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Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun June 10 2012 21:03:43

eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles

By: Ina Steiner
Sponsored Link
eBay has begun displaying information about sellers' history of accepting Best Offers on their feedback pages, and some sellers are not too pleased about it, fearing they will lose leverage in negotiations, face an increase in lowball offers, and potentially have to deal with dings to their DSR feedback ratings. Adding to some sellers' frustration is the fact that eBay did not inform them of the change.

"I wish eBay would provide some kind of notice when they're going to implement a change," said one seller. "You know, like on the site's ANNOUNCEMENT Page."

"We don't use "best offers" on our fixed price sales and we still get buyers needling us to sell our items at a lower price," wrote anther seller in an email to EcommerceBytes. "This will only make it worse."

Best Offer is an optional feature that sellers may choose to offer on their fixed-price listings to encourage shoppers to make offers at a price lower than the selling price. When a buyer places a Best Offer on a listing, it is a binding bid good for up to 48 hours. Sellers can choose to accept the Best Offer and end the listing; decline the Best Offer; or respond with a counteroffer.

A seller wrote of eBay's new practice, "I really don't want people to know when I feel like giving away accepting a best offer on things....nor do I like people knowing my "tolerence" (sic) level for offers. Or at least I'd prefer not to make it easy to find out."



Not everyone was upset about the new feature. On another discussion thread, a seller wrote, "I do not share the OP (Original Poster)'s dismay. After all, if I have Make An Offer on an item, I'm asking buyers to do just that...make an offer. So, if a buyer can see that I've accepted offers in my feedback, that's fine with me....I'm soliciting offers anyway....But clearly  the OP is upset about this, and I'm sure others are too. I'm just saying that, personally, it doesn't bother me."

But another seller who said s/he comes down an average of 10-20% on Best Offers wrote, "I really do NOT need a buyer checking out to see HOW MUCH I came down on prior purchases... and holding that old price over my head to buy an active listing."

The seller believes the new feature could lead to more cases of low DSR ratings, and outlined a hypothetical scenario - "The buyer wants the item and buys it at my offer of 20% off because that is all I am willing to come down and he really wants the item. But that same buyer MIGHT ding a star in the end because they are annoyed that I would NOT give them 40% off like I did in another prior sale."

A seller in another thread said the feature would "take negotiating power away from the seller as well as increase the workload in responding to lowball offers."

By displaying sellers' history of accepting Best Offers prominently in their feedback profiles, is eBay giving buyers an edge? Will this change your practice of offering the Best Offer feature on your listings?




Comments (39) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles   eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles
This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless
       
Sun Jun 10 21:51:09 2012
Typical ebay. They make decisions exactly like like rebellious adolescents do.

Tell them sellers need relief from the high number of lowball offers many sellers receive, and they'll do the exact opposite.

Further, instead of the advance warning The Ho promised but has never delivered on, the surprise is sprung on sellers like a child's jack in the box.

Not suprising, however, since most of ebafia's middle management consists of inexperienced and immature corporate ladder climbers intent on showing sellers who's boss.

The way to minimize the damage is to no longer accept Best Offers and then explain why in your descriptions.

Or, better yet, take the transaction off ebay.

Perminate Link for eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles   eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles
This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford
       
Sun Jun 10 21:57:59 2012
Ming, they do seem to almost ALWAYS do the exact opposite of what sellers ask or want them to do.

If this doesn't signal to buyers to make a low ball offer I don't know what does.  Of course, eBay shoot themselves in the foot.  As usual, eBay do not think this through.  A lowball offer means a lower FVF in eBay's pocket.  LOL
Perminate Link for eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles   eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles
by: cayenna This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Jun 11 00:17:18 2012
I guess I will have to put up a custom listing for my Retailers in a different shop as the last thing my Vendors/Retailers want is someone else knowing what they paid for their items they are reselling... My vendors also really enjoy bidding on the auctions in my shop to see what even better deals they can get, now that day is over. The private option is there for a reason. Obviously I will need to be 'even more' careful now how I sell on eBay so that I don't upset anyone; is there 'NO END!' I guess this is the only decision that's left to me as a seller.
Perminate Link for eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles   eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles
This user has validated their user name. by: Ric
       
Mon Jun 11 01:56:33 2012
The really disturbing thing here is that eBay's CEO PROMISED that seller facing changes would be limited to 2 - 3 rounds per year AND that ADVANCE Notice would be given so that sellers can adjust their business models appropriately.

