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eBay Resurrects Cashback to Keep Shoppers Coming Back

eBay suspended cashback campaigns in 2011 in order to evaluate the program. This year they’re back on a limited basis. Interestingly eBay scaled back its own eBay Bucks loyalty program as of January 1, 2014.

We checked in with eBay to find out how important the cashback marketing strategy is in attracting shoppers and to find out more about the current eBay cashback campaigns.

Cashback is run through its affiliate program, the eBay Partner Network (ePN). “eBay is active in loyalty shopping programs in its global markets, but the level of participation differs by region,” an eBay spokesperson said in response to our initial inquiry.

Three years ago, ePN wanted to better understand the return on investment the cashback programs were offering, according to eBay’s then head of the U.S. ePN program, JJ McCarthy. He told EcommerceBytes, “After careful analysis and thorough internal debate, we decided that the only way to gain a definitive (quantified) understanding of the value of these partnerships is to conduct a “go dark” test.” The goal of the test was to quantify the incremental value of cashback campaigns and to price them properly, he said.

This week, an eBay ePN spokesperson confirmed that loyalty programs on sites such as MrRebates.com, Fatwallet.com, and others are offering cashback on eBay purchases. “While we don’t disclose the names of all of our publishers, I can tell you that we are working with loyalty publishers in all markets.”

eBay does not determine the rates of cashback or points – that is up to each publisher. eBay ran an exclusive test with FatWallet in February and opened up the program to others a few months later.

According to one affiliate, eBay initially offered greatly reduced commissions with the resurrection of the program, though it has since increased commissions significantly – though still greatly reduced relative to pre-2011 levels.

We’ve found the following loyalty shopping programs offering eBay cashback:






eBay’s ePN spokesperson said, “I can’t specifically compare the importance of cash back publishers with other marketing efforts, but our primary goal is to drive the most traffic to eBay through our program, and we do that with a variety of different types of publishers – loyalty is just one of the many business models we work with.”

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.