Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Mar 17 2013 12:24:47

eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers

By: Ina Steiner

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In eBay's latest seller survey, the company said it was considering ways to help sellers generate repeat traffic to their eBay listings and asked sellers about their marketing efforts to eBay buyers. eBay also wanted to know from sellers how many of their buyers were repeat customers.



The survey asked if sellers had ever sent emails to their eBay buyers or included inserts in eBay orders encouraging buyers to purchase from them again in the future from their own website. (These days, many retailers large and small use eBay as part of their customer-acquisition strategy.) The survey also asked sellers which of following functionality they would use if eBay made it available:

- A notification to buyers on the site that they have offers toward your eBay listings    
- Inserts in packages with coupons good for purchasing your eBay listings    
- Emails to your buyers with discounts toward your eBay listings    
- Other {Please specify}     
- I do not think any of the above will be helpful in generating traffic on eBay (for eBay listings)

This is a revolutionary way of thinking for eBay, which up to this point has only concerned itself with generating repeat business for itself. For example, eBay now inserts other sellers' listings into live listings. Not surprisingly, sellers who pay for the listings are not happy to see competitive offerings in their Item pages.

One seller who received the survey questioned eBay's motives and its sincerity in helping sellers generate repeat traffic. "I would advise exercising extreme caution in answering the first couple of questions truthfully," she told me. "If an eBay seller admits to doing some of this, it will be in direct violation of some stated eBay policies. It doesn't matter if we agree with them or if we like the policies. They are current policies and we are suppose to abide by them. So if you actually do as the first question asks, by telling eBay you could be risking sanctions in my opinion."

Another seller told me she was shocked to see the first survey question, which asked, "After making a sale on eBay, which of the following have you ever sent to buyers to encourage them to buy from your website or from you directly in the future?"

This skepticism on the part of sellers is understandable, since eBay has worked to prevent them from driving buyers to their own off-eBay websites. For example, in yesterday's Letters to the Editor, a seller said eBay had blocked her legitimate correspondence with a buyer, informing the seller, "Your message wasn't sent because we've noticed that it might suggest a purchase outside of eBay."

But it's not surprising for eBay to send mixed messages to sellers. Even when assured by customer service reps that a particular practice is acceptable, sellers have said eBay's Trust & Safety department used its own, stricter set of rules to penalize them for what it called policy violations.

The most promising detail in the survey could be the option listed under the question, "eBay is considering ways to help generate repeat traffic to your eBay listings. Which of following would you use if eBay made this functionality available to you to (for your eBay listings)?" That is: "Emails to your buyers with discounts toward your eBay listings."


eBay already conducts email and social media marketing on behalf of sellers - but only for diamond sellers - manufacturers and national retail chains such as Toys R Us and Barnes & Noble, for example.

There was a time when eBay had a loyal following of sellers who listed exclusively on eBay and drove shoppers to their own branded eBay Stores, but after eBay pulled the rug out from eBay Store owners, many sellers began listing on multiple marketplaces, and a good number have set up storefronts off of eBay.

But that doesn't mean eBay sellers wouldn't welcome the ability to market to eBay buyers to return to their listings - they're just probably not holding their collective breath for that day to come.




Comments (41) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers   eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sun Mar 17 14:46:07 2013

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do may be used against you in the ebafia Trust and Safety Department. If not
prohibited by the ebafia user agreement, you have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to ebafia and to have an attorney
present during ebafia questioning now or in the future. If you cannot afford an attorney, you're too indigent to continue selling on ebafia and will be NARUed. If you decide to answer any questions now, without an attorney present, you will still have the right to stop
answering at any time until you talk to an attorney. Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, are you
willing to answer ebafia entrapment questions without an attorney present?

Perminate Link for eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers   eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 17 15:04:07 2013

Ming is right.
Ming is always right.
IDENTIFICATION.
When has ebay EVER sent a thing out like this that has NOT BEEN a set up for SELLERS- NEVER.
Listen to me and Ming-Exercise your right to REMAIN SILENT.
MH- do not answer that ebay question- do not fill out ANY surveys as they will be used to CULL you.

Perminate Link for eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers   eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sun Mar 17 15:59:05 2013

Sellers would be far better off never answering their surveys. If you have to lie on them to get increased exposure then that data is used to show interested parties just how happy with ebafia sellers really are.

