Ssssh! Don’t tell eBay…

Two ways you can increase new and repeat business on and off eBay

Last week the new eBay Autumn Updates were announced, and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. You can see the updates in full here but I am particularly excited about two of the updates!

The two announcements I’m extremely interested in are discount coupons and pre-sales telephone numbers. In my opinion, both of these are vital for the success of an online business and so personally I’m delighted that eBay have finally recognised this fact, although a little shocked that they have relented over the telephone number situation, as there is the potential that sellers could take sales ‘off eBay’ – something that eBay have been quick to stop previously.

Anyway, let me explain in full. First up, the coupons

Later in 2018, eBay will be offering shop owners the ability to allow discounts to customers by way of coupons. These promotional coupons with unique discount codes will be able to be set up in your Seller Hub to be used at checkout on your products.

You will have a page created for your coupon, be able to set limits on the number of times a customer can use the discount code and set a cap on savings. You’ll also be able to track and monitor the performance of your coupon so you can see exactly where your buyers are coming from.

Well – this is fantastic news with so many benefits

We all know that getting repeat custom is key – and this will certainly help. You can simply offer all customer’s a discount on their next purchase – so getting a repeat purchase. You will also be able to offer new customers a discount, because you’ll be able to share your coupons in a host of ways…

  • Advertise on social media,
  • Mention in newsletter communications
  • Pop a coupon code in every parcel you send out
  • Create a mailshot
  • Add a coupon to the rear of your business card…

and any other marketing you do.


This has been a long time coming and could turn your business around! The potential here to entice repeat and new buyers is huge – so once this tool is fully available I would advise you to use it!

The excitement continues…

The second exciting announcement is the option to give a ‘pre-sales’ telephone number for enquiries. eBay already allow an ‘after-sales’ customer services number, but a ‘pre-sales’ number is the one we’ve all been waiting for, so potential customers will be able to speak with you BEFORE they purchase – and to be honest I can’t quite believe that this is going to happen and is already being tested!

How it works is this. eBay will only share your telephone number if you opt in via the ‘Manage Communications with Buyers’ section in your account settings. Once you’ve opted in, when buyers click ‘Ask a Question’ they will see your telephone number and be able to call you directly.

In the announcement regarding this, eBay say:

“Consider whether adding a customer service phone number is useful for growing your business. You’ll need to ensure that you can maintain responsiveness at the same level you always have”.

Hello! Seriously? “Consider whether adding a customer service phone number is useful?” Of course it’s useful! It’s more than useful! This is the key to opening up your business and securing more sales. It means you can actually talk with people!

So, if you sell on eBay but don’t have your own website, having a pre-sale customer service number will allow you the opportunity to persuade people to purchase.

Think about it – if a customer has called you with a question about your product you literally have them right in the palm of your hand. A rapt audience. All you have to do is be confident, talk to them, sell to them – and get the sale in the bag! It’s your chance to do everything in your power to get them to buy from you.

  • Send them to your coupon page
  • Offer them an extra discount
  • Tempt them with a free gift or free postage
  • Offer expert advice and knowledge
Now here’s the best thing: Ssshhh! Don’t tell eBay I said this!

If you do have your own website then what if you ‘accidentally’ dropped that into the friendly ‘pre-sale’ telephone conversation you’re having and inadvertently secured a direct purchase instead of from the eBay listing. It’s likely you already add your web address and telephone number to notes in your parcels anyway…

However, taking buyers ‘off eBay’ is technically against their rules and there is a reminder of this within the seller updates, but I’m not sure how they will police it? They will surely rely on buyers reporting sellers who attempt to do this, and quite frankly if a buyer is getting a better deal and faster delivery by purchasing from your website, why would they complain or report it?

I’ll just leave that there…

So, exciting changes are happening that, for once, have the real potential to revitalise your eBay business and so I urge you to take note and test these new tools out.

This article first appeared on Blog | eTail Hub. Read more and comment here