eBay has not launched the functionality that does that and just announced it publicly for the first time yesterday. For those not familiar with all of the stuff they announced, I suggest you read these links:
and for more details on the variation listings:
We have been in discussions with them about this functionality since last June, but they've just gotten to the point that they publicly announced it and we can talk about it. We're in the middle of doing work now to support it and plan to have support available as eBay makes it live and available to users.
Please keep in mind that the initial availability of the functionality in mid to late June is ONLY going to support the Men's and Women's Shoes categories in the US, UK, and a few other countries and then expand to other Clothing categories and a limited number of Home and Garden categories in mid to late July:
[quote]Multi-variation Fixed Price listings are scheduled to be available in Men's and Women's Shoes the week of June 15, and in other applicable Clothing, Shoes, & Accessories and Home & Garden categories in mid-July.[/quote]
Variations will use information configured in the Item Specifics, so if you're not configuring this information you should go ahead and make the effort now to have it on your items and make sure it is properly mapped on the posting template and/or the ad so that it is submitted to eBay with your items.
We're going to make every effort to make it easy and seamless for you to submit that information as eBay opens the categories for variations. As we've done with Amazon M@ listings, we can take the information you've already configured to define the parent/child relationship in inventory and use that to properly identify the variations to submit in a listing. Rather than making you configure a lot of additional information specifically for the eBay listing, we can use the information you've already configured for the parent/child inventory information and the item specifics to define everything necessary to get the items live at eBay. That way you won't have to do anything extra and will immediately get the benefit as any categories you use are opened for variation listings.
If you have any questions or thoughts on what you'd like to see, please let us know. We're in design and development cycles on the feature right now, so we can incorporate any feedback for initial or subsequent versions of the development.
Thank you for all the info, Marshall.
I had not read the fine print that it will only start in shoes, etc. I think your tactic of using the existing parent/child info. is definitely the way to go. We are already populating all that info. for Amazon, so not having to repeat it would be fabulous.
Also, if you could continue to enable the use of template tags everywhere possible, that helps a great deal as well.
Thanks much, and keep us posted on the progress!
The ultimate goal is that you don't have to do anything in addition to what you do today, so the configuration of item specifics would be the same and there would be nothing new or additional that would need to be configured. We're still digging into the design and implementation, but that's the goal we've set out as a starting point for everything that we're doing.
For people in other categories outside Clothing and Home and Garden, while you might see your category enabled later in 2009, I'm thinking that we won't see wider support of the functionality until 2010 so that some time can be spent to refine and improve it in the Clothing and Home and Garden categories before exposing it everywhere.
Do you have any more info on how this will work on the eBay end? At the moment, for example with shoes, you would submit a size as an item specific. But if that listing is for shoes size 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11 then how does eBay know what to return in BM? ie You can only submit 1 size as an item specific.
Do you put all those sizes in the item title too?
Just curious as to how it will work.
What they're going to do is consider all of those to be a single eBay listing. The Best Match algorithm will hit on all of those item specific values because each of the children will have their size, so all of them are considered to be valid as part of the listing. The title will not show the sizes, but filtering by the values in the left navigation will find the items as long as that size is one of the children in your listing.
You can see the example here in search results how they're showing all of the variations that are available within the listing:
From their information there's also this:
[quote][b]How do multi-variation listings work with Best Match?[/b]
As with all Fixed Price listings, Best Match looks at a number of factors: Recent sales, seller track record including detailed seller ratings (DSRs) and buyer satisfaction rating, title relevance, and item cost, including shipping cost.
In a multi-variation Fixed Price listing, each variation has its own Best Match score. Which score is used depends on how the buyer searches. The position of the listing in search is based on the highest Best Match score of the variations that match the buyer's search. [/quote]
Ultimately, there will likely be several iterations on this process as eBay gets more experience with real world usage and enhances the system, but there are a lot of common questions answered on that main description page that announced the feature. One of the nicer things is that there's just a single listing fee for the listing instead of one for each of the children, so people that can take advantage of it should see a nice reduction in their listing fees.
but what if the item specifics don't accommodate the size type of the product? for example, some of our men's costume shoes come in small, medium, large, etc. or 7/8, 9/10, 11/12. when i try to put those values in custom item specifics, i get posting errors. although these items are currently in parent-child relationship within CA for posting onto amazon and our website, but if ebay maps variations based on item specifics then those styles won't be able to vary by size on ebay?
