cheapest, tell me why and show me why in your pictures.

Cross Sell

Hmmm…this isn’t exactly what I needed, what else do you have similar or in the same category? If I can’t do THIS within the item description, I go back to the main search either on Google or eBay. The search lottery starts again!


Easy on marketplaces to judge reputation, but on a website I will NOT buy from a badly designed, old looking, out of date website. I think you don’t check your orders. I feel you might not comply with current regulations for payments. I worry. I hit the back button.

All of these things persuade me to BUY or NOT. I love to shop, sell to me and help me find you.

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Kidsonworks…more information

I have been working in the e-commerce sector since May 2000 starting with my own e-commerce business while I was a mere 20. My first major market was the USA. As a retailer I have sold personally from my own enterprise on eBay, Amazon and Website (I built the website myself) successfully but then in 2005 I switched my main career as a chemist to helping others sell online. It has been my passion and addiction ever since.

So what can I help you with?

eBay Design
Amazon Webstore Design and Integration
Shopping cart system design and integration (Magento/Vendio/Big Commerce etc)
Multichannel/Multi Marketplace Listing Strategy and Implementation
Marketing Advice, consultancy and implimentation
E-Business management

and anything else relating to e-business you can think of, but these are my key areas. However, I am open to your ideas and projects you may have.

You will see the content grow as well as showcases in the coming weeks and I will update this post with links.

Of course, ‘how much?’ is the key questions. Well my rates are simple and I base the work on the time the projects will take. All quotes are final, I will not add on ‘extras’ if something takes more time than I anticipated. That’s my fault, however new requests outside the original agreement will be quoted for and charged on an individual basis.

Rates for my time:

£25ph plus expenses if needed (If I need to travel to you or stay in a hotel etc) for consultancy, marketing, management and all other tasks that don’t include coding, development and high end integration.

£40ph for coding, development and high end integration which I normally conduct not on site. If I need to consult and plan a coding project with you the consultancy and development time will be charged at the lower rate.

I do discount for very large projects though which stretch over 6 weeks or more, or regular maintenance agreements.

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Why you should sponsor Channeladvisor Catalyst…

I did think about writing what was learnt at CA catalyst this year, but as Tamebay do this already – I thought I would put my sponsor head on and detail for potential new sponsors why Createyourtemplate has bothered these past 3 years 🙂

1. The food – you are always fed ‘n’ watered well as a sponsor and attendee at Channeladvisor events. This year we had more time for the feeding process (which so happened to be in the room with all the sponsors) so as people eat they like to talk, so potential clients will wander round with their coffee chatting to other attendees and to the sponsors.

2. Other third party providers – Catalyst is always good to catch up with our fellow third party providers and competitors (Grrrrr…arrrrg) to see how they are fairing in business and exchange experiences.

In the Channeladvisor world the third party provider space is not that huge, so we all get to know one another. When you have a network of trusted service providers you can recommend to your existing clients, we all bounce off one another. Even companies who on the face of it are direct competitors, are not normally carbon copies of each other. They can offer and lend services so that the client gets what they need.

3. Other third party providers, that don’t sponsor also attend the event – I negotiated a nice deal and introduction to a newer marketplace (playtrade) that would suit the direction one of my clients is taking. He will be happy with this 🙂

4. Potential clients – it’s why us sponsors go really, to get business. The good thing with potential and current ChannelAdvisor clients is that they are pre qualified. When you are speaking to a potential they are interested in moving forward and contracting a company to make this happen.

5. Networking – Talking e-commerce with a few free alcoholic beverages in you is fun. You meet new friends and clients in a more relaxed atmosphere.

6. Ideas – potential clients are brimming with ideas, information and enthusiasm after all the seminars and speakers. They are in the MOOD, and ready to make waves with the help of us sponsors perhaps?

7. CA Staff – I spoke to lots of CA staff, to catch up with personally and to speak about clients. Lots of new introductions too. I had a demo of their new ‘salesforce’ offering which a client of mine wants us to integrate in his store and eBay design. I also got a pair of fresh eyes on a clients SearchAdvisor account because it is driving sales and traffic to a store designed by us. We want the store to be excellent in all things and we take conversion very seriously 🙂

Well that is what as a sponsor and eBay/E-commerce design company, CA catalyst means to me.

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