How eBay compels buyers to purchase

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Any e-commerce store owner understands the importance of branding, great images, irresistible marketing copy, and a clean layout to influence a purchase.

eBay, being an open marketplace with over a billion listings from 25 million sellers, operates on a different scale with features that help overcome buyer concerns and encourage purchase.

 In this article, we'll discuss what those features are and how you can leverage them to sell more on eBay.


Search & Item Page features

The battle ground for buyer eyeballs begins on eBay’s Search Results page.  Due to the sheer size of eBay’s inventory, most buyers arrive from a keyword search. eBay’s algorithms are designed to rank higher the listings that they think the buyer is most likely to purchase. On average, about 90% of search-initiated purchases occur on page 1 of search results, and over 60% are from the first 10 listings of the Search Results! As a result, it is critical to offer the right product, at the right price, in the right position within Best Match rank.

eBay has created multiple features within the Search Results page and Item Page to differentiate your offer from the crowd, and to motivate buyers to click into the Items Page and purchase. These include:

  • Magnifying gallery images

  • Seller badges

  • Buyer hotness signals

  • Promotions, and

  • Sponsored listings.

Search result features that motivate buyers to click through to the item page.

Search result features that motivate buyers to click through to the item page.

eBay constantly tests and launches new features to make the best qualities of a listing stand out, so always check the site to stay on top of the latest design improvements.


Social proof features

An important factor that buyers look for before purchasing is an indication that others who have purchased an item have had a great shopping experience with the seller and with the product. eBay has built in many social proof features designed to increase customer confidence and urgency, which include:

  • Feedback & Detailed seller ratings

  • Product reviews

  • Sales quantities

  • Inventory levels, and

  • Seller badges.

1. Seller Feedback

While most sellers are aware of the eBay feedback system, not everyone is aware of the finer details:

  • Feedback below 98% is generally perceived as being low by shoppers.

  • The feedback percentage shown is based on customer reviews received in the last 12 months, to keep sellers focused on delivering continuous excellent customer service.

  • The score is calculated as the number of positive ratings divided by the number of positive and negative ratings. This means that neutral ratings are left out, which inflates the feedback score of sub-par sellers.

  • Detailed seller ratings (DSR’s) are used to help buyers determine the specific strengths of a sellers performance

  • If you receive feedback from a buyer that you consider unfair or incorrect, you can contact the eBay customer support team to appeal and have it removed.

A seller’s feedback and detailed seller ratings.

A seller’s feedback and detailed seller ratings.

2. Product Reviews

Example of a product review survey sent by eBay.

Example of a product review survey sent by eBay.

Product reviews are an increasingly visible feature on the eBay marketplace. Like Amazon, positive reviews from buyers about the product you sell helps future customers to purchase the item with more confidence.

eBay sends out a follow-up survey regarding the ordered product to all buyers so that they can provide feedback based on their experiences.  

Product Review on eBay aggregates all buyers’ reviews.

Product Review on eBay aggregates all buyers’ reviews.

Once the buyer has submitted the survey, the review is published on the product’s page, and the rating appears on all sellers’ listings for that product. Thus, unlike seller feedback, the product reviews are combined across all sellers of that product. 

This is a strong incentive to add structured data and unique product identifiers to your products so you are able to take advantage of this feature as eBay starts to show it to more buyers. If your products are not already in the eBay Catalogue, contact to submit them.

More information on product reviews.

3. Sales quantities

Customers have more confidence in purchasing from sellers when they can see that many customers already have.

Where relevant, the number of items sold by a listing is highlighted red and shown in both the search results list and the Buy It Now box on the listing. 

Item page with quantity and percentage sold.

Item page with quantity and percentage sold.

eBay also has Buyer Hotness Signals such as showing how frequently a listing has been viewed over the last hour, how many products have sold in the last 24 hours and how many buyers might be watching an item. 

4. Scarcity

eBay often displays either the quantity remaining, the amount of stock sold, or a message that conveys “low stock". This creates a sense of urgency for buyers who fear missing out.

5. Badges

eBay Sellers receive badges to indicate to buyers they provide great service. Badges may appear both on the listing and within the search results.

To qualify, sellers must meet certain conditions. At the time of writing, these are:

Step 1: Become a Top Rated Seller:

  • The eBay account has been held for at least 90 days

  • The transaction defect rate is no higher than 0.5 per cent (or not more than 3 defects)

  • Have processed at least 100 transactions and USD 1,000 in sales in over 12 months

  • Comply with eBay selling best practices

Step 2: Qualify for Premium Service:

  • Offer free postage (shipping) to domestic buyers

  • Offer 1-day handling

  • Offer Express postage option

  • Offer 30-day money back guarantee returns

To a buyer, badges indicate that as past transactions have been conducted with no problems, they can feel confident that future sales, including theirs, are likely to go smoothly as well.


Reward programs

eBay offers reward programs to build loyalty, which differ across regions. In Australia and Germany, the reward program is named eBay Plus. In the USA, eBay Bucks. Nectar in the UK. Each reward program also comes with different criteria.

 eBay Plus in Germany, for instance, provides the following benefits to sellers:

  • Discount on the final value fee

  • Listings with eBay Plus badge are marked and highlighted on search result pages for increased visibility

  • Listings with eBay Plus badge are easier to find with eBay Plus search filter

  • Advertised extensively by eBay

  • Free return labels for all eBay Plus transactions

  • The seller has the flexibility to choose the items to be included in and removed from the program

  • Sellers are protected as soon as tracking has been uploaded, and the item has been handed over to a carrier

 Similar benefits are also enjoyed by eBay sellers that join other reward programs in other countries.



eBay sellers can increase their sales by influencing buyers' behaviours with social proofs, product reviews, badges, scarcity, and rewards. Thus, it's recommended for all sellers to leverage these features optimally.

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Users can search by product, category, or competitor across more than 20 eBay countries on 3 different data reports: Live Listings, New Listings, and Supply Demand.  

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