If you tell the truth, they can't and won't handle the truth and your sales will plummet.

In my opinion, the best long term survey strategy is never to respond to them.

Perminate Link for eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers   eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Sun Mar 17 16:41:37 2013

Regarding off-site marketing, perhaps they should be asking the big retailers they do business with.  The big boys & girls wrote the book on marketing & it has now carried over to the internet. They have entire departments for it, I'm sure.

Buy something from a large retailer on eBay and you are getting emails and inserts with coupons and special offers til kingdom come. It is made clear it is for use on THEIR site, not eBay.

Perminate Link for eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers   eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sun Mar 17 16:56:29 2013

If ebafia actually were considering helping non Diamond sellers, two things they could do immediately would be to eliminate Best Match altogether and return to the former default, Ending Soonest and advertise.

Let the Diamonds sink or swim on their (non) merits just like they force the rest of must regardless whether we're TRS or not once the Diamonds get their 100% exposure which leaves little tier space for our listings.

Further, ebafia needs to take a hard look at some of the overcrowded categories and close them to new sellers just like Amazero does. The category I sell in is a niche category in one of the largest overall categories, but it's full of rampant misrepresentation, fraud, and forgeries. Some sellers steal photos and product descriptions from other ebafia sellers and websites. A few have to source or have made items they sell because they have no inventory whatsoever but show stock photos of items they can't deliver, and I'm not talking about custom made items or drop shipping. Ebafia claims they have no way to end the fraud.

One of my competitors owes ebafia and their suppliers hundreds of dollars in fees so they moved to another state, use new billing and store names, and are back in business on ebafia.

I can think of several ways ebafia could attempt to limit post sale "private" marketing, but I'm not going to mention them here for obvious reasons.

Ebafia Corp. needs to become much leaner if they hope to succeed in the long term.

They desperately need management with a long term vision instead of the phony baloney MBA Speak of a five year innovative disrupted disruption plan. They need to trim at least half of their management and combine departments which could if implemented correctly vastly improve the fractured internal communication paradigm that frequently produces contradicted, confusing, and disjointed messages.

Instead of conjuring up new ways to screw sellers out of still more profit, eliminating a lot of these redundant and unnecessary management positions and a thoughtful reorganization would save ebafia a lot of money.

The fact is the ebafia allocates their resources in far too many wrong places including stock options.

John Donahoe couldn't have done a better job suiciding ebafia than if he were secretly on the Amazero payroll.

And finally, get those competitors' listings off my live listing pages that I pay for NOW! Take MH's advice and file an online complaint with the FTC now about this.

These guys better be tweaking their resumes/

@MH Please consider posting the FTC complaint link here everyday.











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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sun Mar 17 16:57:49 2013

Correction: One of my competitors owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in ebafia fees and to their suppliers.

Perminate Link for eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers   eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sun Mar 17 17:19:53 2013

This was an extremely short survey from Ebay.  It was only 6 pages long.  Not all surveys are as scary as I found this one.  But I do have serious concerns over the motives behind it.

My biggest concern is if someone responds to this survey and actually answers the first question that they do actively market to their buyers for off Ebay transactions.  

Is Ebay only trying to gather information to see how deep this problem is.  How many sellers it has that are actively trying to do transactions outside of Ebay.  I'd say that is doubtful considering their history.

Or is Ebay trying to entrap some sellers.  For those that answer the first question saying "Oh yes I do".  Will Ebay then impose unannounced sanctions on them.  Will Ebay demote them in searches?  Will Ebay do other things to damage sales for those sellers without notice?  All of which is very possible.  I have no idea if it is probable, but it most certainly is possible.

The 5th screen is another multiple choice question that sent me laughing so hard I could hardly continue.  Why in the world would I want Ebay even MORE involved in my transactions.  They already micromanage us to the point of the ridiculous.  They are suppose to be a VENUE, but I think they have forgotten the definition of that word.

Anyways, what is so funny to me is the suggestion that they could send emails to buyers offering discounts off my items.  So who is paying for that?  Is that discount out of Ebay's pocket or mine?  If it is mine, I can't afford it!!!!  As we all know it is darn expensive to sell on Ebay.  I simply can't afford to do that.

