Best Practices

To use MIP efficiently and easily, eBay encourages you to follow the recommendations below.

In addition to the information below, also see the Catalog Best Practices Guide at
http://developer.ebay.com/devzone/merchant-products/catalog-best-practices/content/index.html.

Important! Do not use MIP with other management tools. MIP cannot detect changes made to listings with other tools. Therefore, to prevent duplicate listings and process problems, when you start using MIP to manage your active listings, you must stop uploading, revising, and managing your active listings on all web flows, mobile apps, and third party tools. Use only MIP for all inventory management and order management tasks. However, continue to use eBay.com web flows for the following tasks:

  • feedback
  • returns
  • responding to buyer cases

 

Type of recommendation

Recommendation

Product listings

  • Define items as an individual products, a product group, or as a variant (such as color or size) within a product variation group.
    • In a CSV file, you define each product and assign the same group ID to all variants of each product
    • In an XML file, you first define the product group, then provide the variant information for that group.
  • Include a product identifier such as UPC, EAN, or ISBN in every manufactured product. If your product has variations, add product identifiers at the SKU level.
  • To make changes to any product, upload the product feed with the changed SKUs to the Product folder. If any information for that product is missing, it is omitted in the listing.
  • When updating product listings, change the image URL only when an image changes.

SKUs

  • Each product and variation of a product (size, color, etc.) included in a feed must have a unique SKU.
  • There is no limit to how many SKUs can be contained in a feed file.

Feed files

  • General

Important! Feed files must not exceed 8 MB in size, whether zipped or unzipped. if a feed file exceeds 8 MB, split it into multiple files

  • Contents
    • When creating a feed file, start with the same type of sample file downloaded from the sample feed page http://developer.ebay.com/devzone/merchant-products/mip-schema/index.html. eBay recommends that you use the sample file, including all columns, as a template.
    • Alternative: if you already have feed files, start with one of your own known good feed files of the same type.
    • Before uploading a completed feed file, you may remove all unused columns if they do not contain required fields.
    • You can remove a field (for example, subtitle) from the combined product, product, availability and distribution feeds by leaving the value empty. When you upload the feed, MIP revises the listing and removes the subtitle from it.
  • Creating and/or editing CSV formatted files
    • If possible, create your CSV files with a standard spreadsheet application such as MS Excel or Google Sheets and save as a CSV file. The application includes all the delimiters and escape characters needed when you save the file as CSV.
    • To manually create a CSV formatted file, you must include escape characters correctly or MIP will not accept the file. See for details and examples.
    • You may require category-specific data in your product, distribution and/or combined feeds. eBay provides an Item Specifics Lookup Tool https://go.developer.ebay.com/item-specifics-lookup-tool that you can use to look up category IDs and retrieve item specifics metadata for your category selection.
  • Uploading feeds
    • You can upload any type of feeds multiple times per hour.
    • You can upload up to 10 feeds at one time. Feeds can be of the same type or a mixture of different types.
    • After uploading your complete set of feeds, only upload feed files when needed, for example, when products, price, and quantity change.
    • Upload product feeds before availability or distribution feeds when SKUs are added or changed. Otherwise, upload availability feeds independently when quantities change, and upload distribution feeds independently when prices change
  • Important! If only a few SKUs in a feed have been changed (for example, price and quantity), eBay recommends that you upload only the changed SKUs instead of the entire feed you originally uploaded. This increases performance, saves a great deal of time, and significantly reduces the load on system resources, especially with large feed files.

    Important! When using a description template, always upload the template before you upload the feed file.

  • Processing (information)
    • Feeds of the same type are processed sequentially, in the order queued on the server.
    • Feeds of different types are processed in parallel.
    • While a product feed is processing, availability and distribution feeds are locked because these feeds can’t be processed simultaneously. While a combined feed is processing, product, availability, and distribution feeds are locked.

ZIP files

  • You can upload a feed file directly or zip it to reduce file size. MIP unzips a zipped file before processing.
  • Do not include anything in a zip file except a feed file. A zipped file must not contain a file folder.

Image files

  • Minimum of one image file (photo) for each SKU/listing
  • Maximum of 12 image files for each SKU / listing (one image in each of 12 available columns in the feed file)
  • Each image file must have a unique URL
  • Important! Always use a new URL when an image changes, because MIP cannot detect that an image at the same URL has changed.

  • See the Catalog Best Practices Guide and the eBay seller center for image requirements and recommendations.

More about images

When you upload a feed that contains image URLs to MIP, compares the URL(s) in your feed with the URL(s) it already has. MIP does not look at your computer, storage device, or cloud storage to see if the contents located at the URLs have changed. If the URLs in the feed are the same as the URLs in the listing, it does not upload anything. If it detects a new image URL, it uploads the file and displays the image in the listing. If it detects that a URL it already has is missing from the feed, it deletes the file and removes the image from the listing.

To replace an image in a listing, in the CSV file, simply replace the URL for the image you want to replace with the new URL. The new image will then be located in the same place in the listing as the old one was.