eBay Rolls out Seller Incentive Programs in US, UK
By Ina Steiner
eBay has rolled out two programs to encourage U.S. and UK sellers to grow their businesses. The eBay PowerSeller Challenge is a program in which U.S. sellers can receive rewards for beating a 6-week sales target based on their previous sales. The eBay Seller Rewards program is a quarterly program in which UK sellers can receive PayPal coupons for exceeding previous sales as measured by fees on their eBay invoices.
The U.S. program gives sellers who beat their target a credit equal to 1% of the difference between the sales target and actual eligible sales. All participants will also be entered for a chance to win one of ten $5,000 cash prizes. The PowerSeller Challenge was announced on Wednesday (http://www2.ebay.com/aw/core/200611150913562.html) and runs from November 15 - December 26. PowerSellers must register to participate, and Store Inventory, Ad Format, Live Auctions, Real Estate, Automobiles and Vehicles, and Half.com listings do not count toward the program.
The UK eBay Seller Rewards Programme announced to PowerSellers on November 9 is a pilot program in which sellers can receive rewards for doing more business on eBay, as measured by fees on their eBay invoices. Each time registered eBay.co.uk sellers who are enrolled in the program exceed their current highest invoice amount ("Base High Watermark"), they will receive a reward that is 25 percent of the difference between the watermark and the new high watermark they have achieved. eBay will pay out rewards greater than 10 pounds in PayPal coupons. eBay will make a decision by the end of February 2007 as to whether or not to continue the program.
To participate in the program, sellers must have been a registered member of eBay.co.uk for at least 6 months prior to November 1 with accounts in good standing. Sellers must have paid an invoice of at least £250 in any month before registering for the program and must have a Business or a Premier PayPal account. In addition, sellers' "Newsletters, Promotions, and Event Notifications" notification preferences must be set to Yes when they register for the program. Sellers must exceed their "High Watermark" at least once during the program to continue to participate in the program (it appears this means once per quarter).
All eBay selling fees and subscriptions to services received from eBay will count towards the program except for Final Value Fee credits associated with Non-Paying Bidder disputes or Unpaid Item disputes. PayPal fees do not count toward the program.
Full details of the UK eBay Seller Rewards Programme can be found on the Terms and Conditions page (http://pages.ebay.co.uk/sell/sellerrewards/tsandcs/index.html).
News of the UK rewards program warranted attention from ChannelAdvisor's CEO and a Wall Street analyst. ChannelAdvisor CEO Scot Wingo posted on his blog on November 14, " Effectively this gives you a virtual break in your eBay fees as you scale - something sellers have been asking about for years. eBay is one of the only businesses where the more business you do, you actually pay the same, or in some cases, MORE." He also wrote, "Interestingly, the way this works, the larger the seller you are and higher a base you have, then the lower effective percentage discount you get" (http://ebaystrategies.blogs.com/ebay_strategies/2006/11/finally_ebay_se.html).
Robert Peck of Bear Stearns wrote in a November 15th research note that he thought the UK program was one way to address the issue of providing scale to growing sellers while maintaining their mantra of a "level playing field." Peck wrote, "We think this is an effective way to address the issue, as it doesn't reward just "large" sellers, but more "growing" sellers" (http:/www.bear.com).
Sellers on eBay UK discussion boards were of mixed opinion. One said, "Nice to see ebays is rewarding the hard workers," while another said, "it's a scam to get you to list more, and pay even more fees."
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to email@example.com.
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