If you get posting errors, those are the "old" item specifics styles. The Custom Item Specifics will allow any value you want to submit. eBay is going to be converting the fields from the old style to the new style before the launch of variations, so you'll be able to submit anything you want for those values.
I wanted to make everyone aware that we have published information in the How To section on how to prepare your CA account for listing using eBay variation-style listings. The article is found here: http://ssc.ChannelAdvisor.com/howto/supporting-variation-style-listings-ebay
Note on June 15 this is for Shoes category only.
We've just added additional detailed information here:
We're monitoring with eBay on the initial launch for Shoes. If you've expressed interest in being part of the initial beta test launch for the shoes category, you should have received an email earlier today with more information.
We've just contacted our ebay account rep. it looks like the multi variation listings are available for more than shoes category. What is ETA on implementing this with ChannelAdvisor? Thank you.
Send in a request and ask to be enabled and we can enable your account to list in variations. There are some minor limitations we're working on right now that we want to address before declaring it ready for everyone, but it's fully functional and available today. Just be aware of the known limitations that are listed here:
We're planning to have the key one listed there (adding quantity after selling out of a specific child) in the August release, along with some other variations processing improvements to enhance the functionality based on initial feedback and live seller experience. We've already got a number of people that are listing variation items both in the shoe categories and outside of the shoes in the newest enabled categories.
For reference, the enabled categories are also listed on that SSC page. Currently it is everything in Clothing, Shoes, and Accessories and limited categories in Home and Garden in both the US and UK. There are also enabled categories in Ireland and Germany for sellers in those countries.
OK, we are keen to do this... But on reading the... 'Things might go a bit wrong' part of the instructions plus the limitations, we are a bit scared.
Therefore we only want to do products on a limited 'dipping ones toe in the water' basis, however we have been assigning stock to parent items for a while now in preparation for this and also to help in other areas.
From what I read the only way to stop a product being 'assimilated' and posted as a variation one the account is enabled is for it to fail the criteria selection. i.e it would have to:
If it passes all the criteria, it is going to get stuck on ebay as variation... like it or not. So in order to limit testing with either have to de-select items from variations or ensure that similar items posting templates are different?
Is this correct
I had assumed in my naievety that there would have been either a schedule or posting template with a check box or the like to say 'post as variation' to prevent Mass Varaition Conversion syndrome (you will not find this in medical dictionary).
Is my reading of this situation correct, or is there something simple I can do to only post items that I want to post as variations, bearing in mind approx 66% od our items are in varaition relationships?
If they're on a different posting template from the other children or are not on a schedule they will not be automatically picked up and submitted as a variation relationship. You could remove the schedule from the other children and they won't be automatically picked up since the processing logic won't see the other children as items that should be submitted to eBay.
Personally, my thought on it is to turn it on for your account for a day or two and see what the results look like. If you don't like it or need to make some changes or just want to watch those process for a while, then turn it off and watch the transactions that process forward from there. As to the last major issue about adding sold out children back to the parent listing if there is still available quantity in inventory, that should be available in the August release. In the meantime, you can generally avoid that by submitting a larger quantity in the listings so it is unlikely for any child to sell out. The instructions were written with the first release that we did in the June timeframe, and additional feedback from that and improvements in the July release have done a lot to improve processing, but you have to realize that this is a completely new system to eBay, us, you, and the buyers. We can't be completely confident that eBay's search results will find your items properly or that the buyers will understand how to purchase them. Our experience over the last 40 days looks positive, so I would recommend trying it out with your information. If you really wanted to be on the conservative side of things, you could enable variations, use "Post Now" on a few items (you only need to pick one child from each variation parent/child group) and then turn off variations on your account.
Our current decision to place it at the account level was to make it very easy for you to turn the functionality on and off, ultimately expecting that sellers would either want to support it or not at an account level and not configure each item and/or posting template individually. Aside from this initial conversion process and the launch of the functionality, that still seems to be the general perspective that I hear from customers and is the same way that data is processed when sent to your store or to Amazon.
Thanks Marshall, I was making sure I hadn't missed the easy option. Reading around this topic there seems a lot that can go wrong so we wanted to limit testing, If it goes OK then yes chuck it all on as variation until then....
