eBay has also now added an option to send coupons in groups to Followers, even if they have never purchased from you before. They have also put tighter restrictions on how often you can send coupons to avoid "spamming" buyers with too many discount offers.
Buyer Groups is a marketing tool available for sellers to segment their buyers by groups for personalized promotions.
Examples of a buyer group:
- Buyers that bought from a seller’s store in the past month
- Buyers that bought in a specific category from a seller’s store (e.g., “golf equipment”)
- Buyers that are following but have not yet bought from the store.
As part of this first phase, sellers can:
- Group and segment their previous buyers with filtering criteria such as most recent purchase and category
- Distinguish their followers between those who have purchased from them and those who have not yet done so
- Engage with buyers and followers of these Buyer Groups in bulk by sending them coded coupons via email and push notifications.
As guardians of this trusted marketplace and buyer experience, we have been extremely careful to put checks and balances in the system, so as to not bombard buyers with these coupons.
Sellers can send coupons only twice in the first month following a purchase. If the buyer does not engage with the seller, the seller can attempt to retain the buyer by sending them a further coupon after three months. After one year, the seller is not permitted to send more coupons.
You can also now segment by your own store categories as well as eBay categories.
eBay has finally added back in the option to segment by category. Like a lot of recent design changes in Seller Hub, it's a little clunky to have to select a drop down, then click a link that takes you to a different screen, then select the categories but it does work.
Hopefully they'll also be adding in the long overdue segment by repeat buyers and followers options that were promised back in October soon too.
Yesterday, eBay did finally add an update to the announcement clarifying that the category based segmentation would be available "in the coming weeks".
However, they failed to acknowledge that this is a correction or the fact that feature was originally included in the rollout and then later removed because it didn't work - offering no apologies or transparency about the issue. 🤦♀️
Almost a month after we noticed the feature was available in Seller Hub, eBay is finally making an official announcement - once again showing, if you want to know what's really going on...ask a seller. 😉
Very disappointing that eBay appears to be trying to play this off as a rollout of a new exciting feature with no acknowledgment of the promised but not delivered repeat buyers and followers options.
It's also hilarious they included "define category specific buyer groups" - that initial release a month ago appeared to have that, but it didn't work right and was subsequently removed.
When I asked Tyler@eBay in the community about it, I was told "We know that repeat buyer /follower and category-based segmentation is something people are excited to see, and we are working on adding that capability. However, we do not have a time period for that release to share at this time."
And despite what the announcement says, category-based segmentation has not been restored at this time.
My guess is they'll roll those additional options out later this year (maybe) and try to act like they are "enhancements" instead of simply the long overdue basic functionality sellers were previously promised.
Last year saw the launch of the coded coupons tool, available to Store subscribers, that lets you offer discounts to buyers by printing, sharing and sending coupons.
Now with buyer groups, you can send your coded coupons in bulk to specific groups of buyers. You can reward your buyers with discounts on your own terms, build your customer base and send a coupon code to some of your previous buyers on eBay.
Why use buyer groups?
Buyer groups are the perfect way to share your coded coupons.
- Encourage loyalty: Share your coded coupons with a group of buyers who’ve previously purchased from you.
- Flexibility: Buyer groups give you more control and flexibility to offer discounts without lowering the item’s price.
- Open up new opportunities: Define category-specific buyer groups to use when your seasonal inventory has the most potential to sell.
How to get started
You can send coded coupons to specific buyer groups by going to the Seller Hub Marketing tab and accessing the new buyer group section. It’s quick and easy to set up a buyer group.
The option to target buyer groups by certain categories has been removed from the Send Coupons To Buyer Groups feature. When I tested it previously, it only allowed "all inventory" and I wasn't sure if that was working as intended - removal of that option would seem to indicate it was not.
It was disappointing enough to see this feature was rolled out without the promised repeat buyers and followers options, but to then also roll back an option that was clearly not properly tested certainly doesn't inspire much confidence.
Rhetorical question: will eBay ever learn to do the most basic QA (preferably with input from actual sellers) before introducing new feature and tools to the wild? 🤦♀️
It looks like eBay is finally rolling out sending coupons to buyer groups, a feature that was originally promised for October in the Fall 2021 Seller Update.
The big banner on the Seller Hub overview page embarrassingly directs to Promoted Listings Advanced campaign creation, not the buyer groups.
However, you can find the new feature under Hub under Marketing> Buyer Groups. The overview section shows you total, one time, and repeat buyer stats and offers ways to segment your buyer groups to target them with different coupon campaigns.
When creating buyer groups you can select a date range from less than 31 days to more than 6 months and select categories (it only gave me the option of all inventory, so I'm not sure if this is working as intended or not).
Notably absent from these segmenting options is repeat buyers. It shows you repeat buyer numbers on the dashboard page, but does not give you the option to filter your group to target only repeat buyers at this time.
The Fall update gave repeat buyers and followers as group options - neither of which appears to be available with this initial set up.
Send discount offers to targeted buyer groups with coded coupons
The following coded coupons options will be available starting in October.
Launching in October
Send a coded coupon to your previous buyers to encourage repeat business
Launching in the next few months
Send a coded coupon to your followers on eBay
Send a coded coupon to eligible buyers who have expressed an interest in the type of inventory you sell
While it's nice to see them finally rolling this out, it's disappointing after months of delay that it still isn't fully functional.
Also, be advised you can only send one coupon every 14 days.
If you already have coupons set up, eBay will suggest ones that fit your buyer group.
If you don't already have a coupon set up, it will prompt you to create one.
Important caveat: eBay says "the same buyer can’t receive more than one coded coupon from you within a 14-day period, so make sure you choose the most relevant buyers to receive your codes."
Will you be using the send coupon to buyer groups options? Are there features or reporting capabilities you'd like to see eBay add to this functionality? Leave a comment below!