How to use product identifiers on eBay

Product identifiers on eBay

eBay has for a number of years been expanding its product identifier requirements to make products easier to find and compare. To help you get your head around using product identifiers on eBay, we take a look at what they are and what you need to do to your listings.

What are product identifiers?

Product identifiers are unique codes that work like a barcode to identify a specific product. Using them on eBay should help buyers to find the exact item that they’re looking for and it will help your listings to appear in search engine results, such as Google. It will also allow your products to be matched with eBay’s product catalogue and product reviews associated with that your item will appear on your listing.

The product identifiers currently required on eBay are:

  • Brand
  • Global Trade Item Number (GTIN):
    - European Article Numbers (EANs)
    - International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs)
  • Manufacturer Part Number (MPN)

What’s changing on eBay?

eBay first started to require product identifiers for some listings in some categories in 2015. During 2016, eBay expanded the number of categories that required product identifiers, and all single item listings and listings with variation in the categories were required to include: Brand, MPN, and GTIN (EANs or ISBNs). In April 2016, eBay also made it possible for buyers to search for items using the GTIN, UPC, EAN, ISBN or MPN.  

In February 2017, eBay will be expanding the types of product identifiers you can use to include:

  • Amazon product identifiers - Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN)
  • Google product identifiers
  • Seller generated product identifiers

Product identifiers will also be required for all new items in even more categories. All new listings in any category that requires product identifiers must contain at least one - the option ‘does not apply’ will no longer be available. Later in 2017, all Good ‘Til Cancelled listings in these categories will also need to be updated with at least one product identifier. Listings that don’t have the correct product identifiers can be blocked or removed.

Although eBay has yet to announce exactly which new categories are going to require product identifiers, it seems likely that eventually most categories will need them. If you have the product identifiers available for your items then you should start adding them to your listings now, especially as it can help your products appear in search engine results.

How do you add product identifiers?

The identifier that the manufacturer associates with the item should be available from the manufacturer or supplier if you don’t already know it. If you don’t have any product identifiers because you manufacture them yourself, or sell unbranded products, then you can create your own product identifier. Find out more about getting your own product identifiers here

To add product identifiers to your eBay listings you can find the product in eBay’s catalogue when you first create the listing:

Finding a product in eBay's catalogue

Once you’ve searched for your product, eBay will suggest products from its catalogue. If one of them matches what you’re selling exactly, then you can select it and the required product identifiers will already be added to the listing.

Matching your product to eBay's catalogue

Or, if you can’t find your exact product in eBay’s catalogue you can manually add product identifiers:

Adding product identifiers to eBay listings

Adding product identifiers to eBay listings

You can find a full list of categories that currently require product identifiers here.     

Update 20/01/2017: eBay has now delayed the mandatory product identifier requirements that were scheduled for February 2017, until later in the year. Find out more about the delay here

Get tutorials and news in your inbox every two weeks

Share this