Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue May 7 2013 16:29:00

Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay changed its policy on BIN auctions, which is proving controversial. There is also disagreement about whether eBay should even allow sellers to offer a Buy It Now option on auction listings.

BIN Auctions is a hybrid of an auction and a fixed-price listing. With auctions, it's possible bidders can drive up the final price quite high, so some sellers like to offer shoppers an option to buy the item immediately at a BIN price higher than the auction starting price.

The shopper who doesn't want to wait for the auction to end, or who doesn't want to risk the price going higher than the BIN price, can simply purchase the item right away.

Once someone bids on a BIN auction, however, the Buy It Now option disappears, and the listing then continues as a regular auction-style listing with the item going to the highest bidder.

In 2009, eBay mandated that BIN prices had to exceed the auction starting price by a minimum of 10 percent. With the 2013 Spring Seller Release, eBay is now mandating that BIN prices exceed the auction price by 30 percent, which has a lot of sellers fuming.

eBay says it's making this change in order to "better differentiate between fixed price and Auction-style listings, and to keep the unique eBay auction-style listings a great attraction for buyers."

On an eBay discussion board about the issue, buyers and sellers debated the new eBay 30% BIN requirement. "We get the higher price because we forced a buyer to decide upon immediate gratification for a little more or waiting and trying to save a little! Most want immediate satisfaction." The seller felt the feature enticed buyers into making an impulse buy.

Another poster wrote, "Nobody knows yet. Maybe impulse buyers/instant gratification seeks continue to BIN at 30% above the bid. If they do..I bet whole lot of people stop complaining about it. If they don't...move over to FP (Fixed Price). Simple."

Another seller said the policy change had little impact on their selling practices. "Only one of my auctions was below the 30% mark - by about $0.25. So I lowered the starting price. All the others have been at or above the 30% mark for months. Not a big deal. In fact, my buyers seem to like paying the higher price!"

And a buyer said BIN auctions led to a poor experience for buyers. "Buyers who like auctions and there are a lot of us, like to look just through Auctions and we filter our search results this way. When we invest the time to find items and read the descriptions, research the price make decisions about what to bid and then come back to find out it was sold as a fixed price item. We now have more time invested in the item than the sellers has. It is not about the sellers perspective here at eBay, and rightfully so."

Several readers wrote in to say they thought the move was a mistake on eBay's part. "Nobody is more motivated than me to sell my items," wrote one.

What do you think of eBay's new BIN auction policy?




Comments (23) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?   Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?

This user has validated their user name. by: Sandymenu

Tue May 7 17:19:09 2013

IA, it depends on the product and the consumer demand.

I list only $75.00 and up to $2500.00 items not to exceed 10 listings per week and 75% of the time they sell.

The fees are obviously outrageous but the end result is rewarding.

Ina: Correction about the ''BIN disappears after a bid is placed''

this (I've noticed) happens to low end listing and not on high end listings. The BIN remains available up until the expired date.

What works for me is:

1. (if auction style) a low start bid of 0.99 or 1.00

2. Place a Reserve Amount

3. Place a BIN option

4. I make sure to ''check at listing preference'' the BIN requires they do just that ''buy it now'' sends them to PayPal to pay it or else it returns their click as a void with pop-up reminder which I think is good because you get your money upfront (for now that is until they change this)

5. If the Reserve is Not Met and the BIN was not snatched then at end of ''auction listing'' do a SECOND CHANCE with ONE DAY wait (never longer) but always check buyer's track record (feedback, location PLUS you can SEARCH their buying pattern history 30 day-activity AND their actual place of residency: state and country) because many do register in USA but after you SEARCH them shows in a different COUNTRY.

How to do this? You search their ID as a ''seller'' and not a buyer to get more activity info.

I listed 4 items this morning and now have 1 left with current bids not met which ends next Tuesday.

