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Item specifics 101

By a contributor   
November 04, 2021

Item Specifics are the key to any seller’s success on eBay. If you are looking to up your listings game, this should be your key focus. Learn the basics of what they are and why they are so important, so you can make the most of them and reap the benefits today! 


What are item specifics? 

Item specifics are essentially the product details of the items you sell. Brand, type, size, colour and other relevant data. This information is displayed on the left-hand side of search results pages and used as filters for shoppers to narrow down their searches. By populating this data, you can be sure that you will not be filtered out of relevant search results, boosting your rankings and visibility both on internal and external search engines. 


Why use item specifics?    

Listings with highly populated item specifics are immediately more visible on eBay as they eliminate the chance of being filtered out for relevant searches. This is because the filters help users narrow down their choices of the items they are searching for. Listings in some verticals will be filtered more often than others. For example, eBay states that buyers looking for fashion items are 65% more likely to use filters (and therefore item specifics) on their searches.  It is also increasingly popular for buyers to shop on their mobile phones, in this case, it would be even more important for these customers to be able to drill down in search to find the items that suit their needs. We know updating item specifics can be time-consuming, and that they are ever-changing. That is why our Aspect Finder+ tool in particular is great for saving time. Especially now that our Bulk Update feature is live. 


The four types of item specifics 

There are 4 types of item specifics to familiarise yourself with. They are all worth knowing about, and you should make the most of them. To do so, it is best to know which ones to prioritise and which to come back to when you have more time.



Required item specifics are those deemed mandatory by eBay. You must enter these as a bare minimum requirement. There is no option to opt-out of populating these, you will be required to do so when creating these listings, there’s no way around it. These have been selected as they will ensure a reasonable standard for the shoppers’ experience, going beyond this is certainly beneficial, but not essential. If required values are incomplete, eBay will return an error such as “The item specific colour is missing.  Add colour to this listing, enter a valid value and then try again.”  Once this has been resolved, your listings will become visible in searches filtered with this item specific. 


Required Soon  

If an item specific is Required Soon, it means that they are not compulsory, but will be in the near future. This means that eBay have detected a trend and influx of traffic to listings with these filters and it would benefit you massively to populate them. eBay set required changes to item specifics a few times a year for sellers in certain verticals on the marketplace. It is worth taking the time to populate these item specifics before they become mandatory and you will start to see the benefits before the deadline. 

Take comfort in knowing that your items are regularly being searched for and add item specifics to your selling strategy. This information can help you stay ahead. Optiseller’s Buyer Demand Indicator can help you to prioritise where to make changes first. This 1-5 star rating gives you insight into the amount of traffic coming to listings like yours and what they are looking for. If you miss the mandate deadline, you risk not being able to revise the price or stock of the listing after the deadline for the change, which could impact your sales and revenue.   



Recommended item specifics are optional but are worth populating to provide extra information to your buyers. Again, if it is a recommendation then this means that buyers are still using these item specifics regularly to shop with. Making the most of these values can enhance your search visibility across the eBay marketplace, leading to an increase in both traffic and sales. Recommended attributes are ranked from most to least searched, so you will see the most critical item specifics at the top (our Buyer Demand tool can help you with this). We recommend that you complete these as they can be the difference between a buyer ordering from you, or your competitor.  



Additional item specifics are also optional and provide further details about your listings to potential buyers.  These values are not as highly searched as Recommended but should not be ignored, make sure to populate these where possible, because buyers may also be using them. Like the Recommended item specifics, the additional item specifics are ranked in order of most to least searched. This means that the item specifics that users filter with most frequently are at the top. We recommend that you populate them if and when you can.  



We hope that this has helped you to understand what item specifics are, as well as how and why you should populate them. The bottom line is, the more item specifics you use, the more views and sales your listings will receive. You should also do your best to keep them updated and in line with eBay’s most recent mandates due February 2022. The best way to tick these boxes is to use Optiseller's Aspect Finder + tool. Find out today how it can help you automate the process – and save you time and money. 


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