December 7, 2016 by Andrew Minalto - 16 Comments

eBay’s NEW Feature – FREE eBay Listing Template BUILDER!

Last week eBay sent out their November business seller newsletter and there were a couple of quite interesting points inside. One was the eBay branded packaging that is now available for us sellers, which I’ll be covering in a post next week, and the other is the news that eBay is now offering FREE, mobile optimised listing templates!

This has come about in an attempt to provide a simple and clear option for all eBay sellers that is fully compliant with their upcoming rules on active content (check out my post on these changes if you missed it here).

Well, without any further ado – let’s test it then!

Now I have to say I was quite surprised to be taken off of eBay and to another site, www.i-ways.net, to design my template as I thought this would be something built in to eBay itself, within the new seller hub… but it seems you have to create an account with i-ways specifically to use the new eBay template creator.

Once you’ve created your account, you have to fill in some basic business information and are then asked to link your eBay account to your i-ways account, but I skipped this step and went straight to the template creator.

Now I was really hoping for the best with this, but I have to be honest and say I found the interface absolutely awful and difficult to use!

There are only 4 template styles, and they all look very basic and low-budget… but it’s actually hard to be too sure about that as it’s so difficult to actually see the design! Instead of having a nice big page so I can properly see my template, it’s bizarrely displayed on a little mac that takes up barely 10% of the page.

I tried to persevere and chose Style 1 and the “orange-gray” colour theme, filled in my store name (Apple), my store slogan (Think Different) and lastly uploaded a logo.

So it’s now time to download my template as there are no other customisation options available. Yes, that’s right – literally all there is for me to choose is the template style (from a total of 4 options) and then set the colour scheme.

At this point I’m already fearing the worst and the result pretty much confirmed my fears:

I honestly don’t know whether to laugh or cry, but I’m afraid to say that is the final product of my template creation.

Overall, I’m incredibly disappointed by this tool. I actually had a number of doubts from the beginning, and it just got worse and worse.

Firstly, why is this not built into eBay itself, so it’s an in-house tool, rather than something that’s handled by a third party?

And even if it was going to be outsourced to another company, who are i-ways and why have they been selected?

When you go to the i-ways homepage there is actually no mention of this eBay tool at all (no links, no banners – nothing at all!):

Then when you get to the actual tool/interface itself, it’s somehow managed to be both too basic (not enough design options at all) and overly complicated and difficult to use at the same time! Through both my blog and Easy Auction Business, I have a LOT of contact with eBay sellers and get to hear their thoughts and feedback on a number of topics and I can say with full confidence that this tool is not going to take off, at all.

I just don’t understand why they didn’t create a selection of amazing listing templates and add them to eBay itself, so that when you’re creating a listing you can simply choose one with the click of a button…

That would have made life so much easier for sellers and it would have also improved the experience for buyers – a real win-win situation.

I’ve been saying for years how behind eBay are and how lazy they are when it comes to improving and introducing changes. However since they split with PayPal I’ve been seeing some positive signs and I’ve actually said this a few times on my blog – but this “tool” has brought me crashing back to reality. I think it’s time to accept that eBay can only copy, not innovate, and even then they’re not very good at copying – just take a look at the terrible reviews system they’ve put in place to try and match Amazon.

Overall I just don’t see the point of this tool AT ALL. There are no redeeming features that I can find and just like with analytics, there are so many better 3rd party tools available to us sellers.

Now it may seem like I’m ranting a bit here, and I suppose I am, but that’s just because I’m so disappointed by this as it should’ve been something that really helped new eBay sellers, but instead it’s just another missed opportunity.

Ironically this is actually good news for me and Spicy Auction Templates as people are going to be looking for a simple copy and paste system that allows you to create a PRO looking eBay template in minutes, without any coding or design skills – which is exactly what SAT offers its members.

But maybe I’m being too harsh? Have any of you had a better experience with the new i-ways template creator?

As always I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments so please post below and I’ll reply to you personally.

Othwerwise, I’ll see you on Friday for this week Reader’s Question post, where I’ll be taking a look at big-brand dominated niches.

Until then!