This is a change that was simply done in typical eBay stealth mode - directly opposite of what sellers were promised.

Clearly eBay has no intention of adhering to the commitments they make to sellers, and as such, sellers are limited in their ability to adjust their business when changes are simply imposed at the drop of a hat.

The message here is clear - not only does eBay have no intention of keeping their promises to sellers, they simply do not care about the negative impacts unannounced changes have on their sellers.

It is obvious that eBay is stepping up the pressure on sellers while they pursue their agenda of forcing sellers into a race for the bottom on pricing.

I would like to see eBay weigh in with  heir explanation as to why seller facing changes are being imposed without notice contrary to the practices CEO John Donahoe promised eBay would adhere to regarding such changes.

Another snarky response from Johnna Hoff will make for a good read as eBay dances around the latest unannounced seller change.

Perminate Link for eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles   eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles
This user has validated their user name. by: Marie
       
Mon Jun 11 02:51:27 2012
@ Ric

JD broke that promise in record speed.  I'm not sure why he ever said it in the first place as it didn't last.  I think just a couple months later changes happened, important changes, with no notification.  It's just something he never intended to honor.  But it sure tells you how much his word is really worth.

As to this particular subject.  I think you will see the same arguements sellers had when they started putting the sell prices on our FB pages.  That created quite the uproar and various problems with buyers.

Some buyers noticed that they paid more for something than someone else and it ticked them off.  While Best offers were not involved in this, they got mad all the same.  Didn't matter that they [the buyer] controlled how much they bid, it still somehow was the sellers fault and some buyers went as far as asking for partial refunds.

Now we are just use to seeing the prices there and most people probably don't pay any attention anymore.  

I personally agree that this with the best offers will cause some sellers problems, lower sales prices, etc.  Again something that, at least in the short run, will hurt some sellers.  As for a benefit, I don't see any, but someone else might.  At least not for sellers.  But for Ebay, it could help them keep more sellers out of TRS discounts.
Perminate Link for eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles   eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles
by: cayenna This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Jun 11 03:59:20 2012
The only thing I can think of that eBay may be trying to do is make the sellers more rigid in their seller practices; less communication like we have seen already. So the less we have to do with customers re changing prices etc, they probably figure the less problems we will have with them. However I agree with one of the other comments made earlier; eBay has not thought ahead of how this would not only affect the seller but also the buyer. But of course eBay is no longer about the seller it is about eBay. In this case the mystery is still out as to how eBay gains something by making this change. Perhaps we will be in for another surprise in the near future and/or linked to this… They sure like to eat up valuable sellers time with all of their rules and changes. They should be paying us to keep up with them if they want our business. They have completely taken away all incentives. Looks like there’s enough other venues available to sell on now that people have flocked to; that it could be fairly easy to leave eBay, or at least not rely on them as the ‘main’ shop. My website and other shop are now my first venues and I just changed my eBay shop to now be my Outlet shop for my items that don’t sell in my other shops. It’s way too expensive to sell on eBay anymore as a main shop. I’m in the business to make money not give it away; especially during the times eBay decides to affect the visibility…
Perminate Link for eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles   eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles
by: blaumann This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Jun 11 04:47:02 2012
Will discourage me from using best offer. Ebay is destroying its small dealers and ultimately will destroy itself.  
Perminate Link for eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles   eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles
by: Duke This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Jun 11 05:45:25 2012
I just don't get why eBay wastes their time on things like this when they could be fixing things like their outdated, time-wasting shipping matrix?
Perminate Link for eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles   eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles
by: looker This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Jun 11 07:21:38 2012
Here is my take on ebaked's tactics: They have made the site a buyers rental outlet and in the process are squashing the rest of small sellers.

Why?  Where are the small sellers going to sell? Yes, there are tons of sites out there but none have the buyers that ebaked has. Some do ok but most struggle with sales due to lack of traffic. Well, why would I go to the other sites if I can ''rent'' or ''borrow'' from ebaked?

As a small seller, you are forced to pay ebaked's prices and follow their outrageous rules or sit and wait for a passerby on one of the other sites to sell your wares. Some sites have a great number of listings but no customers because they simply don't have a 'rental' program that ebaked has implemented over the years.

As long as ebaked continues to have buyers salivating over the 'fringe benefits' of shopping there, small sellers will suffer.

