Sellers are once again debating the value of eBay-branded shipping supplies and the value of the coupon eBay gives to Store owners each quarter to put toward purchases of supplies.
On June 4th, eBay Senior Vice President Jordan Sweetnam announced
better-than-expected GMV sales growth for the second quarter and said that as an "extra thank you" to sellers, the company would give Store subscribers an extra coupon this quarter. "We know you are shipping record volumes so we wanted to give you the supplies to be successful," he wrote.
While some sellers were grateful for the extra coupon, others were less than enthusiastic. A reader wrote to EcommerceBytes, "Leave it to eBay to offer an extra $50 shipping supplies coupon only to have it limited on how much you can buy due to the seller having low supplies or out of stock." (Note that coupon amounts vary based on Store level.) The reader provided a link to a thread on the eBay discussion boards
There, a seller said eBay had the quantities and coupons set up so sellers had to either spend more than the coupon, or else leave part of the coupon unclaimed.
And referring to the extra coupon this month, some sellers said quantities of particular products they usually ordered were not available or were on back-order. "Seems to me ebayshippingsupplies is doing their best to cost eBay the least when all these extra coupons are redeemed," a seller wrote.
The concept of the free quarterly coupons was also debated. Some indicated they believed sellers shouldn't complain about something eBay was providing for free.
But others remembered that eBay had introduced the coupon in 2016 to take away the sting of an increased cost of selling. In fact, it was a stroke of PR genius - as we wrote at the time
"eBay issued a press release about the shipping supplies on the same day it sent sellers news of a fee hike for its Store owners. And the strategy worked - media outlets picked up on the story about eBay boxes without mentioning news contained in the (2016) Spring Seller Update."
Specifically, eBay had raised Store subscription fees 25% for Basic and Premium Stores and raised fees 75% for Anchor Stores.
The shipping supplies also provide eBay with another advantage: orders arrive on customers' front doors in boxes branded with the company logo, just as Amazon orders do - but in the case of eBay, sellers are the ones paying for the boxes.