Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Nov 6 2018 23:55:44

Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short

By: Ina Steiner

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Seen on Reddit yesterday: "When do you guys estimate the next eBay 15%+ off sale to be?"

Just as eBay sellers feared, some buyers have begun holding off on making purchases in order to wait for the next sitewide flash sale to take place. In this case, the buyer said there was something they really wanted to purchase on eBay, "but I really like hitting these sales."

Exactly how much of that delayed-shopping behavior occurs is hard to say - it's also unknowable how many of those shoppers remember to come back and buy what they wanted, assuming those items are still available.

Shoppers are also getting confused about a type of coupon promotion eBay has begun running to try and boost conversion rates for sellers who opted in to Managed Payments, such as this one we wrote about in September.

This week, eBay ran another - the "PERKFIVE" coupon offered buyers a $5 discount off a minimum purchase of $10 (expired November 6, 2018). But shoppers who saw the terms and conditions could not figure out which items were eligible. 

"Seems like they've made it impossible to tell which items this applies to. We need to randomly add stuff to our cart then go to checkout to see if the discount is there? SMH" (Shaking My Head), wrote a shopper on PhatWalletForums. eBay doesn't explain on the terms and conditions page that only a tiny percentage of sellers qualify to have their listings be made eligible for the discount (the coupon only works if buyers pay through Managed Payments, which also excludes PayPal until next summer).

eBay is also running a promotion for members of its eBay Bucks loyalty shopping program (the promo expires November 7, 2018). However, on several deals sites, we saw shoppers complaining they weren't able to participate. Word of the promotion spread, but because it was by invitation only, many shoppers were disappointed when they encountered the following message: "THIS OFFER CAN'T BE ACTIVATED: You are not qualified for this offer."

Promotions targeted at buyers are good in theory - Flash sales and coupons should increase sales, and eBay Bucks promotions reward repeat customers. 

But some promotions can have unintended consequences and lead to disappointed shoppers. Here are some lessons for marketplaces when planning promotions:

- Understand shoppers share information about deals on numerous forums and may become disgruntled when they are excluded;

- Be careful about the timing and frequency of sales;

- Make it easy for shoppers to find products that qualify for promotions.

Attracting buyers and boosting conversions are worthy goals, but promotions have the potential to backfire if not carefully executed.



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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short   Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short

by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 7 03:22:09 2018

I fully acknowledge that this will seem entirely out of left field, but I have an on-going problem with "similarly tone-deaf" marketing promotions at ... wait for it .... KROGER SuperMarkets.
I am of the opinion that the HONCHOS in Cincinnati have no understanding that their WEIRD obsession with having Friday-Saturday ONLY promotions mixed in with their FULL-WEEK promotions is HURTING their sales with one segment of their client base at the same time it is accomplishing SOME of what they want in the way of increased $sales$.
Their Friday AND Saturday only Blockbuster sales promotions mean that anyone (me) who goes in Wed, Thurs.  who WANTS to buy up Planters' DryRoasted Peanuts for example)  put OFF buying at all knowing that the FriSat price will be 60 percent less.
Then for any Friday afternoon shopper who swoops in to take advantage ... Ta-Da... they are ALREADY COMPLETELY SOLD OUT.
Chew on that one and then extrapolate it to what eBay is accomplishing with DUD promotions as are being discussed in Ina' update message.  

Ten years ago I gave up on shopping at Randall's ( owned by Albertson's) over similar unintended "heartburn" over tricky couponing SALES promotions.  

Perminate Link for Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short   Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 7 04:34:44 2018

My ebay shopping cart is packed with stuff,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, no ebay discount, no sale

Perminate Link for Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short   Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short

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

Wed Nov 7 06:17:08 2018

The 15% off site wide sale (minimum purchase of $75) is usually in the last week of a financial quarter. Ebay losses money on many sales just to keep the GMV numbers up.  

