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Selling on online marketplaces best practice

The product creation process

There are many elements to consider when looking to trade on online marketplaces. In the first of a series of best practice articles, we offer guidance on some of these fundamental elements to help you trade successfully. The focus for this article: the product creation process.

Do I need to create products on marketplaces?

In general, this depends on whether that product information already exists on the marketplace. If it does, you should be able to just create a listing against the product. If it does not, you will need to create a product record, containing all the necessary information about the item to inform customers about what they are being sold. 

How do I create products on marketplaces?

If you are required to create product pages on marketplaces, you will find that the process is slightly different for each site. In general, you will have options available to you where you can either upload products one-by-one or in bulk using a text file. The templates for these are different for each site and are provided by each marketplace directly to you. Aside from eBay, or special privileges assigned to large/approved merchants on other marketplaces, your products will usually go through an approval process, which can vary in timescale. 

What attributes do I need to add to my products?

A product attribute is a descriptive element of a product, such as colour. Each marketplace differs on the attributes that can be added for each product category. There are numerous template files available from each marketplace that list out the fields available for each product category where you can sell items. There is usually a combination of compulsory and optional fields to populate.

When deciding whether to populate the optional fields or not, consider whether this information is likely to be helpful for customers who are considering purchasing the item. 

What if I do not have all of the compulsory product information to hand?

If you are the manufacturer of the product, you have access to the physical product and should be able to create the product information. There may be a cost associated with doing this from use of your resources or from outsourcing this as a service. 

If you are a product reseller, you will need to contact the original manufacturer (or your supplier) to obtain the product information. If you are having difficulty with product data, we have a range of tools available to help you – contact us to find out more.

What information do the marketplace search engines index about my product/listing?

The search engines on marketplace sites do not search through entire product records when a user inputs a keyword or phrase. They focus on indexing only particular fields, which saves time and keeps the search results more relevant for users. Typically they index the product title, brand, author/artist/key actors and related search terms that have been added to the product during the product creation process. 

The importance of product images and good quality product data

It is worth spending time creating good quality product data on a marketplace. Product information is your way of marketing to customers and needs to be accurate and compelling. Bad images, too-brief descriptions or absence of key product attributes may put customers off. 

In general, marketplaces insist on at least one image per product and have guidelines on the formatting they require.

Good practice for image creation is as follows:

  • White background – gives a clean look and optimises clarity of the product
  • Think big – most sites have zoom capability so ensure you provide an image that can be cleanly enlarged without pixilation
  • Additional images – if your product looks markedly different at different angles, these are likely to be of interest to customers so add multiple images – the major marketplaces all allow this at no extra charge
  • Standard format – JPG format is usually preferred
  • Keep it clean – avoid including borders, logos, watermarks or props. Marketplaces usually have policies that restrict this but it is also aesthetically preferable to leave these out. If possible, show the product outside its packaging too
  • Professional quality – the quality of the image is an opportunity to build credibility and confidence with the customer so opt for a good standard to ensure you are perceived as a professional organisation. Make sure the image is in focus and well-lit

If you would like more information on selling on online marketplaces, read our full guide for selling on online marketplaces.