No Loyalty to eBay Anything Points Program

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Jul 26, 2005
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By John Hennessy

In a press release, eBay announced the discontinuation of the eBay Anything Points Program in the U.S. At this point, it appears as though eBay will continue to offer its points program in Canada.

According to the company’s release: “We have decided to discontinue the eBay Anything Points program on the U.S. eBay site (www.ebay.com). The process of transitioning certain features and functionality related to the eBay Anything Points program will begin immediately and continue over the next few months, with the program officially ending on February 28, 2006. However, you will still be able to use any points you have accumulated until August 31, 2006 (all points that have not been used by August 31, 2006 will become invalid).”

Moderator’s Comment: What makes a good loyalty program work?

A review of the terms and conditions of the eBay program could have almost predicted this cancellation. The benefits are difficult to understand, point
value is a mystery and too much is required of members. In addition, there are too many point providers and redeemers. It’s like the tax code of loyalty programs.

If I’m eBay and want to use a program to encourage use of my service, I turn this model on its head and start demonstrating loyalty to my members. I don’t
ask members to jump through hoops to demonstrate their loyalty to me in exchange for some modest benefits.

I do the work to recognize and reward my customers in ways that are meaningful to them. For my hobbyists, it might be a free transaction here and there.
For my corporate accounts, it might be inclusion in a corporate advertisement or a mention in an email on successful partners. The difference in approaches comes down to which
way the loyalty arrow points.

The Internet auction giant wants loyal customers. Its customers want it to reciprocate on the work they are doing to make eBay successful and demonstrate
loyalty to them.

– John Hennessy – Moderator

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

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11 Comments on "No Loyalty to eBay Anything Points Program"


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David Zahn
Guest
15 years 6 months ago

John, you are right. As a consumer/shopper/user of loyalty programs (separating my “industry” insider perspective from my “civilian life”) – I throw my hands up at the seeming confusion that the programs too often cause. I feel I have to do the “hokey pokey” and turn myself around and then ask “Mother May I” before I can even be recognized (never mind rewarded).

Make it simple, make it relevant, make it intuitive, etc. Then, I will respond as you wish.

Dean Cruse
Guest
Dean Cruse
15 years 6 months ago

Simplicity is key. That’s why programs like Amex rewards work so well – easy to accumulate points, and easy to understand how to redeem them. Retailers could do well to emulate programs like this.

Mark H. Goldstein
Guest
Mark H. Goldstein
15 years 6 months ago

This program was cancelled because it simply made no sense and didn’t provide a compelling value proposition. It was conceived internally by non-loyalty professionals as a reaction to an also poorly conceived Yahoo Points program. I suspect it will be back in a workable form within the next 2 years.

Al McClain
Guest
Al McClain
15 years 6 months ago

For many consumers, simplicity is key to these programs. We are all pulled in so many directions by marketers that it’s hard for them to cut through the clutter and get our attention. But, if they do that, and make a meaningful offer that can make our lives better in some small way, we’re loyal for life. I’m a fan of American’s program for the upgrades and relative ease of redeeming miles, and Hilton’s Honors program. Any place where the reward is a week on a resort in Los Cabos gets my attention. eBay in general hasn’t been a positive experience, as there is so much authentication required to buy and sell that for a very occasional user it often isn’t worth the trouble.

Mark Lilien
Guest
15 years 6 months ago

A brilliant loyalty program benefits the retailer and the customer, both. Complicated rules are a negative for the customer, so they don’t participate, so the program ultimately doesn’t benefit the retailer either.

Jonathan Levy
Guest
Jonathan Levy
15 years 6 months ago

I’ve been using eBay for years, my wife actually runs a small business selling designer close-outs on eBay, and we’ve never even heard of the points.

Ed Dennis
Guest
Ed Dennis
15 years 6 months ago

Want to know why it didn’t work? People shop on eBay by item – they have to request an item to get anywhere. I am looking for widgets and can’t see anything but widgets. Drivers of my widget purchase are price + FREIGHT. Earning points is not something I am willing to pay for and it seems that those who offer points charge higher prices. Over the past 60 days I have spent $260 on eBay and have not earned one “eBay Anything Points.” However, in the last 60 days I have spent $1,643 via American Express and have earned 2,443 Amex points. Did I use Amex rather than MC or VISA because of the points – YES I did, because the AMEX program is easy to use, the benefits are very, very nice and the points are very, very easy to redeem. If I could only transfer my millions of frequent flyer miles to Amex I would be in heaven!

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
15 years 6 months ago

Loyalty, like hope, floats on x-rays of sorrow. Sustainable loyalty requires a perceived mutual unity of all parties, at all times, in all ways — always.

M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
15 years 6 months ago

It’s way past time for an alternate auction site to challenge ebay. Even on their homepage they spell their name two different ways (ebay and eBay). This is definitely a confused company, and their on-again, off-again points program is apt illustration. They’re ripe for the picking. Are you with me?

I’m an ebay veteran, with thousands of shekels collected via PayPal sales. Thanks, ebay, b-b-b-but why do you make it so difficult to do bidness with you? Cruise through some anti-ebay rant sites and read the horror stories. No rewards program can offset their basic customer service flaws.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
15 years 6 months ago

Basically, consumers shouldn’t have to do anything to demonstrate their loyalty other than shop and spend. No hoops to jump through at all. I’ve been doing an increasing amount of my grocery shopping online for the past 18 months and have received regular gifts with my orders as a result. No points, nothing to accumulate, no work involved. Of course some of the gifts are better than others, but here’s one old cliche that works – it’s the thought that counts.

Stephan Kouzomis
Guest
Stephan Kouzomis
15 years 6 months ago

Not only is K.I.S.S. critical, but for retailers that sell foods and non foods useful information is a must!!!! A dialogue is needed…Hmmmm

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