Perminate Link for Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short   Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short

by: HappyOne This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 7 06:48:59 2018

When is the last time anyone paid full price at Bed Bath & Beyond? They always have a 20% coupon available. Buyers are so trained to use it that BBB can not wean buyers off them. So their prices start 20% higher than other stores.

Perminate Link for Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short   Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short

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

Wed Nov 7 10:14:15 2018

Only ebay could screw up something that is intended to be good for buyers AND sellers.  It's because sellers may benefit from it that they just can't get it right. I am on the East coast, I buy several things together, but have stopped buying until I see that coupon, which usually isn't announced and doesn't come until midday. It hinders sales terribly for any sellers I shop with.  I have since given up shopping on ebay because of their rules and hoops.  

Perminate Link for Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short   Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 7 11:00:21 2018

ebay throws uncooked spaghetti at the wall...again...and again

Perminate Link for Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short   Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short

by: Dburn This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 7 12:41:57 2018

Somewhat related. I got a invite only offer for 50% off FVFs in my category for new listings to 12/31. I clicked the link and  I got a message that the promotion  was Invite only and I wasn't qualified. I'm getting it down to one response: ''Yeah, that's eBay'' with ''how much of my life do I want to waste calling them up?''

Perminate Link for Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short   Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short

by: NoMoreEbay This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 7 13:54:51 2018

NASDAQ up 2%. ebay down 1%. Time for a new sale!

Perminate Link for Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short   Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short

This user has validated their user name. by: Lightning

Wed Nov 7 14:06:20 2018

Sometimes the coupons help to broker a deal.  I was watching an item for sale at $1700.  I didn't want to pay more than $1500, so there it sat, on my Watch List.  Ebay sent me an Ebay Bucks offer that would pay $100 in Bucks on that, the maximum per transaction.  I asked the seller if he was able to sell at $1600 (Best Offer was not enabled).  He agreed to, so we did the deal.  win-win-win.  The seller got a sale, I got the item, ebay got paid.  Even the stockholders were applauding.

Perminate Link for Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short   Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 7 14:23:11 2018

@NoMoreEbay
You beat me to it. Whole market is going gangbusters, and ebay is going in the wrong direction.
It's become the red-headed stepchild of e-commerce stocks.
A negative article in Financial Times today didn't help.

Perminate Link for Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short   Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 7 14:25:57 2018

Financial Times article...actually 2 days ago
https://www.ft.com/content/8c6270a4-dd93-11e8-9f04-38d397e6661c
?kbc=2d3e16e0-61cb-4322-8aff-3b01c59f4daa

Perminate Link for Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short   Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 7 14:44:02 2018

Up next - eBay promo - Wenigs 73" tv if you agree to buy some fake Chinese non licensed iphone charging cable ... anyone get that promo ?? LOL

Perminate Link for Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short   Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short

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

Wed Nov 7 19:54:18 2018

Absolutely agree with above posts - eBay has conditioned many buyers to hold off on non-urgent discretionary purchases (like gifts and tech items) until sitewide sales are announced. One need only do a quick search on deal sites, reddit, and social media to confirm.

Here's a few factoids in tracking eBay's sidewide percent-off ''flash'' sales YTD a couple of you may find interesting.

I can't paste the table here (text gets borked), but I pasted a screenshot in Ina's Tweet.

You can copy-paste this ➽ http://bit.ly/2JMYOwo  or click the ''Web Site'' link by my avatar for a snapshot of all the sales (meaning sitewide percent-off sales, not inclusive of all promos).

EBAY SITEWIDE PERCENT-OFF ''FLASH'' SALES FACTOIDS:

• Ebay has run 4 Sales in every quarter so far this year

• In Q1, eBay ran all four sales in March

• Every quarter has had one sale within the last 2 business days of the quarter

• Q3 is the first quarter to not feature a 20%-off sale (Q1 had one as well as Q2)

• There have been 13 sales thus far in 2018

• Depending on the percent-off and cap, optimal cart purchase price ranged from $333-$1,000K

• For over half the promotions, the optimal cart purchase price was $666 (rumor has it Devin sacrifices a goat before each earnings call)

• There has been an average of 18 days between sales (longest lag: 33 days, shortest: 3 days)

• 2 of the sales required the app to redeem

• After announcing belt-tightening of marketing expenses, the first sale of Q4 was ‘only’ 10%

SIDE NOTE: I fully expect at least a 15% off sitewide coupon somewhere around Black Friday/Cyber Monday, hopefully even a 20%.

