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Online Marketplace Best Practice: Creating Listings

Date: November 28, 2014

Category: Opinion piece


Author: David Smith

In the second of a series of best practice posts, GS1 UK offers Q&A guidance on some of the fundamental elements to help you trade on online marketplaces successfully.

What is a listing?

Speaking generally and in relation to marketplaces only, a listing is an offer against a product that is comprised of a price and availability (such as immediate or 2-3 week dispatch). It may also include information on the condition of the product if it is not brand new – for example ‘missing instructions’ or ‘slight wear and tear on the corners’. A listing usually does not contain any product-specific information.

Please note, however, that eBay generally combines the notions of products and listings (referred to collectively as ‘listings’), so you create and manage the product information and listing information using the same process on their site.

They do unify listings in some product categories, such as DVDs, where eBay provides the standard product information as a base for the listings.

Top Tip: Don’t be afraid to list against the same products as Amazon does (they are the only marketplace with a competing retail business). Amazon can go out of stock like anyone else.

Creating bulk listings

Each marketplace has template files that you can use to create listings in bulk. These can usually be obtained via your seller account or from the marketplace directly.

How should availability be handled?

The availability specified in your listing is used towards creating a promise to any customer placing an order against it. It is therefore critical that the availability you specify is accurate, so that you do not fail the customer promise, which can impact your sales levels if it results in poor feedback from your customers.

Each marketplace has guidelines on which availability options are offered to merchants – whether they require you to have items on hand or allow you to offer longer lead times to customers. They will also have a policy on where merchants can geographically ship items from and may provide pre-determined lead times on how long, for example, it will take to ship an item from Germany to the UK.

Top Tip: Maximise the opportunities you create to put your product in the hands of customers via availability. Consider using as many of the postage options the marketplace allows you to use as possible, opening up your geographical shipping policy and assessing which inventory is available to you directly or via drop-shippers.

If you would like more information on selling on online marketplaces, GS1 UK recently published a guide to support small traders. You can download a copy here.