|Thu July 4 2013 19:31:33|
eBay's New Best Offer: Better for Buyers or Sellers?
By: Julia Wilkinson
eBay has launched a new eBay Best Offer Beta, testing out a new way for buyers to make offers to sellers. I've always liked the "Best Offer" feature, and have made many sales that way. But although eBay is touting the new system as beneficial to both buyers and sellers, I wondered what others think of it.
Some sellers who list in the few categories where the Best Offer Beta is being tried out - Computers, Tablets, and Networking; Jewelry & Watches; and Art - say it is not an improvement over the old way for sellers, though it may be better for buyers. Others point out it may not be great for some buyers either because at least for now they're unaware of the extra step of needing to "commit" to the offer.
"I recently accepted the count-offer...and the auction ENDED with NO payment made," wrote on eBayer on the New-Beta-Best board on the Seller Central Forum. "I thought the whole purpose of the NEW B-O system was to make sure buyers PAY...now, I am still waiting for payment...in the meantime, the auction already ENDED!!! Who knows, I could've sold it to another buyer with "Buy It Now."
"A high percentage of "impulse" purchases will fail by delaying a Buyer's actual commitment to purchase by allowing them yet another decision point (are you REALLY sure that you want to buy this? Are you SURE????), wrote another. "Buyers can go around "fishing" for an undefined time limit (days, weeks, months?) without any true commitment while the seller stays on the hook."
Sellers also say that if buyers were unaware of the new extra step of "committing" to an offer, offers would expire. And that wouldn't be good for either of them. "In addition to the loss of impulse buyers, many serious buyer-accepted offers were lost too because they might have not responded in time to "commit"...a lot of buyers were not even aware this new update," said one seller. "I had at least 2 buyers who had overlooked the extra (necessary) steps (and) only found out later after I specifically send ebay messages to alert them about my accepted best offers."
He advised sellers should look at their items with most watchers, "and you might be surprised at how many expired [not committed] auto-accepted offers. I was so depressed to find three expired auto-accepted best offers [amount to over $2000]; who know how many more I have missed since the new update."
But an eBayer named "Black*Max" pointed out that there were benefits to the new system. "The good thing is buyers can make offers to more than one seller, then only pay for the best one. The old way the sellers that made the sale would never have received the offer." He added that sellers "have long been able to hold more than one offer at a time on the table," and now buyers can do the same thing.
The thinking was more buyers would use Best Offer "if they are not held hostage for 48 hrs while a seller waits for better offers."
I was unaware that sellers were "holding hostage" buyers. As a seller, I have always looked at it as, either this offer is reasonable or acceptable to me, or it isn't. There may have been times when I took a day or so to get back to the offer-maker, but I almost always accepted, declined, or countered. The main thing I worry about with this new Best Offer system is it's adding another layer of complication to the whole offer-acceptance process, an extra step which may munge up the sale for various reasons.
What do you think of the new Best Offer, either as a seller or a buyer? Do you like being able to extend multiple offers on, say, a pair of shoes of a certain brand or size, and wait to see which seller accepts it? Have you tried out the new Best Offer system? Post a comment here!