eBay Promotions Manager: Not Just for Big Etailers?
By Greg Holden
More than 10,000 eBay sellers are currently using a sales tool for eBay Store owners called Promotions Manager. The question is: How many of eBay's smaller business owners know what Promotions Manager does (and how many who do know about it are happily using it)?
Promotions Manager was introduced in Fall 2013 under the name "Sales Maximizer." The tool is intended to give sellers added flexibility in designing the sorts of promotions established large retailers regularly offer to encourage increased order size or empty out their inventory.
Users can quickly set up promotions in their eBay Stores in one of several categories:
- Order Size Discounts (for example, "Buy 3, get one free!")
- Free Shipping Offers ("Free shipping when you spend $50")
- Sale Events ("Save up to 40%")
- Related Item Discounts ("Create a bundle and save")
- Targeted Coupons ("Save $10 when you spend $100 or more")
One of several products that eBay released in the past year to streamline the sales process for eBay Stores proprietors, Promotions Manager enables sellers to set up their own promotions by means of templates, without having to know HTML or another markup language. For small-scale business owners who don't have marketing or promotions staff and are doing it all themselves, Promotions Manager can save a considerable amount of time.
One comment I've heard about Promotions Manager is that it's aimed at larger eBay businesses like Wayfair, which offers more than 300,000 items in its eBay Store and has made itself available for quotes about Promotions Manager.
eBay spokesman Ryan Moore commented that, indeed, "Large sellers are a key audience, but small sellers are encouraged to use the tool to create promotions and grow their business on the site."
Moore added that a primary goal is to help sellers build buyer loyalty. "It allows sellers to create the types of promotions that buyers have been accustomed to see when they shop online and offline in this competitive retail environment. Items included in promotions can receive differentiation in search results and also display a banner and a module on the view item page highlighting the offer."
Despite being a free eBay Store feature for a year, Promotions Manager isn't well-known among developers we contacted who create software that supports selling on eBay.
John Slocum, founder of Blackthorne Software and SixBit Software, simply said, "We don't currently support Promotions Manager."
Greg Sisung, founder and CEO of InkFrog, said, "I've seen that they have it but never really dug into it and have not heard anything about it."
Ryan Bowler of Kyozou said, "It looks like it hasn't really caught on well yet. I know some details about it but we aren't integrated with it at this time (or the previous Sales Maximizer) and we haven't had much demand. Markdown Manager is a bit more popular, but we're not integrated with it yet either."
Markdown Manager, another product offered by eBay to streamline discounts on product listings, will eventually become part of Promotions Manager, eBay's Ryan Moore said.
"Markdown Manager is a separate tool that allows sellers to create single-item markdowns for limited periods of time. Items discounted through markdown manager can be included in sale events created through Promotions Manager. Next year, we plan to incorporate Markdown Manager into Promotions Manager in an effort to consolidate these tools into a single location. Once this happens, sellers will be able to discount at the item level or at the promotional category level from a single tool."
A scan of comments posted on eBay's discussion boards show comments both pro and con Promotions Manager. A few express enthusiasm for it. Some users are happy with the feature in general but say they've had difficulty implementing specific types of promotions. Others give it a thumbs-down. Still others are curious and wondering who else has tried Promotions Manager.
A lengthy thread on eBay's discussion boards contained one positive comment about Promotions Manager and many more comments about the failure of a "Buy 2 Get 3" promotion that displayed prices incorrectly.
The so-so endorsements of Promotions Manager among small-scale merchants are epitomized by David Rapport, who sells recycled auto parts through EkusParts.com and through an eBay Store, which has just over 1,100 items for sale.
"I haven't used Promotions Manager for months. It's not very intuitive," Rapport says. "I'm not sure it would help my business on eBay. eBay has so many ads on seller listings that it is becoming very hard to see what exactly is being sold. There are too many distractions. If a customer clicks in to my product page on eBay at least give me the chance to sell my item. My guess is that Promotions Manager is for large companies."
Moore confirms that large sellers are embracing it. "Many of our largest sellers are actively creating promotions, and the adoption within the smaller seller population has been growing rapidly over the course of this year when Promotions Manager was made available to anyone subscribing to be an eBay store seller," he commented.
Sellers who have an eBay Store subscription and wish to try Promotions Manager can track the results. This instruction manual (in PDF format) for Promotions Manager published in February advises sellers to track sales by printing sales reports, found under Manage Offers.
About the author:
Greg Holden is EcommerceBytes Contributing Editor. He is a journalist and the author of many books, including "Starting an Online Business For Dummies," "Go Google: 20 Ways to Reach More Customers and Build Revenue with Google Business Tools," and several books about eBay, including "How to Do Everything with Your eBay Business," second edition, and "Secrets of the eBay Millionaires," both published by Osborne-McGraw Hill. Find out more on Greg's website, which includes his blog, a list of his books, and his fiction and biographical writing.
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