Marketplaces Laura Lane By Laura Lane

Cross-Promotion in the Wake of eBay’s Active Content Changes

This blog is a guest post from ChannelAdvisor partners Frooition

It is seven times easier, and cheaper, to sell to an existing customer than to hook in a new one. According to Forrester, cross sales and upselling are responsible for 10-30% of all e-commerce revenues.

On a highly-competitive marketplace like eBay, keeping customers on your product pages means using cross-promotion techniques to stop customers from wandering to the search bar and leaving your store. Providing intelligent, clear and customer-driven cross-sells on product pages is one of the primary methods to increase sales and average order value.

Keeping consumers browsing your items is an indispensable technique for driving sales. By keeping customers on your product pages, you’re encouraging them to stay in ‘buying mode’ rather than ‘checkout mode’.

How eBay’s Active Content Policy Changes Affect Cross-Promotion Tools

Active content includes JavaScript, Flash, form actions and plug-ins. Active content inhibits purchases on mobile devices and poses potential security risks. For these reasons, eBay announced in the Autumn 2016 seller release that they will be stopping its use in eBay listings. Starting June 2017, active content on eBay will not render as intended.  This means that cross-promotion boxes created using active content will not work.

But there are multiple ways to code a cross-promotional box. Many dynamic promotional boxes created with javascript have been now replaced with active content free versions; hard-coded with HTML and CSS.

So why were promotional boxes not coded this way in the first place?

Because a hard-coded solution is not dynamic.

What Does ‘Dynamic’ Mean And Why Does it Matter to Sales?

When a cross-promotional area is dynamic, it can be updated without any coding. Only live listings will be promoted, with similarity being detected by the rules you set. The rules could be size, colour, any relevant feature. It will only connect listings which are relevant and live.

It stands true on any platform that a cross-sell will only ever be as good as its placement. Offers should make sense and provide a clear benefit to the customer. 

Because they only show relevant products, dynamic cross-selling tools can be used to enhance the whole customer experience. They are proven to increase a customer’s time in a store and have a positive effect on average sale value.

What’s Wrong With Hard-Coded Cross Promotion?

Hard-coded solutions using CSS and HTML are active content free, and so will still render after June’s active content policy changes.

However, hard-coded cross-promotion solutions need to be updated every time a product sells out or is removed. A seller would need to go through and update every listing, or their hard-coded solution would be cross promoting to a dead listing. It goes without saying, but cross promoting to a dead listing is pointless and will very likely lead to a loss in sales. 

The time it takes to adjust listings manually means that hard coded solutions create a constant stream of work for sellers with hundreds or thousands of listings, and yet still would probably have a negative effect on sales. Manual work cannot compete with computerised automation

What eBay Store Owners Can Do

Check for active content in your listings. If you want to do this yourself, eBay recommends you use this checking tool. Frooition is also currently offering free listing reviews.

Have active content cleared. Note: Listings can stay live whilst active content is being cleared.

Have active content replaced. Be aware that as the June deadline approaches, eBay designers will be becoming incredibly busy. This is something that should be done as soon as possible to avoid delays.

Be sure to ask your designer if categories or cross promotion are hard coded into their active content free designs. A hard-coded solution may be fine for a small seller, but for a business, it’s an unsustainable solution.

Blog post by Jessica McDonald, Digital Marketing Executive, Frooition


About Frooition

Frooition is a specialist e-commerce design agency; creating innovative, seamless branded experiences across multiple e-commerce platforms. As eBay’s only certified design provider, Frooition has worked closely with eBay to find active content free solutions to take the platform forward in terms of user experience, without loss of functionality for sellers.