The fees are RIDICULOUS but the profit allows me to take Dada Ming for chinese BUFFET!

So, YES, eBay should continue to allow sellers these options because it allows seller to try to at least make some money.

The BIN tends to disappear after a bid on a lot of low end products (clothing or a comb, stamp) etc.

They're going to keep that BIN available for buyers on the HIGHER PRICED items to collect on that sale!

Perminate Link for Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?   Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?

by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 7 22:08:40 2013

Auctions and Fixed Price should not meet in some hybrid formula. But then, ebay does not run real auctions anyway -- whoever heard of a real auction ending when there were still bidders wanting to bid.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles

Wed May 8 00:08:28 2013

I don't have problem with the BIN in auctions. As far I noted. I had better sales using the combination. Now lets see how it works with the 30% up.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Wed May 8 00:23:39 2013

@ sandymenu

Ming doesn't go to monosodium glutamate buffets.

Ming goes five star restaurants.

Perminate Link for Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?   Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?

This user has validated their user name. by: TheUglySweaterShop
Web Site

Wed May 8 00:25:59 2013

Rather than speculation and gibberish about "low-end items", let's look at what eBay actually says about when the Buy It Now option disappears:

"If the seller adds a Buy It Now option to an auction-style listing, you have the chance to purchase the item immediately, before bidding begins. But you have to act fast. Once someone bids, the Buy It Now option disappears. The listing then continues as a regular auction-style listing with the item going to the highest bidder."

"In a listing with a reserve price, Buy It Now disappears as soon as the reserve price has been met.

If the listing is an auction-style listing with a Buy It Now option in the following categories, Buy It Now is available until the current bid reaches or exceed 50% of the Buy It Now price:
Cell Phones & Accessories
Clothing, Shoes & Accessories
Motors Parts & Accessories
Tickets"

Perminate Link for Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?   Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Wed May 8 00:26:07 2013

This latest clear indicator of desperation means a consultant or one of their middle school bean counter MBAs told them that ebabfia will make more money from immediate gratification BINners than from auctions IF the BIN price is at least 30% higher than the opening price.

It's ALWAYS about the money. ALWAYS.

THEIR money, noy ours.

Perminate Link for Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?   Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?

by: blaumann2 This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 8 02:18:33 2013

I was having success with carefully spotted BIN prices. Now, ebay forces me to make them too high for my buyers to take the leap. Once again, ebay has cleverly made it harder for me to sell and make them money.

Perminate Link for Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?   Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 8 08:46:37 2013

Ming is right - MONEY.  Extra revenue on the extra 20%. Any loss os sales dollars  FVF will be made up by the extra 20%. Doubt if ebay will ever get rid of BIN. IMO, auctions do not do that well. Of course nothing else sells either.

Perminate Link for Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?   Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed May 8 09:05:50 2013

I always thought having an auction with a BIN price of sometimes less than a $1 more than the beginning auction price was downright silly which is something that used to happen a lot! I don't see much of anything at ebay anymore since I don't use them but when I used to list there, I would see some of that nonsense and couldn't understand what the seller was hoping for when they start the auction at .99 with a BIN of $1.99 which is 100%. Why bother? Dump the stuff at the thrift store.

I think the BIN should be set by the seller but they need some common sense when doing it and not all have common sense.

Perminate Link for Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?   Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?

by: GoodK9 This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 8 10:18:01 2013

I'll add my two-cents (FWIW).  

Depending on what I've listed, I've added BIN to my auctions in the past.  Generally speaking, these were higher end items and I pretty much always had the BIN higher than the 30% eBay dictates.  Has it worked for me?  Yes, depending on the item (and the scarcity of said item).

Regarding Reserve prices -- I quit with those a long time ago.  I list items for our shop and have had to explain to dear hubby that if he wants $99 for an item (and doesn't want to take less than that), it's cheaper for me to just go ahead and start the listing at $99 rather than starting it at a lower price and having a reserve on it.

