eBay Monthly Chat Meltdown - How To Reach Your Customers?

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


UPDATE 7-29-22

eBay has helpfully decided now after monthly chat they are going to post a recap of the "top" questions and answers - I guess that's one way to make sure people don't see what an embarrassing dumpster fire the actual chat was. 🤣

How to Reach Your Customers Monthly Chat FAQs
Hi all! After the Monthly Chat, we will start posting the question and answers that stood out the most and they will be pinned to the top of the selling board for a week. You can also view the full Monthly Chat here. Q. How can I build up potential repeat buyers? You can use the Buyer Groups…

If today's monthly community chat is any indication, eBay is the last place on earth that should be giving advice on "how to reach customers" - clearly they still have a lot to learn about customer engagement.

Monthly Chat - July 13th at 1:00 pm PT - How to Reach Your Customers
Hi Everyone! This month’s chat you’ll have an opportunity to talk to specialists from our Seller Tools team and is themed around “How to reach your customers”. Let them know your questions here, so they can have a chance to review them before the Monthly Chat on July 13th at 1:00 pm PT. ----- Edi…

First, the "chat" format is confusing and has not been explained well to make the transition from the previous weekly chat format go smoothly.

The topic for the monthly chat is announced a week ahead of the actual chat date and a discussion thread is open for users to ask questions in advance. The regular community team answers those questions throughout the week and then by the time the chat rolls around the discussion is already 50 posts deep.

Then, instead of having a dedicated separate thread for the actual chat with the "appropriate team", the discussion is just supposed to continue with no announcement and no introduction to the team members who are supposed to be there to answer questions during the 1 hour chat window?

Please someone, make it make sense! 🤦‍♀️

Community members who were initially confused by the format were given this explanation:

to clarify, the board is posted in advance, for questions to be posted and we will reach out to the specialty team for responses. Once the Chat goes live, our specialty team will be here to answer your questions personally! This is especially tailored to those who can't be here for the live portion, but all are answered by the specialty team.

Ok, but the chat was supposed to start at 1 PM and it took more than half the allotted hour for them to wade through the previous 50 posts, answer a few, and then get to questions from the members who had showed up for the live portion.

In the hour long chat window, the specialty team provided a whopping 8 responses, half of which were basically some form of "we have no update to provide" or "we'll pass that on to the appropriate team."

Wasn't the whole point of this supposed to be to have the appropriate team available to provide updates and answers live?!

I tried to ask what the goal of this whole monthly chat debacle really was:

I'm curious what the goal of this type of monthly chat format is?

Maybe if the community team can communicate what they are trying to accomplish here, we can provide some feedback about how to do it in a way that makes sense for community participation.

As it stands right now, it doesn't appear community members are getting much value out of this format and I can't imagine the last half hour of discussion has provided eBay much in the way of valuable insights worthy of taking the seller team away from their regular duties either.

There has been no response from community staff as of this writing.

So, did we get any useful information out of this fruitless exercise?

One seller asked a very pointed and pertinent question (and they aren't the only ones):

Is eBay working on any tools for sellers to reach more customers that don't involve having to pay more in fees or having to lower pricing?

The Seller Tools Team responded:

Check out the Stores section in this article (https://www.ebay.com/sellercenter/resources/seller-updates/2021-fall/business/) to learn more about building your brand with your store and reaching more customers with store newsletters.

Obviously the specialty team didn't review last month's chat with the Stores team where there was extensive confusion and discussion about lack of usability with basic functions of the store newsletter feature, like how buyers can even sign up to receive newsletters.

eBay Community Chat June 2022 - eBay Stores
eBay’s June 2022 community chat was all about Stores - sellers came prepared with questions, did eBay deliver?

Another seller was looking for some detailed data analysis to provide in depth insight into best practices for coded coupons and also provided a suggestion to leverage existing partnership with VistaCreate to provide more flexibility to design packing slips.

Coded Coupons:

After they first came out, I immediately began adding coded coupons to all my packing slips. Result: No additional sales. This could be for a number of reasons, including that I don't sell in a niche, or maybe my discount was not attractive enough (I experimented with different levels).

  1. Could you mine your data and give us best practices for coded coupons?

Also, I feel that the existing coded coupon does not stand out very well on the Packing Slip. I know ebay has a partnership with VistaCreate for Store billboards, etc.

2.How about giving us a template we could use to spruce up our packing slip coupons (including some best viewed in black and white, since many of us prefer to send B&W packing slips, to save on printer ink costs.) There are a lot of creative ebayers who design coupons that would get noticed.

In response, they were given extremely generic information about "best practices" that any seller could find on existing help pages or Seller Academy modules and the specialty team missed the point all together that the seller was suggesting design capabilities above and beyond what is offered in the current set up.

Two parts to your questions:

  1. In terms of which discount template works best for coded coupon, in the Coupon campaign setup flow the best performing discount templates are on top of the list. Other best practices include creating a compelling discount that will generate interest and offer the buyer a good deal; send coupons with relevant inventory to the buyer based on their prior purchases and send a coupon to the buyer soon after they make a purchase to encourage them to come back.

  2. There is an eBay template for packing slips with coupons available via the Seller Hub Orders page. Select an order or orders you want to print out the packing slip, and then choose Shipping - Print packing slip and more. Once on the screen, you can customize the packing slip.

And...that's it, those were really the only questions/answers even worth mentioning.

Commenting on the absolute mess of a "chat" session, one user said:

Just a general comment since this is about over........

Communication is a key for sellers and buyers.......since ebay is the "seller" to us and we are the buyers.....ebay need to understand the basics of sharing information....... A "real" name, ie Joe Doe makes anyone "easier" to communicate with...... If a discussion isn't going well, someone who is responsible for it needs to jump in and jack up the discussion... Just explaining what the tools are.....how easy they are to use.....etc.......

I couldn't agree more. If you need an example of How Not To Run An Engaging Community Experience 101, today's event was the prime example.

VP Seller Engagement Andrea Stairs and Director Seller Community & Engagement Rebecca Michals should be utterly embarrassed by what has become of the eBay community.

Maybe it's time for some competition to show 'em how it should be done. 😉


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Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!

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