I decided not to try the beta version of this because CA's compatibility with eBay's variation relationship listings still had some issues. Just wondering if those issues have been resolved yet. Primarily:
1. When listing a quantity of 1 for each size within a parent and the child listing is sold or otherwise ended, when that child SKU relists, it will cause an entirely new listing with a new set of available child SKUs. Has CA been able to adjust this to make a new listing add to the existing parent set?
2. Similar to above, when a previously non existent size now becomes available in inventory and is added to an existing parent SKU, will CA be able to add that new size to the existing eBay listing and group it with other child SKUs that have the same parent?
1. Rather than create a duplicate listing, it will now result in an error message. This was a change in the 11 July release.
Both of these will be addressed in the 15 August release. I just finished some of the work on them last Friday and have been testing the functionality today.
So in the first scenario, if I have a shoe SKU with sizes 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 listed under the same parent listing with a quantity of 1 each, and size 8 sells, if the size 8 tries to relist I will get an error message? So how would I relist the size 8 with the rest of the other sizes that are already up? or do I have to wait until each size is sold before I can relist the child SKUs under that parent again?
Marshall, is it posible to create our own variations? We sell belts and sizes go from Small to XLarge, but ebay only has sizes 29-30, 30-31, etc.
It is posible to create variations if we try to launch an item via ebay's interface but i cannot find that functionality in CA.
Under the current implementation, you would need to wait until the original listing concludes because time runs out or all of the children sell out. If it attempts to post via the schedule or Post Now, you will get an error that its siblings are already open and it was prevented from creating a second variation listing. You can avoid that by posting with multiple quantity in the original listing so an individual child is unlikely to sell out in the meantime.
After the 15 August code update, the child will be added back to the existing open listing automatically. It's a more complex procedure to add them into existing listings, so we wanted to make sure we took the time and have it working properly before putting it out there.
You may use any of the item specifics fields on the posting template for that category to create a variation. We do not support the ability for you to define completely abstract values that aren't already in the recommended list of item specifics defined by eBay. Because of how these are used in the search engine, it is to your greatest advantage to use as much of the defined information from eBay as possible as that is what they use in the search engine for buyers to filter and find their items. If you're looking for some special action that you have to take to enable your listing to be in variations, there isn't any -- we'll automatically take your information and put it together with the proper elements in a variation style listing when submitting it to eBay. All you have to do is select the checkbox on the Marketplace Account Settings page next to your eBay information to tell us that you want to process in variations for your items. If you don't see the checkbox and would like to submit items in variations, just submit a support ticket to get that enabled for your account. We're currently limiting the number of people that are using it to get feedback on the implementation but are planning to open it up to everyone with the 15 August release.
Marshall, we have already enabled the multi variation listings in our account. The problem that we are having is:
we sell belts that have sizes like 28-30, 30-32, etc, 2 inch difference between sizes. Ebay's variations are following 28-29, 29-30, 30-31, etc.
Is it posible to assign one sku to more than one variations? so for example our belt size 28-30 will be good under ebay sizes 28-29, 29-30
If it's not posible, then maybe you can suggest some better way of tackling this. thank you.
Since eBay is not allowing any value into that field, I would suggest selecting the closest applicable value for each of your items. It's unfortunate, as they really should release the grip on some of these value lists and let users submit those values that are appropriate for their items. For belts, it should really just be 28, 30, 32, 34, etc. As it is now, I would select "29-30" for the 28-30 and "31-32" for the 30-32 that you have -- I'd be having the upper length measurement match, because they'll still fit people. If you go with the lower measurement, you could get someone that's a size 30 buying a 29 that isn't quite going to fit well.
If you have a contact at eBay, you could also file a complaint with them to see if they can get the values or the restriction limitations changed. I filed some complaints about the values in Men's Shoes when we first started and while they didn't change it the way I wanted, they at least did get some changes to the value list that solved many of the user problems I was seeing.
Thanks for the updates Marshall. Tim mentioned that he's using this feature with belts. Has eBay opened up variation listings to the entire apparel category?
Yes. They opened to all Clothing, Shoes and Accessories and most of the Home & Garden categories in mid-July. We've had full support for those categories since then.