Perminate Link for Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?   Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 8 10:48:22 2013

The 30% is going to be a PITA--and drive AWAY sales.

Ebay--as per usual---didn't think this thru at all.

If I have a steady seller item that lists for a certain price as an AUCTION START--and I ALSO add in a BIN that is a bit higher than the 10% but NOT the 30%--and the item SELLS consistently---I am happy;  I made $$$;  ebay SHOULD be happy as they made money TOO.

But---ebay as usual is GREEDY.

Now I have a choice:

Make the BIN even HIGHER than I have it now and (probably) drive away future buyers---which costs BOTH ebay and sellers revenue

Or

Drop the AUCTION START price and LOSE money on the sale---which means ebay LOSES money also---something they apparently are too stoooopid and greedy to think about.  

So this leaves me having to--on this one steady seller repeat item---dropping the auction start price slightly--costing BOTH ebay and I to lose out---and NOT breaking a " price barrier" (on my item)  of going over a figure that I see as an impediment to buying this particular item.  Losing money for ebay---and ME--again!

On my regular everyday used clothing shoes sports gear--I will now have to go and RE LIST everything that --shocker--has NOT been selling.  Because ALL of them had a BIN on them--which is now forcing ME to have to go and CHANGE this as things come up to re-list.  Since auction style listings are just sitting and the BIN seems to sell--the instant gratification thing is real!!!---I will have to decide item to item how to proceed.  

Most people have been brainwashed by ebay to think that they NEED these things===yesterday if not before.  But we risk losing those who DO like the lower price option of an auction listing.

This is a HUGE LOSE LOSE for both sellers and ebay--and BUYERS in my opinion LOSE too.  

Thought ebay was "All about the buyers?"

And---a cynical thought--I wonder if ebay is not going to use this to "prove" once and for all that auctions are "No longer relevant" as sellers cannot RISK the price structures that ebay is forcing on us.  

This then would be an "easy" way to get the small sellers --if not OFF the site completely---then at least in "line" with what the Ho seems to want---a bland list of the same things over and over from hand picked mega "partners" and the little guy with the unique items can go scratch.  Hence the new photo "rules" also--Sears catalog style only allowed there now at the expense of unique item sellers and their pics.

Then they can point the finger at small sellers as not being WANTED by the "buyers" and blaming this on the sellers themselves.

Evil evil ebay.

Perminate Link for Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?   Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?

This user has validated their user name. by: Forestt

Wed May 8 12:27:09 2013

I sell on eBay and Amazon. In the last five years, eBay has made constant changes that irritate, infuriate and drive sellers and buyers away. In the same time, relatively nothing has changed on Amazon. Let's face it, people do not like constant change especially when it's disruptive. If there's one thing eBay could learn in their desire to be Amazon, it's leave well enough alone.

As for eBay auctions, I rarely use them. I ran over 150 auctions last month and only sold 5 items, all for opening bid. Not even worth the effort. When I browse through auctions, most don't even get a single bid unless it's a hot item that would have sold as fixed price anyway. I'd be willing to bet 1 out of 100 auctions actually sell.

As a buyer, I don't really care for auctions because if I want something, I don't want to have to wait for someone to snipe my bid at the last second. Then again, I also do not buy on eBay because I'm not fond of my money going to fund aberrant, dishonest CEO John Donahoe's $28 Million compensation package.

Perminate Link for Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?   Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?

This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Wed May 8 14:40:38 2013

I like BIN a lot, mostly because I rarely ever have any bidding wars any more. It's rare to even get multiple bidders these days, so having a BIN option for those who don't want to wait around is a good thing. People seem to have shorter and shorter attention spans nowadays (because of texting and cell phones maybe?) so I suppose the concept of waiting is foreign to them. They rarely even take the time to read the item descriptions, so expecting them to wait for an auction is probably futile. But, I have noticed that straight-out fixed price listings don't work as well for me as auctions with BIN.

