Active content eBay rules are about to change - are you ready?
Custom eBay store design is definitely an approach that is more than welcome if you wish to stick out amongst the competition on this marketplace. Since it is one of the most lucrative places to sell your goods, it is no wonder many e-sellers decided to beef their eBay stores up by adding various types of active content.
This is something that provided a much desired differentiator between them and their competitors, and the things seemed to be working out just perfectly.
Still, a big change will come with the eBay upgrade scheduled for the June 2017. Namely, the active content policy will change, and numerous features now widely used will simply be blocked!
The reason behind this decision is rather simple – too much of various active content being used pretty much slowed down the entire marketplace. The load speed decreased, there have been some issues with mobile versions of the stores, and the overall user experience has gotten worse significantly. In order to tackle these issues, eBay decided to put some order in the chaos.
The only way they saw fit for doing this was to enforce some changes when it comes to the active content policy. So, as from the June 2017, the standard eBay tools will replace the active content in several segments:
• Image galleries
• Tabbed panes
• Dispatch timer
• Drop down menus
• Dynamic categories
• Cross promotions
• Mobile menu
• Mobile layout
• Parts compatibility
• Video Content
Merchants on eBay often use custom made picture galleries. This feature can increase the loading times significantly.
Instead of the custom picture galleries, you should revert to the standard option provided by eBay. It allows uploading up to 12 images for every item, and contains some user friendly features such as automatic zoom.
Tabbed panes are often currently used to manage and organise information related to contact information, postage, delivery, and payment methods. Although it is a common place right now, it definitely causes some issues, and when it becomes a reality that eBay blocked loading mixed active content, all these tabbed panes will become unavailable.
The only way to tackle the issue will be using the standard listing fields provided by eBay.
Dispatch timer is often used in a form of active content, and helps track times for delivery and shipping. All the custom made dispatch timers will be disabled once the changes in eBay policies become active.
Drop Down Menus and Dynamic Categories
This is a part that really became one of the mainstays in custom eBay store design. So many merchants are using these features, that the announced change will affect a huge number of them. The solution to this problem is not that simple and definitely needs an expert help.
Cross promotions are often used to increase the sales. The only way to continue running them in your eBay stores after the June 2017 is to use the standard features provided by the marketplace.
Mobile Menu and Mobile Layout
A lot of merchants faced some serious issues with responsiveness of their websites due to the active content used. This was one of the major issues propelling the change in the active content policy on eBay, and ALL merchants will have to replace all the active content in their mobile versions if they want to remain available in cross-device mode.
Parts compatibility feature is quite specific and related mostly to the automotive industry, which makes quite a significant portion on eBay. The mixed active content needs to be replaced with the eBay parts compatibility tool or to be dealt with by simply embedding a HTML table with the complete list of compatible vehicles.
eBay is currently working on compatibility with the most important video hosting websites, and the standard video embedding feature will be available shortly. In the meantime, the only proper way to use video material is to use HTML 5 tags. The problem that is most obvious is that not all video hosting websites allow HTML 5 tags at the moment. This is the most vulnerable part of the entire change in technical terms, but it is expected that it will be resolved in an easier way very soon.
It all happens mostly because people tend to try and make active content on their own, or they hire web developers who lack the knowledge and the experience to create effective active content that works. Since these issues took epidemic proportions, eBay was simply forced to bring up new policies and enforce some order into its own business.
The issues that you need to think about if you are running your operations on eBay are as follows:
• What will happen if I don’t substitute active content?
• How will it affect my business?
• What should I do to get compliant with the new eBay policies?
• Is there anyone that could help me with the changes?
Failing to substitute active content
The result in this scenario is rather simple – ALL your active content will simply stop reproducing. No matter how important it is for the operations, it simply won’t display anymore. Now, you can just try to imagine your own eBay store without pictures, payment or shipping methods, or parts compatibility feature. The result is not pleasant at all.
