Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Mar 18 2015 22:29:38

Are Apology Coupons a Wise Use of eBay Marketing Dollars?

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay is sending apology emails to shoppers who have experienced delivery delays or other problems with their orders, and the marketplace is including $5 coupons good for a future purchase on eBay. 

We noticed shoppers discussing the "apology coupons" on and off eBay. What was interesting about the comments from buyers who had received $5 coupons for slow delivery was that they hadn't complained to eBay, and were not even sure for which orders they were receiving the coupons.

In another case, eBay gave an apology coupon to a buyer who had experienced problems with a Chinese seller and ultimately had to open a case. He received a refund from eBay along with a $5 coupon and a note that stated:

Thank you for letting us know about the issue with your recent eBay purchase. We contacted the seller on your behalf and are pleased to learn that you were able to work it out. Still, we apologize for the inconvenience and would like to give you a coupon for $5 off your next eBay purchase.

What do you think of the use of unsolicited apology coupons? 

Have any sellers received a coupon for problems they've experienced with eBay or eBay buyers?




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by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 19 00:10:59 2015

i suppose it's nice IF there was actually a problem, but it doesn't sound like any of the people who received them actually thought they had a problem.

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by: whipnet This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 19 00:38:54 2015

My buyers must be breaking the bank as about 80% of my packages are getting hung up at the notorious North Houston Sort Facility.

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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 19 01:27:16 2015

LOL WHIPNET---My latest was almost a MONTH in Michigan; a prior one was a month to the day in Chicago;  and an incoming package was MELTED by the Springfield Mass one!

I have not seen or heard this but they are all about the beloved buyers--when was the last time a BUYER sat on the phone with them for HOURS and knew full well that the chances of ebay HELPING them was--nil?  Probably---never!!!!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
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Thu Mar 19 02:58:03 2015

More spaghetti being thrown at the wall. This is just one more demonstration of eBay’s desperation and can only be a further indication that eBay is indeed losing buyers. Unfortunately, these people are too stupid to have any understanding of why the buyers are starting to stay away …

The real question is, are all you sellers now wearing your lifejackets—24/7 …

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

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by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 19 04:44:16 2015

Just like a new born mother...Ebay burps, coddles, bottle feeds and changes the diapers of buyers daily.

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by: opherty and ciocci This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Mar 19 05:29:12 2015

We are living a nightmare with our orders starting from the beginning of February. All our registered airmail from Italy to US has AT LEAST more than 1 week delay.

All shipments have quequed up in NY & NEW HAMPSHIRE & PROVIDENCE. Many of the mail did not show up online on USPS simply because they were in queque to be worked out, so latest update was from Italy. And this did not work out well for my customers... at all :-(

We are trying to compensate our customers ourselves, with coupons & gift certificates, but it is not at all easy to deal with hundreds of shipping delays, as many customers simply do not want delays. And they are right. I would personally think in the same way :-/

Any other sellers experiencing similar issues with shipping to the US from Europe?

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Mar 19 07:30:21 2015

Look---another INCENTIVE for buyers to complain.

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by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 19 07:44:06 2015

We have all witnessed the moronic moves of ebay execs. This one is absurd. Instead of using the money on marketing, the tunnel vision on buyers are always right thing, is getting worse and fraud and theft grows along with the angst between buyers and sellers.
It is just the same old thing going on, tens of millions given to execs while sales suffer because of lack of a coherent and professional marketing plan, right now we have mickey mouse sitting at a cubicle collecting tens of millions of dollars in bonus money telling himself I am right, I am never wrong, I am the greatest. He cannot admit his mistakes and believe me he is wrong.
Ebay marketplaces have not gained anything, eccommerce on a whole grows tremendously each year and ebay has not kept up with that.
All that has been done was fee raising and a wedge driven between sellers and buyers.
This company layed off thousands of workers recently because they wanted to cut costs and then promptly awarded tens of millions in bonus money to its execs.
Really! All of that money could have been spent on some search engine marketing and programmers.
We do not need more coddling of buyers who make false claims, is this a joke. Steal from a seller and get a $5.00 coupon.

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by: Mark4 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 19 07:52:28 2015

Wow, the desperation that ebay is experiencing trying to get buyers back to their site is highly entertaining. glad I moved all my inventory to Bonanza.com and Amazon, never looking back and will NEVER oome back to feebay.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Thu Mar 19 08:30:17 2015

Philip:

The same thought came to me whilst reading the article.

Ebay = seeing which spaghetti strand sticks on your wall

But to tell the truth, they are probably using manicotti, molto al dente....

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by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Thu Mar 19 08:32:42 2015

Makes me so glad that I sell on eCRATER! It also makes me wonder who is actually covering the cost of the $5 coupon? Is ebay somehow sticking it into seller fees if cashed and sellers are oblivious since I can't imagine that they would give anything away. Yet again another way for ebay to get between the buyer and the seller to prove that ebay is not just a venue, they are the boss. Sellers are poorly paid employees of some sort and treated with distain.  

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by: booklover27 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 19 09:08:04 2015

I wouldn't trust Ebay judgement on apology coupons.  Could be they are siding with the buyer without acknowledging the sellers view of the unhappy situation.  Also, they could in turn punish the seller for each coupon they have to issue...

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by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 19 09:32:29 2015

There is ONE thing you count on with ebay and that is, them finding a way to make something WORSE or creating a problem when there is none.

It looks to me that ebay is trying to find a GIMMICK. They are desperate to find something to make themselves stand out from Amazon even on the backs of their own sellers.

