Optimising eBay Listings for Mobile Shoppers

Research has shown that the average human’s attention span has recently decreased from twelve seconds to just eight due to the mobile revolution. This means that it is more important than ever to make a successful first impression. Optimising listings for mobile users is a vital part of this, especially since around 55% of eBay transactions involve a mobile device. This total is increasing every year alongside the popularity of eBay’s Android and iOS apps.

The Meaning of Mobile Optimisation

Think of optimisation as transforming a listing to make it more ‘mobile friendly.’ Mobile devices, such as cell phones or tablets, have much smaller screens than desktops and laptops. Optimisation makes sure that a listing still looks good and works well when viewed on a smaller screen. eBay automatically renders (transforms) a listing from the desktop version to a mobile version when viewed on such a device (or via the eBay app) but there are a number of simple and easy actions a seller can take to make their listing look even better.

Mobile Optimisation – What To Do

  • Enhance photos – Cropping photos tightly so that the item fills the frame makes the best use of limited space. Large (800-1600 pixels), high resolution images are preferable for mobile listings as the zoom feature is automatically enabled and can be used to see every detail.
  • Short and sweet description – Keep it simple and to the point, using bullet points if appropriate. There are various third party eBay listing templates that allow two different descriptions to be shown – a longer one for desktop/laptop users and a shorter, summarised version for mobile shoppers. Consider whether your store would benefit from a responsive template such as this.
  • Test your description eBay’s Mobile Friendly Test is a quick way to make sure a description is optimised properly. Most importantly, the viewport (the user’s visible area of a page) must be set properly and eBay offers the code to correct this if needed.
  • Simple layout – Use black text on a white background for a clean, easy to read look. Don’t include unnecessary HTML in the description as it is not likely to transfer to the mobile version of the listing properly.
  • Use product identifiers and the eBay catalog – In applicable categories, it is recommended to use Product Identifiers. This allows eBay to prefill many listing fields quickly and helps buyers find listings more easily. In some categories on eBay.com, using Product Identifiers was a requirement from June 2016 onwards.
  • Accept PayPal –  The vast majority of sellers already do, but it is worth mentioning that since PayPal is integrated into the eBay apps it makes payment especially easy for shoppers, faster and less complicated than using a credit card. Remember that eight second attention span….

Mobile Optimisation – What Not To Do

  • Insert photos into the listing description – There are two reasons not to do this. The first is that shoppers generally are not scrolling that far down the page to see photos here. Secondly, the picture are unlikely to render properly to the mobile version anyway.
  • Use active content – JavaScript, Flash and plug-ins are all considered active content and will be limited on eBay.com beginning June 2017. According to eBay, active content can ‘negatively impact the user experience by inhibiting mobile purchasing, increasing page load times, and increasing security vulnerabilities.’
  • Double up on information – Avoid wasted text and be sure not to repeat information in the description already found elsewhere in the listing. There are dedicated sections for returns, shipping and item condition already, with the latter having a 1000 character limit available.
  • Use small text – Don’t forget that mobile users are working with a much smaller screen. Zooming in and out to read different sections of text is quickly frustrating, so always use a larger font size (14 is ideal) in your mobile listings.

By using the above tips and tricks, eBay sellers can take advantage of the mobile shopping boom and potentially improve their profits. Keep in mind though, as the number of mobile shoppers and transactions continues to increase, there will undoubtedly be more techniques and solutions to optimise eBay listings better for mobile users.