eBay stopped allowing sellers to see who "follows" them, which hampers repeat sales, some sellers said.
"Buyers can still click the "Save this Seller" link so they have easy access to their favorite Sellers, but Sellers are blocked from seeing who those Buyers are," a seller who wished to be referred to as "Mr. L." wrote in an email to EcommerceBytes.
"I am just one of a number of Sellers who has asked eBay why they did this as well as requested that we be given access to those who Follow us," Mr. L. said. "It has been months and eBay, in typical fashion, has given us the run-around but not complied to our wishes."
When it first happened, sellers found a workaround, but by October, eBay had plugged the "loophole" and sellers were again no longer able to see their followers. One seller, "carne.kay," explained why that was a problem
: "I have a follower who likes certain items and I wanted to let her know that I have some things I thought she would like. I don't have her info anywhere else."
Another seller, "robertg317," found an awkward way to try to accomplish the same task, writing on the thread
: "What I've done is saved those buyers to my favorite "sellers" list and added a note indicating what they frequently buy and what interests they have."
He said it wasn't ideal, but it was the only system he could figure out. "As I list several items, I'll check my favorite "sellers" page to see if I'm listing something of interest."
Another seller ("robxznyc") explained how they had used the feature
when it had been available: "As a small seller, when I have a new follower I always send a message to thank their follow, invite them to reach out with questions, and offer a discount to encourage purchase."
Mr. L. pointed us to numerous threads where sellers bemoaned eBay's removal of the feature.
One seller, "soh.maryl," responded on a thread in March
, "It seems like eBay made that impossible because there was some badgering of the watchers by the sellers."
We asked Mr. L. why he wanted to know how many Followers he had and who they are:
1) It's the principal of the thing, they are following my ID because of the items I sell or may sell in the future and their choice had nothing to do with anything eBay did.
2) If one's Follower count continues to increase it is a nice indication that you are doing things right and in all likely hood your business is growing.
3) Followers are potentially repeat customers and if good records are kept on what they purchase, they can be contacted when a new item of interest is available on eBay. On a normal transaction after 60 days the link between Buyer and Seller drops out, meaning Sellers can no longer go back to contact someone on a prior transaction if they have something that may be of interest to them.
4) The Follower list is an easier access point to a member's ID then using the Advanced search and having to look up their ID from notes one might keep.
Let us know what you think - do you find value in knowing how many followers you have on eBay? Does the removal of the feature impact you?