This is just a crazy little survey, but it is NOT harmless in my opinion.  If you are going to participate, be very careful and think things through before answering.  You may just get a nasty surprise if you aren't careful.

Perminate Link for eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers   eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Sun Mar 17 17:21:54 2013

One thought, I'm not a tech person so don't know how difficult this would be:

Target those that are ''watching'' eBay items with savings offers. Who knows, an offer might knock buyers off the fence. Capability would have to be coordinated with markdown manager, tho, kind of tricky or two discounts at the same time could be possible.  

I get watchers on my items, sometimes long-term.  Frequently markdown manager kicks in and - Boom! - it spurs a buyer to action.

Perminate Link for eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers   eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers

by: Truk This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 17 18:01:03 2013

It's really sad that trust of ebay has eroded so bad that seller's can't answer a simple survey

It's really sad that the mis-trust of ebay is so well earned

Should I think ebay will be fair with us just because we have been fair with them?
I think I'm just fool'in myself!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sun Mar 17 18:08:45 2013

But it really isn't a simple survey.  The opening question is them asking you if your are breaching current policy.  To me that isn't simple, it is scary as to why they are asking and what they may use the information for.

Perminate Link for eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers   eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sun Mar 17 20:59:47 2013

Id ebafia wants to send potential buyers offering further "discounts," then they can pay the difference. My items are already discounted as deeply as I'm willing to sell them for.

But ebafia does nothing for free. We'd be charged a fee for the privilege of allowing ebafia to further diminish our profitability.

Of course we could always raise our prices by 100% and have markdown manager put everything on sale for 50% off like brick and mortar liquidators and some ebafia sellers do.

The fact is that existing sellers won't be acting as unpaid ebafia cheerleaders unless and until (and maybe not even then) ebafia re trains its buyer base.

With Amazero becoming increasing unreasonable and expensive, ebafia has a golden opportunity window to lure back former ebafia sellers IF they get rid of current management and interlocking directorate Board of Directors and their destructive, anti seller mindset, hire new management who understands who butters their bread and admits to and apologizes for the despicable treatment sellers have received under John Donahoe, Devin Wenig et. al., apologizes to buyers for the constant confusion and search manipulation and eliminates both, restores mutual feedback, and lowers FVF fees.

It's time ebafia to transform itself from a stock option driven corporation to a mature corporation that rewards long term shareholders.

Unless these changes are made very, very soon, ebafia will continue its slide into ecommerce irrelevance.

Perminate Link for eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers   eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers

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

Sun Mar 17 21:09:18 2013

It's always been very clear to me that we are prohibited from soliciting outside (off-eBay) sales WITHIN the confines of the eBay system. (And by ''we'' I'm referring to the ordinary rank-and-file sellers.)

What remains unclear to me is this: Does eBay have ANY WRITTEN POLICY THAT PROHIBITS (or attempts to prohibit) SELLERS FROM SOLICITING FUTURE DIRECT SALES *AFTER* THE INITIAL TRANSACTION IS COMPLETE?

For example: Coupons, flyers, brochures or catalogs enclosed in the shipment? Or, ''thank-you'' post-sale email messages that invite buyers to visit a website?

I'm sure that's something that eBay would *like* to do... and it seems to be something that's TOTALLY unenforceable anyway. But do they actually have the balls to put it in writing?

Perminate Link for eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers   eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sun Mar 17 21:23:18 2013

For ebafia to prohibit fliers with shipments would, in my opinion, constitute flagrant restraint of trade and would be illegal.

That's not to say, however, they wouldn't try and then make it a DSR.

I hope the stock analysts who read these blogs grasp just how desperate ebafia really is and start telling the truth in their reports and recommendations.

Perminate Link for eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers   eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers

by: Frank F This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 17 21:31:16 2013

Instead of asking sellers about this - they ought to ask us we feel about not getting any advertisement to get any customers in the first place LOL.  I see ETSY and even some of the other free listing marketplaces know the value to advertise to lure new customers  and pay to get listings exposure in Google - but ebay collects our fees and give us no exposure at all...  

