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Two New Features Coming to eBay?


eBay logoSellers have spotted two new features that may be coming to eBay – one provides shoppers with an estimate of the time it takes sellers to respond to offers (called Best Offers). The other is an unusual move to entice buyers who have sellers’ items in their shopping cart by advising sellers to lower the prices of those items.

Sellers are already concerned about the downward pressure on prices, and these two features are adding to those concerns.

Test Number One: Lowering Prices of Items Already in Shopping Carts
A seller wrote, “It seems they’re trying out lots of “new stuff”. I got this on one of my IDs today –
“Drop the Price to Make the Sale Lower the price by 5% on these items in shoppers’ carts, and we’ll email them to say their deal got better.” followed by a bunch of thumbnails from listings each with a “lower the price” button.

The seller returned to the thread later with a followup comments: “Well stiff cheddar because I made 3 of those sales today WITHOUT lowering the price…so there eBay.”

Some of the responses from other sellers included:

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“Oooooh! So now I can possibly entice the seller to offer me a better price by putting the item in my cart, but not purchasing it? That sounds like a wonderful plan to increase conversion! (/sarcasm)”

“I’d be interested to know if that would only lower the price for those that have it in their cart, or everyone? And what we really need around here is people putting stuff in their cart and then not buying it hoping that by waiting they’ll get a bonus discount.”

Note: We hadn’t heard of this feature before, and no other seller in the thread reported having received a “Drop the Price” letter from eBay, so we surmise this is a test.

Test Number Two: Displaying Estimated Response Time to Best Offers
Another seller noticed when editing a listing that eBay had added a notice to their listings: “Seller responds to offers in 1 hour.” The seller’s reaction: “This is absurd – where did it come and how do I turn it off?”

After a healthy debate with many sellers expressing concern over the new feature, an eBay moderator confirmed this was a test – his post follows:

Hi everyone,
I am happy to provide some added context on this feature. We are currently testing this out to encourage utilization of the Best Offer option when it is available. The estimated response time is determined based on a seller’s behavior over the past year. We have found that most sellers are incredibly responsive to reasonable offers, getting back to their buyers in less than three hours on average. Some sellers are replying in under an hour with consistency.

We do expect this to signal to buyers to drive additional purchases, thus increasing sales for our sellers. While this is only in the initial testing phases, we will work to enhance this feature and apply it strategically so it only appears when there is reason to believe it will significantly impact the chance of a sale.

I know there are some concerns with this notice providing inaccurate expectations if your buyer contacts you outside of normal business hours and I want to reassure everyone that this notice is not something that we have expectations associated with and it is unlikely that a potential buyer contacting you outside of typical business timeframes will be negatively impacted by a delayed response.

We would love to hear your experiences with this feature, so please do not hesitate to share feedback here. While I know that the initial reaction to a test can be frustrating, these kinds of tests are designed to improve the eBay experience and boost your business. I encourage everyone to take the opportunity to see how this impacts your sales and your customer’s experience before making changes or adjustments to your business.

What do you think of these features? Let us know by leaving a comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

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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

One thought on “Two New Features Coming to eBay?”

  1. Yessiree,

    Titled “Your items are waiting in carts. Now make the sale.”, on the 7th, I received a message in the eBay’s Message Center that read “Drop the price to make the sale Lower the price by 5% on these items in shoppers’ carts, and we’ll email them to say their deal got better.”

    Ten items appeared on a list and all of them presently have a number of watchers.

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