eBay Bucks a Success But VIP Program Will Stop

It’s not a windfall, but for active buyers of sports cards and sports memorabilia, it makes the bidding process a little less painful.  The eBay Bucks program offers a 2% rebate on virtually any purchase.  The funds accumulate over a three-month period upon which time they can be used on future purchases for a period of 30 days.  The cap for the rebate was $500.

On average, eBay says customers signed up for the Bucks program spend, on average, five times more on the site than those who don’t participate.

“As you know, we started a couple of years ago focusing first on how do we retain and deepen our relationship with our top customers?” CEO John Donahoe told a conference call with stock analysts last week.  “These are people who like coming to eBay, who buy with more frequency. And EBay Bucks was something that they responded to.”

eBay also had a VIP Bucks program that offered a $750 cap but in an email to customers recently, the company said it would be ending that portion of the program as of January 31.

eBay’s stock performance in the final quarter of 2010 was solid and the Bucks program, according to Donahoe, is one element in the company’s recent growth.

“What we see is the people that are using eBay Bucks are buying with more frequency. We think that is one of the things driving sold-item growth. And we believe we are gaining share of wallet with those buyers. It is not something that is going to necessarily attract new customers to eBay, so it is something that is very much focused on our top buyers, and it is one element of our marketing mix. I would characterize it as one tool in the marketing toolkit.”

While dropping the VIP pilot program, the company  says it will continue to look for ways to enhance the eBay Bucks program.