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by: Jbyron This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 17 23:07:08 2013

Until search is fixed to give all seller's a fair shot and a level playing field what is the point of wasting extra energy listing on eBay? With the level of contempt they show towards their customers the sellers it is a wonder that they have managed to survive as a business at all.

Perminate Link for eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers   eBay Survey Asks If You Market to Your eBay Buyers

by: AgendaSwallowsAll This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 18 00:38:53 2013

We had an individual steal our complete business model including portions of our contract to place in their listings with none of what they'd stolen making a shred of sense for it was bits & pieces, not the whole and proceeded to make the product line worthless.

Within their listings they have a website address displayed advising the product is available on their site and if one goes to it, the product is 10 percent less.

We have sent well over 2,000 reports through the ''report a seller'' link, not a thing has been done. Intellect says both the ''report a seller'' & ''report a buyer'' links are nothing more than fluff with not a soul manning them at the other end as we have used both to report serious TOS and/or Trust & Safety violations until we've become blue in the face without a thing done, not even any contact from anyone at ebay saying ''not a violation, cease the contacts''.

With respect to ebay surveys, DO NOT EVER fill any out, if they're not used to kill you, they're used to pick your brain and then ebay test applies what they've picked out of a thought it's a mindset of the masses speaking. I'm going to say this in the kindest way I can come up with, they who fill out such surveys do not in any way, shape or form reflect a mindset and/or a wish of the masses.

AgendaSwallowsAll

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This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles

Mon Mar 18 01:08:27 2013

Now asking if you add "custom" invoices and other stuff with the items. The worst survey I see from eBay. It is good only in the junk.  

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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 18 01:08:36 2013

@FRANK--

I'm with you here!

We pay and pay and PAY and whatta we GET?  Nutthin'.

Now I am "just" a small seller but I would LIKE to grow on ebay --but ebay makes it almost impossible to DO this if you are not

A. From China with absolute carp to sell for almost free and lying about WHERE the item comes from and
B. One of the Favored Few Mega Sellers that are (as far as I know!) NOT from China such as Neimans (who are dropping ebay I believe) and Toys-R-Us (with the billions and billions of NFB's that "Don't Count")  

In which case the Red Carpet is rolled out and the private jets are fueled and waiting for you.  

They are sadly NOT waiting for you 'n me.

Now I wonder what a SURVEY that WE sent to EBAY would ask?

1.  IF you had to give a reason why your company fosters dissent between SELLERS and BUYERS the reasons would be:

A. Sellers and Buyers are natural enemies in the wild
B.  Buyers and Sellers are like siblings--unable to get along without Time Outs and being grounded
C. Someone on our Board has "Relationship Issues" and needed to see how these worked in real life
D. We make more money when we have dissent and can glom onto fees we didn't really earn

2.  Why does ebay feel the need to grab a percentage of postal fees that are for the payment of legitimate shipments?

A.  We wanted to make it clear that shipping overages will not be tolerated--unless it is OUR shipping calculator that provides the amounts

B.  We had one response on a Survey that we sent out saying that the shipping on a widget was TOO HIGH and we wanted to KO that right away

C.  We wanted to make the Chinese deep discount shipping look particularly good to buyers

D.  We needed the cash man---STFU and hand it over and no one gets hurt

3.  Why does ebay place advertisements for OTHER sellers items on the listing that I am PAYING FOR?  And isn't this a conflict of interest?

A.  We are one big happy family at ebay and need to learn to SHARE our pages with the other family members.  We wouldn't want to hurt their feelings now would we?  Would we?

B.  We had a lot of bored programmers sitting around and some spare space on the hard drive and decided that this was how we should justify our existence to the Overlords

C.  We are so hoping that someone buys the higher price item in error or buys YOUR item and believes that they really ARE getting a solid gold diamond crusted bathmat instead of the used Uggs that YOU were selling--and WE get to keep the float on the FVF

D.  We need the money you idiot  pay up or else your dog gets it.

Any takers?

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by: billslistings This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 18 01:46:44 2013

We ALWAYS put a flyer, (Attached to the item), in ALL packages we ship that were sold on Greedbay.
It has our user names on it and our WEBSTORE.COM address to our listings page for our 3 different user names over there.

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by: billslistings This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 18 01:53:25 2013

address=addresses

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