How To

Automatically Configuring Categories for eBay Listings

eBay requires that each listing be submitted into a category that properly defines the product and can be used to accurately classify the type of item available for purchase. Selecting an appropriate category for each ad can be a time-consuming and tiring process. With the automatic category lookup, that process can be automated to determine appropriate categories for each item and configure the category value on each ad.

This option is automatically active for all QuickStart users and is an option for Custom users.

Get additional information in our tip sheet "Product Categorization Made Easy with ChannelAdvisor" which you can download below:

 

Using Automatic Category Lookup


Once activated, the functionality will automatically discover category information for ads that do not yet have a category configured. The category information will be determined based on the title of the SKU, using the title to determine an appropriate category for the listing. Once identified, the category will be assigned to both the Ad and to the Inventory item in an attribute named EBAY_CATEGORY_ID , with the name of the category assigned to the attribute EBAY_CATEGORY_SUGGESTION . In the event that an appropriate category cannot be determined, the SKU will be flagged with a message included on the flag that a category could not be identified.

If the title does not describe the item with sufficient detail, the categorization process may not pick them most appropriate category for the listing. It is important to ensure that your category has an appropriate level of detail in order to define the product, both for the category lookup process as well as ensuring buyers can find the item quickly and accurately when they search on eBay. To update the category value, you may either modify the category information to the appropriate category value or have the category lookup search again once you have added additional information to the title of the product. To flag the lookup to search for a category again, remove the existing category information.  Custom users should remove the category that is assigned on the ad and QuickStart users should remove the value in the EBAY_CATEGORY_ID product attribute.

To use the category lookup for your ads, just create ads without any eBay category information assigned. You should still assign a Posting Template, Description Template, and Schedule. Because there is no category (which is required for a successful listing), the schedule will not activate. The Category Lookup process will detect that no category has been configured on the ad, discover a category based on the title of the SKU, and assign that category to the ad. Once the category has been discovered and assigned, the schedule will automatically activate and submit the product to eBay. No further processing is required.

This does not affect the eBay Store Category (custom categories you have created for your own eBay storefront). If you would like your item submitted into specific eBay store categories, you must still configure those values.

 

Activating Automatic Category Lookup


To activate the Automatic Category Lookup, go to Marketplaces > eBay > Settings > eBay Settings > Listings. From there, scroll to the Automatic Category Lookup section and select the option. Once saved, the Category Lookup functionality will automatically check your ads at periodic intervals to identify those which need a category assigned. Any ad discovered which is missing a category will go through the Category Lookup process to determine a category and update the information stored on the ad and the product to associate it with the selected category.

 

Common Questions and Answers


Q: Are there any scenarios where Automatic Category Lookup should not be enabled?

A: Yes, there are two scenarios where we would not recommend enabling automatic category lookup:

  • If you wish to have complete control over which categories your items are listed in, you should not use Automatic Category lookup and should configure your categories in ChannelAdvisor on your own.
  • If you list adult items, you should not use Automatic Category lookup. eBay does not allow adult items for use with Automatic Category lookup. If the product is recognized as an adult item, ChannelAdvisor will receive an error. The SKU will have a yellow flag assigned, and you’ll see this error in the “eBay_Category_Suggestion” attribute: “ERROR: Search Error Occurred. Query String Contains Adult Words”. If the product is not recognized as an adult item, an inappropriate category may be suggested, and put you at risk of receiving an eBay policy violation.
     

Q: Can Automatic Category Lookup help with invalid categories?

A: Yes, if Automatic Category Lookup is enabled and ChannelAdvisor receives an error from eBay indicating that the configured category is invalid, the following actions will happen:

  • The currently configured category value will be removed and replaced with the category suggestion from Automatic Category Lookup.
  • The item will then be posted with the new category, all without any action required from the seller.

Please keep in mind that Automatic Category Lookup will only correct invalid categories in ChannelAdvisor, not outdated ones. Occasionally, eBay will change the number for a category, and the configured category in ChannelAdvisor will no longer be up to date. Unfortunately, eBay doesn’t give ChannelAdvisor an error message if an outdated category number is sent because there is usually enough legacy information left behind the scenes for the item to still get posted to the correct category. Since ChannelAdvisor is unable to automatically detect when a category number is out of date, Automatic Category Lookup can’t be used to correct it.
 

Q: How does Automatic Category Lookup function if there are multiple ads for the same SKU? (eBay Custom only)

A: With eBay Custom, it is possible to create multiple ads for the same SKU. If a SKU has multiple ads, and at least one ad does not have a category assigned, Automatic Category Lookup will be triggered for the SKU. The new category value will overwrite the category values for all existing ads for this SKU.

eBay requires that each listing be submitted into a category that properly defines the product and can be used to accurately classify the type of item available for purchase. Selecting an appropriate category for each ad can be a time-consuming and tiring process. With the automatic category lookup, that process can be automated to determine appropriate categories for each item and configure the category value on each ad.

