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Item Specifics Updates in June and July for Clothing, Shoes & Accessories

(Updated June 26, 2011 -- Color will not be required, but it is strongly recommended. Note that support for ID-based attributes in these categories has been extended to July 20, 2011. Also, GetCategorySpecifics returns required custom item specifics for applicable categories as of early June 2011.)

From April through July 2011, eBay is making changes in fashion categories for fashion enthusiasts. Here’s what developers need to know to support these changes. (These changes will affect eBay US and international sites.)

No ID-Based Attributes in Clothing, Shoes & Accessories

When we enabled custom item specifics for Clothing, Shoes & Accessories in 2009, we announced that the ID-based attributes in these categories would be deprecated in about a year. Support for ID-based attributes (Item.AttributeSetArray) is ending soon (late July) in Clothing, Shoes & Accessories. Use custom item specifics (Item.ItemSpecifics) in AddItem and related calls instead.  (All areas of Clothing, Shoes & Accessories have supported the new custom item specifics format for the past year or more.)

If you still had Clothing, Shoes & Accessories listings with ID-based attributes as of April 2011, eBay converted those existing listings to custom item specifics for you. However, as the item specifics have changed since April, these conversions will no longer occur.

Category Structure Changes in Clothing, Shoes & Accessories

A number of changes have been made to the Clothing, Shoes & Accessories category structure. Category structure changes eliminate redundancies, improve coverage, and meet buyers’ shopping experience expectations.  Your (or your sellers') listings falling under impacted categories may have been moved to new categories based on existing category ID and item specifics. The category structure updates were effective on April 5th. Please revise your GTC listings if you feel a different category is a better fit.

In addition to the category structure changes, we have tailored custom item specific values in Clothing, Shoes & Accessories.  The values were improved to meet sellers’ needs and to help with item specifics relevance. For example, some subcategories moved out of the Clothing, Shoes & Accessories category structure and into item specifics instead. (Some new categories are being added, as well.) 

GetCategorySpecifics identifies the available custom item specifics for leaf categories, as well as dependencies between item specifics. After the metadata changes are available in the system, see NameRecommendation.ValidationRules.MinValues to identify required item specifics, and NameRecommendation.ValidationRules.Relationship for any dependencies. GetItemRecommendations will also be updated.

Note: Although GetCategory2CS and GetAttributesCS may still return ID-based attribute data for these categories, avoid using these calls for Clothing, Shoes & Accessories. As a general rule, if GetCategoryFeatures shows that a category supports custom item specifics (ItemSpecificsEnabled) or a category has been converted from ID-based attributes to custom item specifics (AttributeConversionEnabled), you should use custom item specifics instead of ID-based attributes.

Required Item Specifics Coming in June and July in Clothing, Shoes & Accessories

Starting July 20, 2011 all new and revised listings in Clothing, Shoes & Accessories categories must include the following item specifics: Brand, Size Type, Size, and Style in the ItemSpecifics (name/value) format. Required item specifics may vary by category.

Color is not required (updated from original announcement, based on community feedback), but both Color and Shade help establish consistent color across categories. Sellers are highly encouraged to provide details on both aspects. Specifying Color will enable buyers find your items when searching for items by color.

As of the end of June 2011, eBay is giving more visibility to these refinements in Fashion categories, so we recommend that you start using custom item specifics now if you don't already.

These calls will fail for listings that are missing required item specifics:

  • AddItem and AddFixedPriceItem
  • RelistItem and RelistFixedPriceItem
  • ReviseItem and ReviseFixedPriceItem (even if your revision does not touch the item specifics)

The following cases will not be blocked for now. However, we recommend that sellers include the required item specifics in these listings in order to benefit from the new buyer experience:

  • ReviseInventoryStatus (for changing price and quantity) won't be blocked regardless of whether existing listings in Clothing, Shoes & Accessories categories have the required item specifics.
  • Good 'Til Canceled (GTC) listings that you don't revise; they will continue to renew automatically for the next several months even if they are missing required item specifics.

Early Access Info: Starting in June 2011, GetCategorySpecifics and GetItemRecommendations will identify the required item specifics for leaf categories, before they become mandated on July 20. (Alternatively, see the lookup table for developers (link below) to view the mandated item specifics).

In general, if ValidationRules.MinValues is set to 1, it means the item specific is required for that category. For Clothing, Shoes & Accessories categories, it means that the item specific will be required after July 20.

AddItem and related calls will not enforce these required item specifics in fashion categories until July 20. However, we encourage you to start using the required item specifics as early as possible.

Also note that if ValidationRules.SelectionMode is set to "SelectionOnly", it means you must choose from eBay's recommended values, instead of specifying you own custom value. (This occurs for Style, Occasion, and Color in some categories.) This requirement is already in effect. However, if your application does not yet support using SelectionOnly values in GetCategorySpecifics, you can omit the item specific entirely in the short term while you adjust your application. AddItem and related calls will not block fashion listings that omit item specifics, until July 20.

More Information On These Fashion Category Changes

Item Specifics Lookup Table (All Categories) for Developers

Site changes for Fashion Pages - April 2011

Item specifics required in Fashion categories

Required Item Specifics Lookup Table for Sellers

Review the category, catalog and item specific updates coming April and May


June 9, 2011 in Best Practices, Business News, Categories and Item Specifics, Certified Provider, Critical Notes from Tech Support, Documentation, Product News, Seller Releases, Trading API | Permalink