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.