What I see happening is the big sellers will have to somehow recoup this cost, my guess is by raising their prices. This in turn will get ebaked more money in fees. If they do raise their prices, it's still a rental program and still affordable for the buyer. I mean free is still free no matter how much you pay for it before you return it and get your original plus shipping back.

Another question: When a buyer gets a refund the seller gets a refund on their fees as well...

Hmmm, what changes will ebaked make then, if any?  
Perminate Link for eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles   eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles
by: Dazzle This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Jun 11 08:47:15 2012
Here'e another shining example of how the kindergarden ebay exec's keep making one blunder after another. What moron's. Don't they actually make money based on FVF's?  Just continues to dumbfound me how stupid this site has gotten.
Perminate Link for eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles   eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles
This user has validated their user name. by: Tula
       
Mon Jun 11 08:50:18 2012
I don't do best offers, so this doesn't bother me. I hate haggling on either side of a transaction. Not to mention, it takes up a lot of time. I sell on multiple venues, and simply don't have the time to waste on something I hate doing in the first place.

I just don't get the thinking behind a lot of recent eBay changes. They claim to not want to be a flea market type site any more, yet keep pushing things that will lower average selling prices, resulting in less income for them. You'd think they would want to push for higher prices so that the site would appear "higher quality" and not "bargain basement." Sadly, too many people are dumping goods at cheap prices, which drags all of us down and encourages the lowball buyers even more.
Perminate Link for eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles   eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles
This user has validated their user name. by: Marie
       
Mon Jun 11 09:13:46 2012
Some of you are considering this yet another attack on small sellers.  While I know Ebay has done plenty of that, not everything they do is related to that.  It isn't only small sellers that use this function.  So I don't understand why some consider this to be all about small sellers?!?

Sellers of all sizes that use this function will be affected, not just the small sellers.  
Perminate Link for eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles   eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles
by: JuliBMe This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Jun 11 09:58:51 2012
The changes don't bother me because I sell unique items. If I was selling the same inventory over and over again, I guess this would be an issue. What I don't get is all the complaints above regarding lowball offers. Why don't you all just use the automatic decline button for every offer under a certain dollar amount when you list your items? Problem solved!
Perminate Link for eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles   eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles
This user has validated their user name. by: Marie
       
Mon Jun 11 10:06:14 2012
@julibme

Because some members email the offers.  Some are extremely insulting too.  Some of nice as well, I don't want to take away from them.  Buyers do this on listings with and without the Best Offer function.  I think that is what some of the others are talking about.  However if the listing doesn't have a BO function, this new thing on FB won't apply.
Perminate Link for eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles   eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles
by: 10 year seller This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Jun 11 10:16:49 2012
@ Ric
''It is obvious that eBay is stepping up the pressure on sellers while they pursue their agenda of forcing sellers into a race for the bottom on pricing.''

I see this as the only reason.
Perminate Link for eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles   eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Mon Jun 11 10:19:48 2012
THIS OBSERVATION sums up my thoughts precisely: ''The buyer wants the item and buys it at my offer of 20% off because that is all I am willing to come down and he really wants the item. But that same buyer MIGHT ding a star in the end because they are annoyed that I would NOT give them 40% off like I did in another prior sale.''

eBay continues to foster a climate of aggressive hostility toward sellers... and it comes at us from THREE DIRECTIONS: from eBay, from PP, and from the buyers.

It's also fair to note that BUYER hostility and aggressiveness is something that eBay ENCOURAGES. It's no secret. It's no mystery. It's not our imagination. ~ The evidence is right before our eyes.

Sellers accept varying amounts depending on many factors.

Sellers may accept low offers because:

-- sales are slow, and ANY profit is better than none
-- too much inventory, and it's time to clean-house
-- it's a non-seller that's been hanging around too long
-- the seller is in a good mood and feeling generous
-- it's a long-time loyal and repeat customer
-- the seller got a good introductory wholesale price

Or... Sellers may refuse lowball offers because:

-- sales have been strong for the past month
-- it's a new item with no sales history yet
-- it's a proven item with a strong sales history
-- the wholesale prices increased

By taking this step, eBay is giving ALL BUYERS a sense of UNEARNED and UNJUSTIFIED entitlement. (''Well, HE got a discount, where's *MY* discount dammit?! ~ Okay, I'll go ahead and take it, but I'm not happy about it. Here's 2-STARS FOR YOU!!'')

Perminate Link for eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles   eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Mon Jun 11 10:30:53 2012
Marie asks: ''It isn't only small sellers that use this function.  So I don't understand why some consider this to be all about small sellers?!?''

