Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Oct 7 2013 22:16:00

eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?

By: Ina Steiner

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Looking to purchase an eBay gift card at your local grocer or office-supply store? Sorry, you're out of luck. Searching among the Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Facebook and ToysRUs and restaurant cards hanging on the pegs of your local retailer gift-card racks, you'll no longer be able to find eBay cards.

eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore said it was a business decision to stop offering the cards in retail locations - you can still purchase eBay gift cards on eBay.com, however.

Buyers started noticing the cards were getting harder to find earlier this year, and by September, they'd dried up completely. This will be the first holiday shopping season without eBay gift cards in stores since eBay launched them in 2007.

Reading some of the comments on discussion boards such as this eBay board reveals the absence of eBay gift cards in retail stores could be bad news for sellers. Not only is eBay potentially losing out on acquiring new buyers who receive a gift card from a friend, many people purchased gift cards for their own use.

- Some people purchase gift cards with cash rather than paying for purchases with a credit card.

- Other people buy gift cards for themselves over time in low denominations, and once they've accumulated enough, splurge on a higher-priced purchase.

"I used to buy alot more from ebay but now that i can't buy ebay gift cards  I don't . I dont want to put it on my charge card and have a bill. So I used to buy ebay cards for cash. they should put them back in stores!!!"

"Not being able to buy cards for cash keeps me from buying more higher priced items. Buying cards with cash, I can build up my account when I have a few extra dollars and don't have to worry about over-spending."

"Buying an eBay gift card online doesn't work for someone who wants to purchase one with cash."


Read more about eBay's decision to scale back on its gift cards in Tuesday's EcommerceBytes Newsflash, and let us know what you think - will this have a big impact during the holiday shopping season?




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?   eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?

by: Snoopdog This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 7 23:45:26 2013

Way to go Ebay!!! You just love to hurt your sellers!!! Etsy here I come with over 3000 Items I will push over to them.

Perminate Link for eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?   eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?

by: BackInBlack This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 7 23:46:31 2013

"A business decision" = "We continue to get greedier."
They don't want to discount anything to anyone; don't want to give up a cut on gift cards.
I've often considered buying these at Kroger for the gas points, especially when they run a 4x bonus sale.  But I rarely do; it's more 'profitable' for me to use my (Amazon!) credit card through PreyPal and get those points for free stuff on Amazon, and also get 2% in eBay Bucks back, which I think maybe you don't get when you use a gift cards (can't remember).  Won't stop me at all, but it makes me think even less of eBay for doing this.  Everything business decision their management team takes is a total Cluster... Foxtrot.  Idiots.

Perminate Link for eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?   eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?

by: WhatWas This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 8 00:22:50 2013

Brilliant! just brilliant, eBay has way too many customers clamoring for too few products.

Their survey results from sellers indicated "that all of our sellers are almost out of stock" and just can't keep up with all the orders.

Seriously - so you'd rather have 100% of say $1 million than 70% of $10 Million AND thousands of NEW customers. Brilliant "Business Decision" JD! Absolutely boggles the mind - especially on "thinking days" (Really, JD takes time off for thinking days)

Dumb as a post - and that is an insult to posts everywhere! Shhheeesh

Oh yeah - forgot to answer the original question: Impact on sellers? Not good.  

Perminate Link for eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?   eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?

by: Will This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 8 00:23:12 2013

It costs good money to have items on shelves in retail stores.

Contrary to what eBay would want everyone to believe - sales figures of their gift cards most likely stunk.

The ends probably didn't justify means, so take them out of the stores.

Perminate Link for eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?   eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Tue Oct 8 00:43:07 2013

So you have a eBay gift card along side an Amazon gift card. Oh what to do...what to do! Which one should I choose?!

Ebay probably found out that 99.9% of the people chose Amazon. Pretty embarrassing for eBay.

Perminate Link for eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?   eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Oct 8 01:25:55 2013

One wonders when eBay is going to run out of toes to shoot off...

Pulling eBay gift cards just before the holidays gives me the feeling that there will be more lame brain holiday changes to come.

Last year, we gave eBay gift certificates to our mail carrier and the clerks at our local Post Office, and they were very happy to receive them.

This year.... well I guess we will just have to make them happy this year with Amazon cards instead.

In the long term this will be a win for Amazon, and another self inflicted sales killer for eBay and their sellers.

Perminate Link for eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?   eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?

by: auctionguy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 8 02:09:21 2013

This is just another admission by ebay that sales are down and continue falling. People don't even want to buy ebay gift cards.

Ebay should sell their own gift cards on ebay 7-day auctions starting at 99 cents, with free shipping, of course. They they could see what the real fair marked value of these gift cards is, rather than the inflated ''suggested retail value'' they place on them. Of course, they could only list one at a time, in accordanc with the duplicate listing policy.

Perminate Link for eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?   eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?

by: auctionguy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 8 02:13:00 2013

(continued from my post above)

Ebay could use that as a learning experience to see what it is really like to sell on ebay. Then they can deal with demanding customers, customers that expect free quick shipping, the occasional lost packages, customer complaints for item not as described, returns, DSRs, SNADs, feedback, and so on.

Perminate Link for eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?   eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 8 02:23:53 2013

@ric  my thought exactly, going into the holiday season ebay manages to shoot itself in the foot once again.