Effects on your business
The effects on your business are dependent on the quantity of active content you used. If it relates only to simple and non-essential things such as videos, then the effects will not be devastating. You might experience a drop in sales, and that is all.
Still, if you are using mixed active content in majority of your store features, the effects will be much more serious. For example, if you have used a lot of it for the mobile version of your storefront, then your entire offer will not be available for any of the people visiting eBay from mobile devices. This is a huge portion of customers, and it will only increase in the future, so you can figure how much of a blow it would be to lose the access to them.
In the worst case scenario, if you used the active content for the essential things such as payment methods and shipping, the entire eBay store will become absolutely useless. Simply put – you will not be able to continue operating on eBay anymore!
How do you replace the active content in order to become compliant?
It means that you will have to use eBay templates a lot more in your content management system on eBay, and you will have to undertake a pretty massive work in order to erase all active content from your current eBay storefront. Depending on the volume of such content you have used so far, the volume of changes might be anywhere from just a few quick fixes to the entire storefront revamping.
Naturally, you need to take your own resources into consideration as well. If you are well versed in web development and you know how eBay operates in the back end, it should not be too much of a problem for you to make all the necessary changes.
If we are to be realistic about this – you are most probably on eBay to SELL, and not to develop and design, so there is a very high probability that you will need professional help to carry everything out. To be more specific, there is a good probability that you will even need someone to make an audit of your eBay store and figure out how much your content is compatible with the newest set of rules.
It brings us to the last segment of this article – how to make the changes in a safe and professional way?
Studioworx as a helping hand you need
First of all, it is necessary to say that we have a massive experience in dealing with eBay stores. Some of the most prominent eBay sellers worldwide entrusted us with the custom eBay store design for their brands. It means that we have all the expertise and all the experience you might need in order to make your storefront compatible with the new mixed active content policies, and we know how to do it without damaging your operations in any way. We would propose several steps in order to help you run the operations without any down time, and without any risks.
The first step would be an audit of your eBay listings. In this way, we would be able to take a look, identify the content that will become incompatible with the new policies, create a list of changes that need to be carried out, and make a business proposal that would include prices for the changes, a full roadmap of implementing the changes (each segment separately), and the proposed methods for replacement features.
Once we have agreed on the timeframe and the methods to be used, the execution is rather easy. Finally, we would make another audit, after all the changes have been made, in order to test your new eBay storefront for possible bugs, and for all the functionalities you require.
With this approach, you will be 100% sure that the new listings will be fully functional even when the policy on active content goes live.
The benefits of this approach are numerous. Firstly, you would be giving the work to the real experts who have more than enough experience in working on eBay web development tasks. It means that the new listings would contain all the best practices for operating on eBay. The significance of this part is more than obvious – when it all has been done by the book, by the people who are familiar with the work environment – there are minimal chances for anything to go wrong. It further means more up-time, better sales, and higher profitability.
The fact that there is a testing involved means there will be no chance at all that some of the features you require is not functional once the change has been made. It brings us back to the up times, sales, and profitability. Finally, the very fact that you would be outsourcing this work to us means you would spend less time dealing with it!
There are developers that are good out there, but there are just a few of them who possess the necessary experience to carry out operations fast and with little to no issues that might occur along the way. Dealing with eBay is not a simple thing, and all the developers working on it need to pass through the growing pains that are common in the learning process. This part has been already done by Studioworx staff, as our developers have been there and done that countless times in the past.
The final benefit of this approach is the ultimate one as well. Namely, the time to enforce all the changes is limited. Many of your competitors will not address this issue in a proper way. This opens a huge window of opportunity to be amongst the best and the first to make the necessary changes. While your competitors lose time in order to become compliant after the changes to the active content policy are made, you will be operating without any glitches. It is something that would give you an edge, and provide you with the unique opportunity to impose yourself as one of the leaders in the segment you operate in!
Studioworx can help you easily achieve this goal! Feel free to give us a call or contact us via email and we will be more than happy to help you make this transition in the best possible way!