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What Sellers Need to Know about Amazon’s Make an Offer

As we blogged early Tuesday morning, Amazon launched a “Make an Offer” feature in certain categories that lets shoppers haggle over the price of items. Marketplace sellers are familiar with such features – on eBay, for example, it’s called Best Offer. But the press release Amazon issued lacked certain details about its feature from a sellers’ point of view, which we try to answer here.

Some Amazon sellers discussing the new feature were unenthusiastic, with some fearing it was designed to lower prices or would impact Amazon’s reputation negatively.

Others, including some who sell in collectibles categories, were more receptive, especially if the Make an Offer feature remained optional and had auto-response features.

Amazon spokesperson Erik Fairleigh said Make an Offer, which is in pilot testing, is open now to all sellers across Sports and Entertainment Collectibles, Collectible Coins and Fine Art. To enable the feature, sellers can use the bulk template or 1-by-1 to update their items to display the “Make an Offer” tool.

Amazon sent a survey to collectibles sellers and found nearly half of the respondents believed the ability to negotiate prices with customers “would be important to drive more sales on Amazon.” Asked when Amazon began working on Make a Offer, Fairleigh would not get specific other than to say it began this year.

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Sellers opt-in to Make an Offer at a listing level, so they can choose to add MAO to 5 of their 10 collectibles or fine art listings, for example. We want it to be a useful tool and not be restrictive, Fairleigh said.

The feature works differently than eBay’s Best Offer feature. Sellers can set a baseline price so buyers making offers under that threshold will receive automatic rejections. But offers at or above the acceptable baseline price require manual responses from sellers.

Offers expire after 72 hours, and Fairleigh said sellers’ ratings are not impacted in any way if they don’t respond to offers. With each offer, the clock resets at 72 hours. And there’s no limit to the number of offers and counteroffers.

Once a seller accepts an offer, the item reverts to that price and moves to the customer’s checkout. However, the transaction is not complete until the customer checks out. This is an email negotiation, but payment is not made via email, Fairleigh explained.

Currently the minimum price at which a listing is eligible for sellers to add the Make an Offer feature is $100.

Sellers can review their Make an Offer history – including all offers received – at anytime, Fairleigh said, and he said it would never be mandatory for sellers to use Make an Offer.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to