Perminate Link for eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?   eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Puck

Tue Oct 8 04:51:44 2013

"eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore said it was a business decision to stop offering the cards in retail locations" = We want to keep 100% of the selling price.

Perminate Link for eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?   eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Tue Oct 8 06:57:51 2013

I'm no eBay fan (in case you hadn't noticed) and even though I've kept it a secret, you should know that I'm usually distrustful of eBay.

Having said that... I'm inclined to believe that this is strictly a ''business decision'' that was influenced by eBay's lagging popularity. Someone at eBay looked at the raw numbers and didn't like what they saw.

It also suggests to me that eBay is not very optimistic about its future in this regard.

eBay has anever very forthcoming with meaningful real-world facts & figures on things like this. The data is always combined with other sales figures and is never (rarely) granular enough to reveal what's going on with eBay.com.

Nevertheless, we can look at the evidence of other eBay activities and policies and make some fairly accurate (if not predictive) assessments about the health of the company, its standings in the mind of the public, and its future course.

This bit of evidence leads me to believe that things are worse for eBay than eBay is letting-on. (Actually, this is something we've all known for YEARS anyway... but it's good to have some tangible evidence that helps to disprove the notion that we're all a bunch of whiny malcontents.)

Not including the negative effects on the honest, hardworking rank-and-file sellers... I can't help but to think that eBay's continuing decline couldn't happen to a more deserving group of scoundrels.

Perminate Link for eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?   eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 8 08:34:51 2013

Why is every retail type store, hotel, food chain, movies  etc. offering gift cards? Read an article that they are very profitable. I forget the exact results but a good percentage of profit is from people  getting them (gifts or whatever) and never using them. That equals all profit. HOWEVER, the key is that you have to sell them. Sounds like the ebay gift cards just were not selling period. Not even to the point of making a profit after the fees associated with them. We all know that ebay will do anything to show a profit. Shows how bad things really are. Maybe wall street will not notice?????

Perminate Link for eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?   eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Tue Oct 8 08:55:52 2013

Freddy makes a good point. Forgotten value, forgotten benefits, lost cards = bottom-line profit.

I've started experimenting with something similar on my website. Instead of offering a straight 10% off coupon, I've been tinkering with offering a 20% ''store-credit'' coupon offer. --- Early signs indicate that this is enough to motivate someone to make a purchase... but because the reward is ''store credit'' this requires the customer to RETURN and make ANOTHER purchase in order to use it.

Some do, some don't. Ultimately... if they never return (for whatever reasons) then that ends up being additional profit for me.

eBay's actions tell us that they aren't interested in all that ''free profit''. --- More accurately, the actual COST of the ''free profit'' is something that probably EXCEEDS the benefit.

Ergo, we can safely assume that PEOPLE AREN'T INTERESTED IN EBAY GIFT CARDS.

Look closely and eBay secrets will be revealed.

Perminate Link for eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?   eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?

by: salesrep1 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 8 08:57:26 2013

Look folks as much as it looks like a bad decision I'm not sure it was . If you buy a $25 gift certificate the store gets $25 they probably pay $12.50 for this . Blackhawk the dist gets maybe $2.50 and $10 is back to ebay. Now when u sell something ebay gets roughly 17.5% so that would be roughly 4.38 in income .So  lets say they sell 1million cards the cost to Ebay would be $25 million so the actual cash flow would be 4.38 million
truly fuzzy math even for them u sell 10 million u lose even more. They actually make out better on losses if no one uses their cards and they don't have to pay the sellers . It is a a very costly advertisement .

Perminate Link for eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?   eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Oct 8 09:29:21 2013

I get a chuckle every time I hear the ebay excuse of "it's a business decision". In other words don't try to make us explain. Better to get all those ebay gift cards off the street before they crash and burn leaving people holding several million in gift cards. Last thing I would give anyone for a gift. Amazon for sure, ebay never. I don't recall ever even seeing their cards at my local stores.

Perminate Link for eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?   eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 8 10:45:26 2013

Ive personally never seen eBay cards anywhere (not that I have a use for them) but I have seen Amazon ones all over the place.

Tons of Amazon ones plus daily deals on Apple iTunes cards means to me that theres plenty of business and profit if done right.

Being we are talking about eBay - where nothing is ever done right or on the "up n up" .... "something is screwy in St Louis" (to quote Bugs Bunny) so ... Ill agree with Annie and the others above - theres fould play afoot.

For me its no BFD ... another lame brain eBay stupidity.

Perminate Link for eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?   eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 8 10:45:57 2013

foul*

Perminate Link for eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?   eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?

by: OnceuponaTime This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 8 11:03:52 2013

Maybe purchasers of the cards were filing a snad and receiving refunds from paypal when the people who received the gift card were not happy with the item.  

Perminate Link for eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?   eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?

by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 8 11:29:05 2013

Not one of ebay's smartest moves for sure. They could have left them on the retail store racks until January and thus capitalized on the upcoming Christmas sales. But not wanting to give a percentage to the retailers, ebay decides that if they only offer them online they get the whole 100%. Only problem is, not everyone likes/wants to buy them online.

Perminate Link for eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?   eBay Pulls Gift Cards - What's the Impact on Sellers?

by: Dlife This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 8 12:26:10 2013

For all the sellers out there, a lot of the time you can get eBay gift cards from Kabbage for qualifying. I have seen them offer it several times so be on the lookout.  

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