The days of being able to start auctions at $0.99 and get a decent price are long gone for most things, so you have to have a start price that won't lose you any money. I don't like the 30% mandate, however. It's taking away pricing control from the seller, which is not cool for "just a venue." 10% was a fine and reasonable amount. I think ebay wants to push lower starting prices and higher BINs to get them more sales/profits. It's not like they care how negatively anything affects the sellers.

I used the bulk editor to fix my pricing with no hassles, but beware updating descriptions with the bulk editor. I updated some items by replacing the description with new HTML description text and the fool thing translated all the extra spaces and blank lines(which are supposed to be ignored by HTML so you can format the code to be readable without affecting the actual display) with the ;nbsp character, which is a forced blank space. Needless to say, the text looked horrid and everything was a mess. This doesn't happen with TL or when you revise an item individually.

Perminate Link for Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?   Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?

by: mjr55 This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 8 17:45:05 2013

Just more nickel and dimeing.....this is now the second time they have mandated a certain difference between the first bid and BIN prices....I think it used to be 10% and then moved up to 20%....and now 30%.

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by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 8 18:42:43 2013

Like Tula said, we rarely have any bidders.  If I list auction at all nearly always there is one bidder at the end if any- usually no bids!

I consider an auction on ebay with only one bidder to be a failure.  So I mostly list as fixed price with best offer.  

I sometimes get offers that are insultingly low, and I just let those expire.

It's a far cry from years ago on ebay when you could list something at 99 cents and let the market determine the value.  

I had things end at $400 with multiple bidders.  

Not anymore! Now, it's pretty dead, all the time.  The ebay marketplace is broken.  

Buyers expect everything very cheap.  We often lose money on shipping.

Fortunately we get almost no returns, and if we do it's a ridiculous customer error, where they didn't read the listing at all.

It's makes me sad.  I wish the marketplace functioned correctly. Like it used to.  

Perminate Link for Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?   Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?

by: Ebay Seller-Ebay Buyer This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 8 20:13:11 2013

Of course they should allow buy it now in auctions. It's called freedom. Freedom for the seller and the buyer to do as they want.  

Perminate Link for Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?   Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?

by: DR Scarlett This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 9 15:29:48 2013

While I have no problem with the use of ''Auction with BIN'' style listings, there is an issue with BIN prices remaining after a bid is placed.  Until a bid is placed, whether the listing is to be an auction or fixed price sale is yet to be determined.  However, once a bid is placed it becomes an auction and to have the BIN remain active for someone to buy the item out from under someone bidding in good faith would be a serious issue. Even in cases where there is a reserve, once a bid is placed the transaction becomes one of price being determined by competitive bidding and to have a fixed price remain would, in my opinion, show that the seller was not acting in good faith.

With regard to the increase in the differential between BIN price and starting bid, I favor the increase as it strengthens the integrity of auctions being auctions as opposed to fixed price listings masquerading as auctions.  


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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Thu May 9 21:08:24 2013

Good grief, am I the only one here who's fed up with neverending, constant interference in how I run my business?

Ebafia stopped being "only a venue" years ago and became just like the mafiosi run by a narcissistic, sociopathic, greedy godfather.

Metaphorically, what sellers have to cope with monthly are dead horses' heads in the bed when we wake up.

Perminate Link for Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?   Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 10 12:25:59 2013

Ebay should allow a LOT of things that help sellers sell and help Ebay garner fees....but they don't.  They are mismanaged to the point where they deliberately shoot themselves in the foot in order to keep the "power"!!!  Its downright stuoopid and silly!

Perminate Link for Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?   Should eBay Allow Buy Now Option on Auctions?

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 10 12:27:54 2013

@DR Scarlett  I don't see it as a serious issue at all.  If the buyer really really wants that item they will use the buy it now....instead you're siding with them for wanting the item as cheaply as possible?  That doesn't wash.

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