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What Happened to eBay’s Loyalty Program?

eBay
What Happened to eBay's Loyalty Program?

eBay launched a new loyalty program one month after decimating its eBay Bucks program last year, but what’s startling is how narrow it is: the eBay Top Star new program is available in only two categories, according to its website.

eBay all but eliminated its longtime loyalty program for buyers called eBay Bucks in April 2021. A quick check of the eBay discussion board on Sunday showed buyers are still asking why they no longer receive eBay Buck rewards, such as a longtime member who called the lack of Bucks for purchases “very frustrating.”

eBay’s new loyalty program is called Top Star, which is by invitation only and is available only to top buyers of sneakers. As we wrote last year, it got off to a bit of a rocky start by publicizing perks that were not available to everyone.

Those left out were not pleased, but others, such as this seller who posted a video to YouTube about his experience being in the Top Star program this month, are pleased with their membership.

As a side note, the letter eBay sent to the seller announcing his membership in eBay Top Star program was signed by Mark Flaa, Director of Sneakers at eBay, whose LinkedIn profile shows he’s no longer employed at eBay as of April 2022.

The eBay Top Star program calls itself “Our invite-only loyalty program for watches and sneakers.” The landing page describes three benefits of membership:

Seasonal Collections
Exclusive access to a curated collection of covetable sneakers.

Special Events
One-of-a-kind events featuring sneaker celebrities that you won’t want to miss. Plus, a chance to chat with fellow enthusiasts.

Top Star service
Personalized support from a dedicated customer support team.

Unlike eBay Bucks, a search for “Top Star” on eBay discussion boards and on social media had us wondering if the program was still active. However, during this month’s eBay Seller Check-In, an eBay executive referenced the program, saying it was available to the highest spenders in sneakers and would be expanding to other categories.

Watches and sneakers are part of eBay’s “focus category” strategy. While eBay CEO Jamie Iannone referenced the strategy in his second-quarter post-earnings call with Wall Street analysts on August 3, he didn’t specifically mention the Top Star loyalty program.

The CEO did say that focus categories performed 9% better than rest of the marketplace – but since GMV was down 18% as a whole, does that mean focus categories simply did less poorly than the rest of the marketplace, or did eBay see real growth in focus categories?

The number of eBay active buyers declined again in the second quarter – would bringing back eBay Bucks benefits help bring back absent buyers?

Let us know if you’ve encountered the Top Star program on eBay and if you believe the end of eBay Bucks’ main benefit has had an impact on your sales.

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
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/.

3 thoughts on “What Happened to eBay’s Loyalty Program?”

  1. How ironic. The letter sent to the proud seller about his membership in the “loyalty program” was “signed by Mark Flaa, Director of Sneakers at eBay, whose LinkedIn profile shows he’s no longer employed at eBay as of April 2022”.

    So eBay couldn’t even hold on to the guy who sent the letter to the seller, because he LEFT THE COMPANY.

    eBay just can’t seem to do this right, can they?

  2. This is the first I’ve heard of the “Top Star” program. I remember eBay killing eBay Bucks. 🙁 I never earned a lot of $$ with eBay Bucks, but it was still a welcome reward!

    It makes sense that “focus categories” would perform better. eBay has been putting MUCH more effort into promoting sneakers, watches, and sports cards the last few years. It would be NICE if they’d treat all categories and all sellers (or at least TRS) equally!!!

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