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
http://developer.ebay.com/DevZone/itemspecificslookup/

Site changes for Fashion Pages - April 2011
http://pages.ebay.com/categorychanges/CSA-2011.html

Item specifics required in Fashion categories
http://pages.ebay.com/sellerinformation/news/clothingshoesaccessories.html

Required Item Specifics Lookup Table for Sellers
http://pages.ebay.com/sellerinformation/increaseyoursales/csalookup.html

Review the category, catalog and item specific updates coming April and May
http://pages.ebay.com/sellerinformation/news/CategoryUpdatesSpring2011.html

 

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

Item Specifics Updates for Clothing, Shoes & Accessories

(Updated June 7, 2011 -- 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

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 have Clothing, Shoes & Accessories listings with ID-based attributes, eBay will convert those existing listings to custom item specifics for you.

Category Structure Changes in Clothing, Shoes & Accessories

A number of changes have been made to the Clothing, Shoes & Accessories category structure. Category structure changes will 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. After the category structure updates are effective (on April 5th), please revise your listings if you feel a different category is a better fit.

In addition to the category structure changes, we are tailoring custom item specific values in Clothing, Shoes & Accessories.  The values are being improved to meet sellers’ needs and to help with item specifics relevance. For example, some subcategories are moving 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, we recommend that you 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 custom item specifics: Brand, Size Type, Size, Style, and Color. Required item specifics may vary by category.

These calls will fail if listings in the above categories 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 custom 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.

More Information On These Fashion Category Changes

Site changes for Fashion Pages - April 2011
http://pages.ebay.com/categorychanges/CSA-2011.html

Item specifics required in Fashion categories
http://pages.ebay.com/sellerinformation/news/clothingshoesaccessories.html

Required Item Specifics Lookup Table for Sellers
http://pages.ebay.com/sellerinformation/increaseyoursales/csalookup.html

Review the category, catalog and item specific updates coming April and May
http://pages.ebay.com/sellerinformation/news/CategoryUpdatesSpring2011.html

Item Specifics Lookup Table (All Categories) for Developers
http://developer.ebay.com/DevZone/itemspecificslookup/

 

April 4, 2011 in Best Practices, Categories and Item Specifics, Large Merchant Services, Product News, Seller Releases, Trading API | Permalink

Upload properly formatted payload files for Large Merchant Services (LMS) jobs

LMS jobs would hang or take too long if the uploaded payload file contained the requests on very few lines. Such jobs also negatively impacted the execution times of other jobs that were being processed.

In order to avoid this situation, the LMS team has implemented a feature to proactively detect and reject payload files that do not have line breaks (>20000 chars on a single line). This feature will be turned on in production during the week of 4th of April 2011.

Call for action: Please ensure that you incorporate line breaks between requests to avoid this situation. Also make sure that individual requests are properly formatted and are not on a single line.

April 4, 2011 in Best Practices, Critical Notes from Tech Support, Large Merchant Services | Permalink

Motors Parts & Accessories: Required Return Policy, Handling Time, Item Condition

Beginning May 9, 2011, AddItem, AddFixedPriceItem, RelistItem, and RelistFixedPriceItem must include ReturnPolicy, DispatchTimeMax (handling time), and ConditionID for all US eBay (site 100) Motors Parts & Accessories items that are newly listed or relisted.

We encourage you to also start adding this information to existing Good 'Til Cancelled (GTC) listings, which will require these changes in early 2012.

In GetCategoryFeatures, see ReturnPolicyEnabled, HandlingTimeEnabled, ConditionEnabled (and ConditionValues) to determine which categories require these fields. For a list of the handling time values allowed for each site, use DispatchTimeMaxDetails in GeteBayDetails.

For general information about these changes, see this 2011 Spring Seller Update:

Return policy, handling time and item condition required for all new listings and relistings
http://pages.ebay.com/sellerinformation/news/motorspaupdate.html

Also, as previously announced in the Trading API release notes, Parts & Accessories categories on the US eBay Motors site support the ability to allow buyers to return Parts & Accessories items within 60 days, and the ability for the seller to choose whether the seller or buyer pays return shipping costs.

Return Policy Updates for Motors Parts & Accessories (API Release Notes)
http://developer.ebay.com/DevZone/XML/docs/WebHelp/ReleaseNotes.html#709RtrnPlcyMtrsPnA

 

April 3, 2011 in Best Practices, eBay Motors, Product News, Seller Releases, Trading API | Permalink

Major Change to Large Merchant Services: UTF-8 encoding is required starting Feb 14, 2011

Important Announcement

Beginning 2011-02-14, Large Merchant Services will require all input files to be UTF-8 encoded. Other encodings (e.g. ISO-8859-1) will not be rejected by the system, but some characters may not be rendered correctly on the View Item page.

