Demystifying MPNs: A Small Business Guide to Mastering Manufacturer Part Numbers on eBay

As a seasoned eBay seller, I know first-hand how crucial Manufacturer Part Numbers (MPNs) are for successfully selling products online. But MPNs are often overlooked by small business owners new to eBay selling.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll share my expertise on everything you need to know about MPNs to maximize visibility and boost sales on eBay.

What are MPNs and Why are They Important?

MPN stands for Manufacturer Part Number, which is a unique code assigned to specific product variants by the manufacturer. For example, Apple uses A1549 as the MPN for the iPhone 6S 64GB in rose gold.

According to eBay, listings with MPNs have up to 10% higher conversion rates. MPNs are essential for:

  • Accurate product identification: Prevents duplicate or ambiguous listings
  • Improved searchability: Buyers can filter by MPN to find exactly what they want
  • Higher visibility: MPNs help correctly categorize listings for better visibility in search
  • Reduced returns: Detailed product info like MPN helps avoid incorrect purchases
  • Increased trust and confidence: Signals professionalism and validates product authenticity

In short, MPNs are the product identifiers that make or break discoverability on a platform like eBay with over 1.7 billion listings.

MPN Requirements on eBay

eBay made MPNs mandatory for listings in certain high-risk categories prone to counterfeits or inaccuracies:

  • Electronics – MPN required for 95% of listings
  • Multimedia items – MPN required for 80% of listings
  • Auto parts – MPN required for 99% of listings

For other categories, MPNs are highly recommended but not yet required. However, I strongly advise all sellers to include MPNs whenever possible.

Common Mistakes Sellers Make With MPNs

As an eBay seller for over 5 years, I‘ve seen many sellers struggle with MPNs. Here are some common MPN mistakes to avoid:

  • Not checking product labels/packaging: Failure to verify MPN accuracy against physical product
  • Typos: Transposing digits or entering incorrect MPN
  • Placeholder values: Using dummy MPNs like 12345 when unable to find the actual MPN
  • Multiple MPNs: Listing too many MPNs without indicating which one corresponds to the product
  • Missing MPN: For categories requiring MPNs, listings without them will get removed

Avoid these errors by double-checking MPNs and using listing tools that auto-populate correct MPNs.

MPN Tips By Product Category

MPN requirements can vary across different product categories on eBay. Here are some category-specific tips:

Electronics: MPNs are almost always found on the product label or engraved on the item. Include the model number along with MPN.

Auto Parts: MPNs may not be labelled on products. Find MPNs using online part finder tools by entering vehicle make, model, and year.

Media/Music: For media like books, movies or music, the ISBN, UPC or EAN can be used as the MPN.

Clothing/Accessories: No MPN is required but try to include unique product codes from tags if available.

Toys: Include factory product numbers from packaging or tags in the MPN field.

Best Practices for Handling MPNs Like a Pro

Follow these pro tips when entering MPNs in your eBay listings:

  • Copy MPN directly from physical product and validate accuracy
  • For product variations, use the base MPN along with color/size attributes
  • Include both product name AND MPN in title and description for clarity
  • List manufacturer name corresponding to the MPN
  • Place MPN in correct ‘Item Specifics‘ field when listing
  • Add MPN image highlighting MPN location to aid buyers
[table] | MPN Best Practice | Reason |
|-|-|
| Verify against physical product | Ensure accuracy |
| Use base MPN for variations | Improves searchability |
| Include MPN in title & description | Reinforces product identity |
| List manufacturer name | Adds credibility |
[/table]

Conclusion

As an experienced eBay seller, proper use of MPNs has been one of the most impactful best practices for improving listings and increasing sales.

MPNs uniquely identify products and make listings more discoverable in search results. That‘s why eBay makes MPNs mandatory for high-risk categories.

Avoid common seller mistakes like typos and double-check MPN accuracy against physical products. Follow category-specific guidance and listing best practices outlined above.

With the right MPN strategy, your eBay listings will stand out, build buyer trust, and convert more shoppers into lifetime customers.