Because the impact is felt more by small sellers who are ALREADY near the breaking point because of the culmination of the myriad of other anti-seller policies.

Because just ONE or TWO buyers who feel irrationally ''snubbed'' or ''cheated'' can push a low-volume seller's DSR's into a tailspin from which the recovery will be slow, or impossible.

Because buyers are smart enough to be able to tell when they're dealing with a mom-and-pop small seller, or a mega-box seller. ~ As a result, the buyers are likely to be LESS INCLINED to make lowball offers to the mega-box stores, and MORE inclined to treat the small seller differently.

This is a policy that DISPROPORTIONALLY affects small sellers.
Perminate Link for eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles   eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles
by: comet This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Jun 11 10:48:01 2012
@LOOKER---

When a seller REFUNDS the item they do NOT automatically get CREDIT from ebay for the fees.  They have to go hat in hand and BEG for these via a phone call.  This takes time out of your life;  annoyance; makes you have to do extra book keeping and convince the CSR of EVERY transactions refunds--

Now this COULD be done with what seems to me like a few programing keystrokes---Did you issue a REFUND?  Why?  Enter amount here.  Click.  Done.

But because this is FleeceBay they would MUCH rather you "forgot" about these little dribs and drabs of money that they will ever so nicely take off your hands for you.  And that just so happen to have "value" to FleeceBay that they apparently DON'T have for you.

This is after all THEFT pure and simple.  ANd ebay as usual ENCOURAGES it.
Perminate Link for eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles   eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles
This user has validated their user name. by: Marie
       
Mon Jun 11 11:01:16 2012
@Annie

I respectfully disagree. Ebay doesn't consider me a small seller, certainly not a large seller, but a bit larger than small.  Not sure how to really describe it.  This stuff hurts me just as much as it hurts other sellers.  Just because I may sell a few more items than someone else doesn't mean it hurts me any less.

To say that small seller are hurt more by this is an assumption and not necessarily true.

Lower profit margins for me so that I may allow for the ever increasing fees to Ebay, increasing prices of products to sell, etc.  They all take away from what I earn.  As it does for many sellers.  So I may sell more items, but I make less money than I use to.  This just isn't good for seller of many sizes and not just small sellers.  That was my only point.

I know that small sellers feel Ebay is trying to run them off and they have every right to feel that way as Ebay has proven time and time again that they could care less about them.  But that doesn't mean that they are the only ones hurt by some of this stuff, that's all I'm saying.

You stated "Because just ONE or TWO buyers who feel irrationally ''snubbed'' or ''cheated'' can push a low-volume seller's DSR's into a tailspin from which the recovery will be slow, or impossible."  Maybe I should back this up a bit as I'm unsure of how you define a small seller.  You may very well consider me a small seller.  And that is OK with me as I would wear that badge proudly.  But you are aware that 2 buyers can knock a seller out of TRS even if that seller does quite a few transactions.  It only takes 1 low DSR for EVERY 200 transactions to knock a seller out of TRS.  And just suppose those buyers had multiple transactions with the seller.  It gets worse.

Here is another one of those double standards by Ebay.  If a buyer purchases 5 items from you and they hit your DSRs when leaving FB, While the FB counts once, all the DSRs are counted in your dashboard.  

To me a comparison to that is the UID system.  If a buyer purchases 5 items from you and then doesn't pay.  You open the UID & close it for non payment at the proper time.  The buyer only gets one unpaid strike, not 5.  Even if that buyer purchased 20 items from you, it would be only one unpaid strike.

Perminate Link for eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles   eBay Displays Best-Offer History in Seller Feedback Profiles
This user has validated their user name. by: Marie
       
Mon Jun 11 11:07:11 2012
@comet

That is not necessarily true.  Sellers have to or at least should take ownership of certain things.  One of them is they should know the rules.  If they don't understand something, find out what is correct.  It's like any other job, you should know what you are doing.

Of course there will be times we make mistakes and times when we will need help to understand something, but sellers still need to be adult about things and not blame everything on Ebay when in fact it is a lack of knowledge or follow through that causes them to lose fees as you describe.

You don't have to call Ebay to get your FVF back when you refund a buyer for a purchase.  Just file for a cancellation of the transaction.  While you do have to wait a few days if the buyer doesn't respond, you still don't have to call unless you want to.  

Now there is a problem for refunding shipping charges or partially refunded those.  You do have to call Ebay to get a refund on the FVF for S&H.
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