I have issue with them trying to find something to make them stand out from Amazon, Etsy and all of the others who are wiping the floor with them like an old dirty mop.  But the problem and why ebay FAILS at every turn is that everything they come up with only HURTS their sellers in some way shape or form.

ebays solutions do not improve ebay, they only make their sellers look like the problem and ALWAYS cost the seller in money, feedback and ratings.

They cannot get it through their tiny little brains that the more they affect their sellers ratings the more DISTRUST people have with ebay as a whole and the more sellers find it impossible to make a living on ebay and leave. And the more sellers that leave the more BUYERS that leave, and those sellers tell their friends and family how horrible ebay is and how horrible they are treated so they lose even more potential customers.

friends and family do not like to see the the people they care about being mistreated, put out of business etc so they immediately or eventually stop patronizing the companies that do that.

Although Amazon is far from perfect, they have a much better reputation with their sellers than ebay and when you add the huge selection of products Amazon has, people not only like the huge selection, they like feeling better about the company they are doing business with.

Most people who still do business with ebay do it in SECRET because they are ASHAMED to be doing business with ebay (buying or selling).

If ebay really wants to do a TURNAROUND then they need to STOP doing all of the things that have only made them worse, and absolutely includes creating "solutions" that only and always HURT their sellers in some way but usually in many ways.

Here is an example of how ebay "innovates".
We are teaching are children to behave even better so we are now BEATING THEM WITH A BIGGER STICK and because we value our buyers so much we are also letting YOU beat them with a stick as well.

Well first off, only SICK people want to see children beat at all let alone with a bigger stick, but only sicker people want to grab a stick and beat them with you.
But even with a bunch of sickos who enjoy beating them with you, they eventually get board with that and either demand you increase the beating or they move on.

So what does ebay do when sickos start to move on, they not only increase the beating but they create even more vicious ways to make them even more enjoyable for the sickos to stay. As a result more of the abused children finally have enough and flee from their abusers or even more sadly some die off as a result of the abuse (go out of business).

For me and so many others I have talked to, getting AWAY FROM EBAY was the one of BEST things that ever happened to us. We also realized that we make far more money other places and what we THOUGHT was decent money on ebay was nothing and we were actually LOSING money because of all of their scams and schemes, and they were actually HOLDING US BACK on top of the constant ABUSE they forced us take from them and their "buyers". And our HEALTH improved because the constant stress was now gone.

So NO, their current coupon scheme is not wise and will only further the ABUSE and damage to their sellers, just like everything else they scheme up.

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by: ignatz This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 19 09:49:59 2015

It's just hard to believe the irrational programs and policies this company engages in.  Most people in sales understand the principle of expectation management, EXCEPT those who work at ebay.  It seems this company is hell-bent on raising buyer expectations to astronomical levels, so the slightest glitch or hiccup will make buyers think they're getting shortchanged.  Giving out $5 coupons to people who haven't complained is just the latest example of ebay's assinine mismanagement in this regard.

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by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 19 09:59:29 2015

I do not agree with the coupons.
First they need to stop giving customers the impression they will receive a standard/ground/first class item in 4 days including purchases made at night, weekends and holidays.
Second, don't give customers the impression that the item is late when they have not asked about it. How does ebay even know why it is late, I had one bouncing around for a month because the customer had put in several forwarding orders without cancelling them.
Next, The ebay side of the tracking seems to stop updating throughout the process, are they actually relying on their own un-updated tracking to make this decision?
My biggest complainers about the shipping times are the ones who spent a grand total including shipping of under 10.00, that is quite a pleasant surprise to get a 5.00 coupon, wonder if there is a dollar amount spent for  these coupons?
By the way, if anyone knows what is going on with the post office since first week of February - since then the mail has been horrible, I never had this problem before, it is getting ''stuck'' all over the country seems every place it lands it stays quite a while, first class is running 2-3 weeks from mailing and I mail next day/same day. Even had an express a couple days late!

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by: cillianred This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 19 10:45:58 2015

@Barbbie

I've been saying the same thing about the post office, only for me, it's been since the first of January and it's not just delays. It's also packages being incorrectly scanned (or not scanned at all) upon delivery.  

 

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by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 19 10:49:35 2015

I was talking with my postman yesterday. He said they are searching & sidelining packages at his hub. I asked why , he said it came down from corporate , he really did not know why.

He mentioned , its rumored to be , because of things recently being sent threw mail. As I said before , this global thing , & shipping from people who really do hate americans. The possible introduction of harmfull things , may slow the mail. Especially since global went viral. No pun intended.

Mail scares me , especially from foreign soil.

 

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by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 19 10:50:20 2015

By the time Fleecebay gets done bottle feeding, burping, changing diapers and holding hands of buyers whats left are arrogant scammers and thieves who claim SNAD as a lie.

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by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 19 10:59:04 2015

IMHO, a SNAD is a wildcard excuse for a sleazy buyer to extort $ from sellers, rewarding this with a "gift" is insanity.

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by: JQ This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 19 12:17:39 2015

This story surprised me. First I have heard about this practice.

After thinking about it a bit, I suspect what is going on here is Ebay attempting to keep its remaining customer base happy by sending out these coupons when a problem might even potentially exist. The way they are doing it blames the individual seller for whatever problem may or may not exist, and presents Ebay as a company that pro-actively protects buyers from sellers who may (or may not) fall short.

So, I appreciate any efforts Ebay makes to drum up more business on the site, but resent that they did so in such a way that they throw sellers under the bus while presenting the company in the best possible light.

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