Despite being introduced to eBay only several months ago, it is now compulsory for all eBay sellers to use product identifiers when listing brand new and manufactured refurbished items, within specific categories.
This change will help eBay transition to a more catalogue-based selling environment, and will enable the marketplace to raise the visibility of relevant listings, simply helping buyers find your products faster, in-turn helping you boost exposure and sales.
While use of these product identifiers have been required for single item listings since June 2015, it is only now that it has been required for both listings with variations and good till cancelled listings as well, within the following categories:
- Books, Comics & Magazines
- Business, Office & Industrial
- Cameras & Photography
- Clothes, Shoes & Accessories
- Coins (only supplies & equipments)
- Collectable (only trains/railway models)
- Computers/Tablets & Networking
- Dolls & Bears
- DVDs, Films & TV
- Garden & Patio
- Health & Beauty
- Home, Furniture & DIY
- Jewellery & Watches
- Mobile Phones & Communication
- Musical Instruments
- Pet Supplies
- Sound & Vision
- Sporting Goods
- Stamps (only publications & supplies)
- Toys & Games
- Vehicle Parts & Accessories
- Video Games & Consoles
What exactly are Product Identifiers?
Specifically, Product Identifiers include:
- The brand name of an item
- The manufacturer part number (MPN)
- Global trade item numbers (GTINs), which are assigned to most retail products and include:
- Universal product codes (UPCs)
- International standard book numbers (ISBNs)
- European article numbers (EANs)
In other words, they are unique identifiers that will be used to help eBay categorise new, branded products. Do bear in mind, however, that custom items and items produced before product identifiers were introduced in 1970, won't have unique product identifiers, and in these instances you should input "does not apply" or "unbranded" in the necessary field.
The benefits of using Product Identifiers
While there are in fact several benefits to using product identifiers, perhaps the biggest one is that they can increase your listing's visibility within the search results on eBay, and further help eBay listings rank higher on search engines including Google, Bing and Yahoo.
They also enable eBay to cross-promote your listings next to relevant products, and help ensure that your listings are accurate and efficient, by being able to auto-complete product details and categorisation. As if that isn't enough, it helps increase visibility in eBay deals, bargains and other promotions, and enables a trending price alert in view item, when your listings are priced lower than the trending price.
Where can you find your Product Identifiers?
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN) - An MPN is a series of letters and/or numbers, which have been given to a part by the manufacturer, helping to identify who it belongs to and where it originated from. This number helps manufacturers effectively manage their product inventory and product lines.
Universal Product Codes (UPCs) - UPCs are a 12 digit numerical identifier found on commercial products, typically below a barcode on retail merchandise.
International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) - The ISBN tends to be the easiest to locate, as it is commonly found both directly above the barcode, as well as in the first few pages of a book. This is either a 10 or 13 digit numerical identifier.
European Article Numbers (EANs) - EANs are often 13 numerical digits, although do bear in mind that they can be either 8 or 14 digits. Like with UPCs, EANs can be found below a barcode on retail merchandise, however you can differentiate them by the number of digits (UPCs will have 12).
By using a simple tool such as Barcode Lookup, you will be able to quickly and easily find out what type of GTIN each item is categorised as.
If you have your own branded products, you may need to purchase a GTIN from GS1. Find out more information on becoming a member of GS1, and how you can benefit from their expert support. Alternatively, if you're a Linnworks customer, find out how you can set up and work with eBay's Product Identifiers in Linnworks.