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.
All the best,