This option is automatically active for all QuickStart users and is an option for Custom users.

Get additional information in our tip sheet "Product Categorization Made Easy with ChannelAdvisor" which you can download below:

 

Using Automatic Category Lookup


Once activated, the functionality will automatically discover category information for ads that do not yet have a category configured. The category information will be determined based on the title of the SKU, using the title to determine an appropriate category for the listing. Once identified, the category will be assigned to both the Ad and to the Inventory item in an attribute named EBAY_CATEGORY_ID , with the name of the category assigned to the attribute EBAY_CATEGORY_SUGGESTION . In the event that an appropriate category cannot be determined, the SKU will be flagged with a message included on the flag that a category could not be identified.

If the title does not describe the item with sufficient detail, the categorization process may not pick them most appropriate category for the listing. It is important to ensure that your category has an appropriate level of detail in order to define the product, both for the category lookup process as well as ensuring buyers can find the item quickly and accurately when they search on eBay. To update the category value, you may either modify the category information to the appropriate category value or have the category lookup search again once you have added additional information to the title of the product. To flag the lookup to search for a category again, remove the existing category information.  Custom users should remove the category that is assigned on the ad and QuickStart users should remove the value in the EBAY_CATEGORY_ID product attribute.

To use the category lookup for your ads, just create ads without any eBay category information assigned. You should still assign a Posting Template, Description Template, and Schedule. Because there is no category (which is required for a successful listing), the schedule will not activate. The Category Lookup process will detect that no category has been configured on the ad, discover a category based on the title of the SKU, and assign that category to the ad. Once the category has been discovered and assigned, the schedule will automatically activate and submit the product to eBay. No further processing is required.

This does not affect the eBay Store Category (custom categories you have created for your own eBay storefront). If you would like your item submitted into specific eBay store categories, you must still configure those values.

 

Activating Automatic Category Lookup


To activate the Automatic Category Lookup, go to Marketplaces > eBay > Settings > eBay Settings > Listings. From there, scroll to the Automatic Category Lookup section and select the option. Once saved, the Category Lookup functionality will automatically check your ads at periodic intervals to identify those which need a category assigned. Any ad discovered which is missing a category will go through the Category Lookup process to determine a category and update the information stored on the ad and the product to associate it with the selected category.

 

Common Questions and Answers


Q: Are there any scenarios where Automatic Category Lookup should not be enabled?

A: Yes, there are two scenarios where we would not recommend enabling automatic category lookup:

  • If you wish to have complete control over which categories your items are listed in, you should not use Automatic Category lookup and should configure your categories in ChannelAdvisor on your own.
  • If you list adult items, you should not use Automatic Category lookup. eBay does not allow adult items for use with Automatic Category lookup. If the product is recognized as an adult item, ChannelAdvisor will receive an error. The SKU will have a yellow flag assigned, and you’ll see this error in the “eBay_Category_Suggestion” attribute: “ERROR: Search Error Occurred. Query String Contains Adult Words”. If the product is not recognized as an adult item, an inappropriate category may be suggested, and put you at risk of receiving an eBay policy violation.
     

Q: Can Automatic Category Lookup help with invalid categories?

A: Yes, if Automatic Category Lookup is enabled and ChannelAdvisor receives an error from eBay indicating that the configured category is invalid, the following actions will happen:

  • The currently configured category value will be removed and replaced with the category suggestion from Automatic Category Lookup.
  • The item will then be posted with the new category, all without any action required from the seller.

Please keep in mind that Automatic Category Lookup will only correct invalid categories in ChannelAdvisor, not outdated ones. Occasionally, eBay will change the number for a category, and the configured category in ChannelAdvisor will no longer be up to date. Unfortunately, eBay doesn’t give ChannelAdvisor an error message if an outdated category number is sent because there is usually enough legacy information left behind the scenes for the item to still get posted to the correct category. Since ChannelAdvisor is unable to automatically detect when a category number is out of date, Automatic Category Lookup can’t be used to correct it.
 

Q: How does Automatic Category Lookup function if there are multiple ads for the same SKU? (eBay Custom only)

A: With eBay Custom, it is possible to create multiple ads for the same SKU. If a SKU has multiple ads, and at least one ad does not have a category assigned, Automatic Category Lookup will be triggered for the SKU. The new category value will overwrite the category values for all existing ads for this SKU.

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