The eBay marketplace has transitioned from an item-based shopping experience to a product-based shopping experience. What this means for retailers is that instead of each retailer uploading their own version of a particular product (e.g. a hairdryer) and eBay displays a search results page of all the matching items to the shopper, eBay will now have a single product page for the hairdryer with the retailers' offers side by side. You can read all about it here: https://sellercentre.ebay.com.au/product-based-shopping-experience
To make this work, eBay now requires that every uploaded product has an eBay product identifier (aka epid). This is the single reference ID that lets them build up a single product page from retailers' individual items.
What happens if you don't have an epid?
Don't panic (yet)... eBay are rolling the adoption out in stages by selecting a subset of categories for which epids are mandatory, so it's unlikely that your entire catalogue is going to be affected at once. Which categories are scheduled for when is not generally released, but there is ample time between each wave to work through the affected items. If a product is missing an epid in one of the mandated categories it will first be flagged by us (see below) for you to take action. After a period of time, eBay moves to enforcement at which point any non-compliant listings will begin to fail to list. This pattern is then repeated for each set of categories in subsequent adoption waves.
But how do you go about getting an epid?
There are two ways: a hard way and an easy way....
Firstly, a lot of products with barcodes already have a Universal Product Code (UPC) or a European Article Number (EAN) or (in the case of music, books and DVDs etc.) an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) - which are referred in general as GTINs. In eBay there is already a list of GTIN to epid mappings, which means that if you are sending us a GTIN in your product data there is a good chance that we will be able to automatically find an epid for your product and send it up to eBay. You don't have to do anything, and the chances are it's already happened for those listings that are affected. If you need more information on GTINs, just type "GTIN" into the search box above... there is a wealth of information that is also specific to your ecommerce platform.
So that's the easy way.
The hard(er) way is to find an epid. This isn't as daunting as it may sound and we try and automate as much of this process as possible for you, but in the end there is only one expert on your products' capabilities and specifications, and it's you!
So how do you find an epid?
If you need to do this, you will see the following tab appear in the product list page:
Click on the "Create in eBay" button and you are taken to a screen that shows the product information you have on the left and possible matches with existing eBay produts on the right. If you see a match, click "Link". However, if none of those matches are right, you can opt to create a completely new product by filling in the product data in the "Create new product in eBay" section.
There is a manual approval process within eBay for new products being created which may take several days. To ensure that your creation request is successful, you'll need to make sure you fill out as much information from the screen as possible. Once approved, your product will be matched up with the newly-generated epid automatically!