All the best,
Andrew

16 Comments
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  1. Hi Andrew,
    Just discovered that my listings are not compliant with eBay’s new rules ( 19th September newsletter – Creating a more secure eBay). I’m using the old SAT templates…

    They say: “Avoid security warnings on your listings…from October 2017, your listings will display a browser security warning if they contain externally hosted content that is stored on non-secure servers. Examples of externally hosted content in eBay item descriptions include photos, HTML5 videos and cascading style sheets (CSS)”

    According to i-Ways listings checker, I should do the following: Contact the domains hosting your content to ensure they are HTTPS compliant. ..When you’ve confirmed with domain hosts that they support HTTPS, find all uses of “HTTP” in your listings and replace them with “HTTPS.”
    If I change all my listings to use your new SAT templates, will it be okay with all their crazy new rules?
    It’s so frustrating how they come up with so many changes, so often…but we’re lucky to have you, always helping us to adapt to their constant changes… thank you for that and for everything that you do! Julian

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Julian,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yes, this year there has been so many new rules regarding templates that we had to change ALL our templates TWICE!!!

      But now they’re fully compliant, yes, and if you change your listings to our new templates, it will be all good.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  2. Libby Phillips

    Thank you so much for address the eBay issue , I also had a nightmare with iways another example of ebay being so lazy , since all this active content I have been struggling so I’m about to go and check out your recommendation SAT.
    Helpful advice ?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome! 🙂

  3. Well, I finally gave in an registered for the I-ways template per eBay’s recommendation. Took the time to set it up, and now can’t figure out how to use it! Their directions are in poor English translated from German, and the example prompts in the instructions are in German. I managed to work through the instructions, but when I follow the vague instructions, my results are void. I’ve tried looking in my “templates” from the Sell form, and NO template there. I can’t believe what a frustrating recommendation from this eBay partnership! Epic fail, and I still have no template.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Nick,

      Why don’t you take a look at my Spicy Auction Templates?

      http://spicyauctiontemplates.com

      Our system is super easy to use – simply Copy & Paste the code!

      And our templates are Mobile Responsive, fully compliant with new eBay rules PLUS you can customise buttons, header (if you want).

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  4. Pete Gaskell

    Couldn’t agree more. It’s absolutely woeful!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Good to hear I’m not alone Pete! 🙂

  5. Hi Andrew I totally agree with you about this I think it’s not good at all and other is you cannot download so easy either it looks low and tacky also will we still be able to use your templates or will that be a no no

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Trevor,

      Yes, of course – you can continue using my SAT templates.

      We’ll also update them to be responsive within next month or so but even without that, they still work and will work after 1st June.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  6. I agree entirely, I was asked to remove active content from our listing, then was directed to this for a solution.

    Ebay gave me a telephone number to call, that did not get answered, and we left a message.

    After no call back I used the contact form, they then sent me prices for this free solution ?

    Come on ebay, sort it out.

    Don

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yeah, I haven’t even visited that website anymore.

      What a waste of opportunity to create a built in template tool directly in eBay.

      Andrew

  7. Barbara Blackburn

    I have tried to activate my account with i-ways without success and emailed them and they have sent a new link which still does not work. It keeps saying need link to activate account. I am running my business through ebay and getting worried about this active comment. I don’t have time to keep trying to sort this out my business in making handmade luxury cards and I need to keep my stock up not worrying about templates. I need something simple so I can get on with my bussiness I have new cards to put on ebay but holding back as not sure now about putting them on. Don’t know if you can help me. Regards Barbara

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Barbara,

      Have you checked your listings in the free i-ways tool?

      Does it say that your listings contain ACTIVE content?

      Andrew

  8. Why on earth would anyone want to buy eBay packaging unless it was significantly cheaper than other sources? All it is doing is advertising to the delivery people that there is something in the package sold on eBay, potentially making it more interesting to steal.

    What benefit does promoting eBay get you as a seller? Increasing the profile of eBay just helps promote eBay, so you want to help your customer forget who they bought from and instead remind them it came via eBay so next time they go back to eBay and maybe order from one of your competitors? You would be far better off promoting your own company so they the customer remembers who it was that gave them good service, and if you sell via other outlets such as Amazon or your own website they will be happy to order from you there.

    I just don’t get how eBay thinks their sellers should promote their brand for them for free.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      I agree 100% Darren, it’s even more expensive than normal packaging, lol! 😉

      They should do as USPS does in the US – give boxes for FREE! As that’s their free advertising, increased business etc.

      Can’t see point in buying over-priced packaging with eBay logo all over it.

      Andrew

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