Best practices for creating mobile-friendly listings

Online shoppers are now buying on mobile in increasing numbers. Learn how to create effective listings that can be viewed on any platform

An increasing number of online shoppers are now buying products on mobile devices instead of a desktop system. In order to help sellers take steps to keep up with this trend, we'll provide tips and strategies to help them create effective listings, regardless of the platform, as well as how to optimize listings for viewing on mobile devices.

Taking advantage of eBay features

The first thing that sellers should do is make sure they are taking advantage of all eBay features that are designed to create effective listings. eBay maintains these features to the latest technical and design standards to ensure that they're effective regardless of the shopper's device.

  • Product identifiers: For eBay categories that support Product Identifiers (e.g. UPC, EAN, ISBN, etc.), sellers should specify the product ID for the product at listing time. Note that some categories require product identifiers. By specifying a product ID, eBay will look for a match for the product in the eBay product catalogue, and if the product is found, eBay will prefill the listing with the item title, description, specifics, and pictures (if the item condition is New) and puts them into the best category. See the Structured Data Product Identifiers page for more information on the supported categories.
  • Photo uploader: Use the photo uploader to add up to 12 photos (or 24 for Motors listings) to your listing, free of charge. Sellers should review our Optimize your pictures for mobile buyers page for handy tips on making sure photos look great on mobile devices.
  • Item specifics: For categories that support using Product Identifiers, the appropriate item specifics will already be taken care of if the product is found in the eBay product catalogue. Otherwise, the sellers will have to manually input their own item specifics. Item specifics vary widely based on the product or category, but include things like colour, size, year, and so on. See the Providing item specifics help page for more information on incorporating effective item specifics in listings.
  • Listing frame: By using the listing frame feature, sellers enable buyers to search their Store from within the listing. Setting up an eBay Store's listing frame is discussed on the Creating your Store help page.
  • Listing fields: Use the appropriate listing fields (in the Sell Your Item form or in API) to inform buyers about accepted payment methods, available shipping or pickup options, return policy, and so on. Using the appropriate listing fields is far more effective than adding all of the listing information within the item description through widgets or active content.

Optimizing listings for viewing on mobile devices

Visit the Mobile Friendly Test to check whether your listings are mobile-friendly.

This section focuses on optimizing listings for viewing on mobile devices when active content is used in the listing description. The following are some actions sellers can take to optimize listings that are using active content:

  • Use the viewport meta tag. The viewport meta tag communicates to mobile browsers how to adjust the dimensions and scaling of the item description in order to render properly on a mobile device. eBay recommends that sellers set the viewport width to the devices width without scaling. For example, you might include the following line of code in your item description:

    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0, maximum-scale=1.0, user-scalable=no">

    When setting the viewport, do not use fixed-width values, because this will cause your item description to render incorrectly for some device sizes.
  • Make sure that all item description elements scale across device sizes. Don't set absolute sizes in CSS declarations, and make sure inline images scale well across screen sizes. In practice, this should prevent any mobile browser from rendering horizontal scroll bars, which are not mobile-friendly.
  • Review your font specifications. eBay recommends using a base font size of 16 CSS pixels and sticking to one or two font sizes. Using this strategy should eliminate the need for a shopper to zoom in order to read content.
  • Optimize listings for fast load times. Use eBay features (as opposed to using active content in listing descriptions) whenever possible, and test to make sure that any active content loaded from non-eBay servers loads quickly.
  • Avoiding active content altogether further ensures mobile-friendly descriptions. Beginning with the 2017 Spring Seller Update, eBay will limit the use of active content in all new listings across all devices, and it will not be rendered by default. By the 2017 Fall Seller Update, we plan to remove or block listings with active content. Due to active content being phased out in 2017, eBay encourages sellers to limit their use of active content now. See our best practices for replacing active content in eBay listings for recommended alternatives that can replace the use of active content in listing descriptions. By following these alternatives, sellers will automatically avoid some of the other challenges that make listings difficult to use on mobile devices.

The View Item Description Summary feature rolled out in Summer 2016. This feature helps the seller customize and optimize the item description as it appears on mobile devices. For more information on this feature, visit the View Item Description Summary feature page.