How to Enhance Visibility via eBay Mobile Applications

June 23, 2016

Marketplaces Marshall Smith By Marshall Smith

As the world of e-commerce continues to adapt to changing technologies and shopping preferences, mobile access and platforms have clearly become a winning strategy. In fact, in a May 2016 update, eBay noted that 55% of all successful sales have a mobile touchpoint during some part of the transaction.

As users continue to flock to mobile access points while browsing and shopping, it’s become even more important to make sure your products bring forward the best overall experience for each and every buyer.

The Challenges

Adjusting content to display efficiently across a variety of devices and screen sizes can be challenging, even for an experienced marketer.

Among the worst experiences possible for a shopper is having to scroll horizontally. While substantial vertical scrolling is also disruptive, horizontal scrolling breaks the flow while reading text and challenges the viewer to incorporate all the information presented.

Historically the real estate available on a computer screen allowed for graphic elements such as header images and left-hand navigation menus, but when compressed to a mobile screen, these elements consume all the visible real estate, leaving no space for the product-specific content. Consider this example, which brings a wide array of functionality and detailed experience to the desktop display:


Over 50% of the product area is consumed by the surround, left navigation categories and right navigation information about the seller. Only a small percentage of the page is used to display the specific product available, and when compressed down to a mobile display, the menu options and other supporting elements in the surround force the content to shrink so that it can’t be read without additional effort (zooming in on the appropriate area and scrolling around the page).

A Solution: Adaptive Templates

The issue of mobile sizing can initially be addressed through adaptive templates, which automatically change and adjust based on the available screen size. For example, though these two product descriptions below appear to be substantially different, they’re actually the same item and description displayed on two different devices:


Description displayed on mobile phone
Description displayed on mobile phone
Description displayed on desktop


Here, we can see that the detailed information displayed in tabs on the desktop version automatically converts to a streamlined display for the mobile device. By implementing adaptive technology, features can be available for desktop users — and then streamlined and simplified for mobile users.

What You Can Do

ChannelAdvisor includes default description templates in all accounts, which provide this adaptive display technology in a simple format that’s easy to use. You can also preview your templates for different display sizes using the Device Preview option when editing Description Templates.

Later in 2016, eBay will be introducing a new mobile description option that allows a seller to define the summary description information displayed on the main item page for mobile users.

This update will enable you to clearly market and describe your items to give the browsing shopper the most information as quickly as possible. Instead of using information that eBay automatically generates (and that may not be the most important detail about your items), you can specify the exact description information that a buyer sees on the mobile product detail page. Without any additional clicks, the buyer sees all the key product details and can be ready to make a purchase. Up to 800 characters are available, helping to ensure that the right information is shown at the right time. So instead of this…

A mobile item description automatically generated by eBay

You can now provide your buyers with far more detailed and relevant information:

A mobile item description generated by the seller

This improved buyer experience for the 55% of purchases influenced by mobile puts your best foot forward and pushes those buyers to your products instead of a competitor’s.

More good news: ChannelAdvisor is making it easy for you to submit the additional mobile description information. With our July 2016 update, a mobile description can be configured directly on your template and automatically submitted with each item. As eBay begins to use this additional description information for mobile buyers later this year, your items will already be taking advantage of each improvement and better positioning you to connect with every type of eBay buyer.

Blog post by Marshall Smith, engineering manager at ChannelAdvisor