EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 147 - August 07, 2005 - ISSN 1528-6703     3 of 7

Marketing for eBay Sellers: Part 4 - Gifts

By Phil Dunn and Amy Balsbaugh

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If you give, you will receive. It's a psychological fact that operates in every culture on the planet. Reciprocation is built into our societal code of ethics, our culture and our collective behavioral systems. It's almost an unwritten contract. Savvy online sellers can harness the power of the reciprocation contract to retain customers and boost sales.

Offering gifts does wonders to create feel-good customer relations. Gift-giving also inspires customers' reciprocation and drives them to return to shop again at your eBay store or website.

eBay does have some rules about selling gifts as part an item listing. Most of these restrictions are based on advertising such gifts as part of the item title or description

However, you can certainly slip an unadvertised gift into every package you ship, without any restrictions from eBay. When you do this, make sure that you give a reason for the gift that indicates your expectation from the customer. This could be anything from "remember me the next time you purchase" to "please email your friends and tell them what a great deal you got."

What kind of gifts should you include with your packages? The possibilities abound. A printed copy of your business' newsletter ( is a gift of information. Or, consider investing in promotional gifts custom-printed with your business name, contact information and store URL. Items like printed pens, key rings, magnets, and other novelties can be inexpensive when ordered in bulk and deliver the message of returning to your eBay store or website to shop more. You can even throw in overstock inventory items that aren't selling well.

Avoid sending gifts that have any political, religious, sexual or violent connotation. You don't want to offend customers, you want them to walk away from the deal feeling good

Remember, gifts don't have to be anything fancy. People just like getting free stuff, period. Anything you add to the package will increase the customer's perceived value of your transaction. It will leave them feeling positive and make them enthusiastic about returning to shop with you again.


Part 1 - Email Marketing

Part 2 - Newsletters

Part 3 - Promotions

About the author:

Phil Dunn is a marketing and advertising writer and consultant for Fortune 500 companies, including Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Pitney Bowes and IKON. Amy Balsbaugh runs a lucrative eBay antiques and collectibles business, and has been a member of eBay's PowerSeller program since its inception. Phil and Amy co-authored "The 7 Essential Steps to Successful eBay Marketing" (McGraw-Hill, July 2005). See their Blog at, and their book at

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