Although these eBay-funded sitewide coupons are very 'costly' to eBay, they have already ''habituated'' many buyers who will spend their dollars elsewhere if this doesn't happen.

Every eBay seller in effect funds these sitewide sales, as the coffers are filled with by the fees and subscriptions of tens of millions of sellers. It is my strong opinion that these most significantly benefit the larger tech-oriented merchants selling gaming consoles, phones, drones, etc. with significantly diminished returns for smaller sellers.

Perminate Link for Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short   Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short

by: BargainzBabylon This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 8 00:59:50 2018

"For over half the promotions, the optimal cart purchase price was $666 (rumor has it Devin sacrifices a goat before each earnings call)"

Heh - that's the first time I've actually laughed when reading eBay's financial updates.  

Perminate Link for Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short   Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 8 05:57:31 2018

This is like Bedbath&beyond who issues 20% off coupons (to me) via mail or app every week.  I have a ton of their coupons and when I need something in BBB I am sure to have that coupon handy.  Big savings, but as a buyer, I get used to "waiting" to use those coupons.  That's why it's important to not sell the common brands.  Whatever brands you see scrolling across the screen, don't sell it!!!! Go with a High-end brand (Chanel) or some rare/collectible item.

Perminate Link for Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short   Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short

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

Thu Nov 8 10:32:21 2018

BargainzBabylon, the Devin's power grows (and a kitten dies) every time a buyer checks-out with a $666 cart!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here's a better link to the table (remember, this is only sitewide percent off "flash" sales, not eBay bucks or select-seller only promos, etc)

COPY-PASTE or Click "Web Site" link under my avatar:

➽ http://bit.ly/2JPzztB

Perminate Link for Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short   Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short

by: gramophone-georg This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 8 13:06:15 2018

On one of the last promos with a limit of $200 off, I had my cart locked and loaded but could NOT get the box to enter a coupon code to "go live" all day on multiple browsers in order to enter the code. eBay sellers lost out on $2K of sales that day just from me.

Perminate Link for Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short   Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short

by: songe-d-automne This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 9 10:15:08 2018

This same logic applies to Hobby Lobby for me. I go into HL and see something I want to buy, but because I know a 40% off coupon for one item is always available, I decide not to buy, go home with intentions to print out said coupon, forget, then HL loses a sale.

Perminate Link for Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short   Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short

by: Vernfern This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 9 17:24:58 2018

We can add Kohls and JCPenney to the list. Why buy when you know a better deal is around the corner? It may be that item on sale, a store wide promotion, a credit card holder discount or the like - people wait unless they really need it. At least Kohls and Penney's have a strong ''buck back'' program to keep customers coming back.

When I buy on eBay, and I do purchase some items there, I can usually wait. I know the blanket discounts are likely rigged so I wait for that item to be on sale due to the seller being desperate to move stock.  

Perminate Link for Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short   Some eBay Promos for Buyers Come Up Short

by: ballpark This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 9 21:17:26 2018

What concerns me here is the way ebay is handling the new payment system is literally splitting the site in 2, those with Paypal buying power and those without, also sellers that offer Paypal and without Paypal the ones signed into the new checkout. Therefore splitting the sales of then site, also limiting sellers the access to potential buyers / users.
I wonder if ebay here is bordering legality issues here as sellers pay to list items to the whole site ( not a portion of ) and pay ebay store absurd fees to be able to have visibility to 100% of ebay buyers not to either the ones in the new checkout or the old one.
This CEO's approach of my way or the highway is going to finally cost Ebay revenue big time as well as sellers attrition.
**I just signed up to sell on Walmart.com , need to start looking ahead, ebay has lost it's direction.



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