 

Please make the required changes in your application.

 

Thanks,

eBay Developer Technical Support Team

February 2, 2011 in Best Practices, Business News, Critical Notes from Tech Support, Developer Community, Large Merchant Services | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rate Limit Changes to Shopping, Finding, and Merchandising API

To manage your call limits better, eBay is changing the basis for rate limiting API usage for the Shopping, Finding and Merchandising APIs. Starting March 1, 2011, call usage will be measured by application instead of IP address. The call counts will be aggregated for your application based on the AppID used to make the request, rather than the IP address from which the request is coming.

What does this mean to you?

If your application is making more than 5,000 calls a day, go through the compatible application check to get your call limits increased to prevent any disruption to your application.

January 7, 2011 in Best Practices, Critical Notes from Tech Support, Developer Community, Finding API, Merchandising API, Shopping API | Permalink

Developer Impact: Duplicate Listing Policy

Yesterday, Dinesh Lathi announced a new Duplicate Listing policy on eBay (US, CA, CAFR) and eBay Motors. Starting October 26, a seller’s duplicate listings may be removed unless they are "significantly different in buyer benefit and value from items offered in their other Fixed Price listings." This policy does not apply to auction format.

Developers may want to consolidate listings for their sellers. The easiest thing to do is take duplicate single-quantity listings, increase the quantity of one listing, and end the other listings. If the other listings are ended on Oct 26, insertion fees will be credited.

Duplicate listings can also be consolidated into multi-variation listings, or fitment listings (in Motors P&A). It is not possible to directly convert the format, so the original duplicate listings will need to be ended, and the consolidated item listed as a new multi-variation or fitment listing.

Sellers who continue to create duplicate listings may be subject to a range of additional actions including "listing cancellation, loss of fees, limits on account privileges, loss of seller status, and account suspension." Developers will want to make sure that they consolidate seller listings to avoid subjecting their sellers to penalties.

For more details on this new policy, including example duplicate listings, see:

Also see,

September 22, 2010 in Best Practices, Large Merchant Services, Product News, Trading API | Permalink

Developer Impact: eBay Buyer Protection in US, UK, DE

eBay DE just announced that a new eBay Buyer Protection program will be available on the DE site starting in September.

Developers will find that there is currently an issue retrieving new eBay Buyer Protection cases (for item not received and not as described problems) that were filed in the eBay Resolution Center. These cases are not being returned via the Trading API call GetUserDisputes. As a workaround, sellers today can view all their cases on the eBay website.

In September, we are releasing a way to retrieve the eBay Buyer Protection cases with a new ResolutionCaseManagement API. You will be able to subscribe to notifications that will send a message to your server when a case is opened, closed, or changes state.

In a future release, we will provide a single API that allows you to manage cases from both the old and new eBay Buyer Protection systems.

The new eBay Buyer Protection is currently live on the US and UK sites. In September it will be live for DE as well.

July 16, 2010 in Best Practices, International, Product News, Trading API | Permalink

Reminder: Old Item Condition Values Start Breaking Listings July 27

As of July 27, 2010, several categories are requiring that you specify the new, more granular Item Condition values using the new ConditionID field. This is a mandatory code change for developers.

We suggest:

Call GetCategoryFeatures for your category and site to determine if the new Item Condition values are required for that category. GetCategoryFeatures will also tell you what the possible values are.

Example request:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
  <GetCategoryFeaturesRequest   xmlns="urn:ebay:apis:eBLBaseComponents">
  <RequesterCredentials>
  <eBayAuthToken>ABC...123</eBayAuthToken>
  </RequesterCredentials>
  <CategoryID>63861</CategoryID>
  <Version>675</Version>
  <DetailLevel>ReturnAll</DetailLevel>
</GetCategoryFeaturesRequest> 

Example response:

...
<Category>
  <CategoryID>12345</CategoryID>
  <ConditionEnabled>Required</ConditionEnabled>
  <ConditionValues>
    <Condition>
      <ID>1000</ID>
      <DisplayName>Brand New</DisplayName>
    </Condition>
    <Condition>
      <ID>1500</ID>
      <DisplayName>New other (see details)</DisplayName>
    </Condition>
    <Condition>
      <ID>2000</ID>
      <DisplayName>Manufacturer refurbished</DisplayName>
    </Condition>
    <Condition>
      <ID>2500</ID>
      <DisplayName>Seller refurbished</DisplayName>
    </Condition>
    <Condition>
      <ID>3000</ID>
      <DisplayName>Used</DisplayName>
    </Condition>
    <Condition>
      <ID>7000</ID>
      <DisplayName>For parts or not working</DisplayName>
    </Condition>
    <ConditionHelpURL>http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/contextual/condition_1.html</ConditionHelpURL>
  </ConditionValues>
</Category>
...

ConditionEnabled=Required means that the category requires the new way of specifying Item Condition.

Note: You will not see the value "Required" until after July 27. We suggest that you pass in ConditionID for any category that is currently flagged as "Enabled."

ID=1000 means that, to specify that the item is brand new, you should use ConditionID=1000 in your AddItem request.

DisplayName=Brand New means that you should display the value "Brand New" to your users when they are choosing their Item Condition value. You will pass the corresponding ID value in your AddItem request.

ConditionHelpURL is the help page that describes the criteria for the different conditions. For example, a "Brand New" item is described as "A brand-new, unused, unopened, undamaged item in its original packaging (where packaging is applicable). Packaging should be the same as what is found in a retail store, unless the item is handmade or was packaged by the manufacturer in non-retail packaging, such as an unprinted box or plastic bag. See the seller's listing for full details."

We recommend that you provide this URL to your user during the listing flow so they can verify that their item meets the expected criteria.

Example AddItem request:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
  <AddItemRequest xmlns="urn:ebay:apis:eBLBaseComponents">
  <RequesterCredentials>
  <eBayAuthToken>ABC...123</eBayAuthToken>
  </RequesterCredentials>
  <ErrorLanguage>en_US</ErrorLanguage>
  <WarningLevel>High</WarningLevel>
  <Item>
   ...
  <ConditionID>1000</ConditionID>
   ...
</Item>
</AddItemRequest>

ConditionID contains the value you got from the GetCategoryFeatures ID field.

When you call GetItem, you will also see the new values returned:

Example GetItem response:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  <GetItemResponse xmlns="urn:ebay:apis:eBLBaseComponents">
<Timestamp>2010-07-15T00:38:23.311Z</Timestamp>
<Ack>Success</Ack>
<Version>675</Version>
<Build>E675_CORE_BUNDLED_11481347_R1</Build>
<Item>
...
<ConditionID>1000</ConditionID>
<ConditionDisplayName>Brand New</ConditionDisplayName>
</Item>
</GetItemResponse>

After July 27:

New listings: If the new condition ID values are required, and you do not pass them in, the listing will fail.

Existing listings: If the new condition ID values are required and you try to revise the listing without passing in the new values, the revise will fail. For example, if you try to update price or quantity without also including the new item condition values, the revise will fail. The listing will continue to exist on the site, but it will not have the new price or quantity.

For more information, see:

July 14, 2010 in Best Practices, Product News, Trading API | Permalink

Developing Rich Mobile Websites

NetbiscuitsLayoutDegredation In one of the first DevCon sessions of the day, Christian Reitz from Netbiscuits (a platform for creating mobile portals) and Han-Shen Yuan from m.ebay.com talked about the opportunity that mobile devices provide to developers

  • The number of smartphone users is overtaking the number of PC users.
  • The top 20 mobile devices hitting m.ebay.com account for about 53% of usage, and 1500 other devices account for the other 47%. (So, if you only focus on supporting one or two popular devices, you're missing more than half of the mobile opportunity.)

Should I Build a Native App or a Mobile Web Site?
Christian compared the benefits and challenges of building native apps vs. mobile sites. Here are a few examples:

  • Both are competitive when it comes to supporting very rich UIs, high performance (though native is best suited for games), tracking, and a number of other features.
  • Mobile sites can use standard web technologies; with native  apps, you usually need to work with proprietary SDKs.
  • Native apps can potentially access other native apps, such as the device's calendar (if that's important to you).

He recommended that you start by creating a mobile site, and then create a hybrid app with optional features.

The hybrid displays your mobile site's content in a browser, and then adds optional support for native features (like geolocation or enhancements to the device's menus). The cool thing about this approach is that it is relatively easy to set up and replicate across different devices.

Device Compatibility
If you're designing your mobile portal for smartphones, make sure it also degrades well for lower-end devices (as shown in the picture above). They mentioned some capabilities to consider:

  • Device detection (vendors, models, firmware, browsers, carriers, and countries)
  • Content adaptation (adapting layouts and transcoding images, sound, and/or video)
  • Device profiling (supporting not only the top 20 devices but also the long tail)

Mobile Technology Service Providers
If you want to focus your development efforts on your own business functionality, mobile platforms can do most or all of the technology work above for you:

  • If you're not a developer, look for services that provide tools to create a mobile portal with no coding.
  • If you're a developer, look for a platform that offers custom APIs that support any platform and programming language.

(Thanks to Netbiscuits for the automatic layout degredation image above.)

June 9, 2010 in Best Practices, Developers Conference | Permalink