Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Dec 21 2016 21:24:02

Does eBay Make It Too Hard to Haggle?

By: Ina Steiner

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A reader said he noticed that eBay has an option to filter search results by "Buy It Now," and offered an interesting observation: there's no option to filter results by Buy It Now with "Best Offer."

Best Offer is a haggling feature that allows shoppers to make an offer of a lower price on a listing where the seller makes the feature available.

While in general sellers don't want to have to deal with more emailing back and forth, sellers can automate the Best Offer process if they wish. 

Some sellers find Best Offer is a great way to get sales they might not otherwise get.

eBay explains you have 48 hours to respond to Best Offers individually. Or, as it explains, you can set it up so that the Best Offer system "will automatically accept or decline offers outside of price limits you set. Buyers will not know that you have set these limits, and you can change your price limits at any time, as long as the listing is still active." See exactly what flexibility you have as a seller on this help page.

eBay has said as recently as March that offering Best Offer boosts sales by 70%.

Our reader said the Best Offer refinement to search "would not only make it much easier for buyers to get a good price, but would benefit sellers like me who wait endlessly for offers on hundreds of my listings."

He went further: "Don't buyers realize that most sellers would accept almost any reasonable offer just to break even each month, especially as eBay continues to nickel and dime us to death?? I for one often accept offers as low as 60% just to get rid of inventory."

Do you use Best Offer, and what do you think of offering shoppers a filter so they can drill down their searches to only those listings where sellers are willing to dicker?




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Readers Comments

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

Wed Dec 21 22:35:45 2016

In my opinion, Best Offer is another path on the race to the bottom unless a seller lists an item for much higher than they expect to get with Best Offer.

Further, once started, it's very difficult or impossible to revert back to listings without Best Offer because buyers have become conditioned to the seller accepting lower prices.

Don't like and never have liked it. Average selling prices would increase if sellers refused to use this profit sapping option.

In too many Best Offer cases, the only one that profits from Best Offer is ebafia.

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by: flybuy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 21 22:47:59 2016

I use Best Offer occasionally. I usually list the item for more than I want so the best offer is more likely to come in around the price point I can accept.
If a potential buyer makes a ridiculous low offer for something I block them from bidding so they can go play games with someone else.
Conversely I have made reasonable offers to sellers who have ''best offer'' and they keep coming back with higher and higher counter offers.   I told one seller off that they should not have best offer if they really have no intention of accepting less than their asking price.
It can be a great tool to sell things I just want to get rid of.  But as with everything on Ebay it has drawbacks too.  

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by: Joey4711 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 21 23:40:42 2016

best offer is a ruse, mark it up 20% and accept 20% less. This used to work for some time, but buyers are smarter and compare other prices now, so I don't use best offer much. I did recently on an item that was worth $750.00 and killed the best offer when I got $300.00 respectively.  I sold it on another venue two days later for $725.00.  It was valued accordingly.

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by: thebobman This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 22 00:09:47 2016

I use it all the time, but then again I sell a lot of obscure used electronics. Typically, I list the item for about 30% more than I think it would probably sell for, then keep dropping the price every 30 days until it sells or the price finally drops below the cost to ship it.

I've had some items I've listed for $150, and a 18 months later, I have it listed for $7 w/free shipping and it still didn't sell. But when I listed it, there was zero results for the item, in active or ended listings, so I had no idea on the value.

I picked up a lot of 3 commercial satellite receivers about 3 months ago for $20. Listed them for $400 for the lot. Dropped the price $50/mo. I've seen them sell for as little as $40 and as high as $150 each. But the expansion card varied and it was hard to determine an exact price. I had them down to $300 and someone offered me $190.

Of course I took it. If that buyer didn't get it now, I might still be sitting on them in 9 months.

I listed a pair of 22 year old computer terminals yesterday. Put $130 for the pair. In the last 4 months there was 3 sales. A lot of 5 sold for $100, and single units were $40-$60.

Someone offered me $100 for the pair. Good riddance. I had doubts they would even sell.

My inventory is dirt cheap. Most of the time I won't even pay more than 30% of what I can sell it for. My supplier actually gets paid to take it, and then I pay him to buy it from him.

I'm too busy to babysit my listings. 60% of the time, things sell for full price - the rest of the time, I'm happy that anyone even wants the item - but lowballers will get mocked "I won't pay you to take this". Or the guy today that offered "$2 + free shipping". Sure, buy something else from me for full price and you can have it for $2, but not $2 on its own.

How about those people that make an auction for a $50 item, and start the bidding at $46 and keep relisting it 10 times - ITS NOT GOING TO GET BIDS - EVER!!!! If they started the bidding at $25, I'd toss a $40 bid at it and walk away. Either I'd get a good deal, or a great deal, but I'm not waiting til the last minute and then lose out.

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This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Thu Dec 22 00:17:43 2016

To use best offer would mean I would have to boost my price and by boosting my price I will lose any advantage over more competitively priced merchandise. So no, as a seller I don't use it.

As a buyer, I love it since almost all my offers are accepted.  

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by: Tom This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 22 00:22:20 2016

I use Best Offer frequently on more obscure and more valuable items. I've mostly abandoned auction listings, but I use Best Offer kind of like I used to do on auction listings with Buy It Now--that is, I set the Buy It Now price in the upper (optimistic) range of the collectible's value with expectation of accepting offers up to 25% off (which would probably be a more realistic value for the collectible). The hope would be that someone who has been waiting for this item for some time will spring for the Buy It Now price out of fear that someone else will purchase it at that price before I get around to responding to the offer. When I get lowball offers, I thank them for their interest and tell them I'd be willing to accept $××.××, but I don't anticipate lowering the price any further at this time--and send a counteroffer in that amount. I've been pretty satisfied with the results.  

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by: BobNJ This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 22 00:22:55 2016

Delcampe even has a feature where buyers can make an offer on a group of items that they put together as a bundle. Works really well and I have quite a few buyers who use it all the time. When you're selling thousands of collectible items it's a great tool

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by: Bedding This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 22 01:44:40 2016

In my Category I'm lucky to enjoy large margins on the items I sell so all my listings have OBO.
I do wait the whole 48 hrs. before I counter. gives me a chance to go back and research what my competitors are selling for.
Waiting 48 hrs. allows others to see that there's a offer pending and many times other sellers will purchase for BIN price due to pending.

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by: justchangecarriers This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 22 02:29:23 2016

I think they have made it easier actually. If a buyers sends an offer in a message I can just send a message offer. Its way easier to do this way and more personal. There is no point in best offer option. People ask for it cheaper through messages anyway.

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by: justchangecarriers This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 22 02:33:53 2016

^^^ I should add that I mean by message offer. I mean that when someone sends a message attached to a certain listing, you can "reply with offer"

No need for best offer.

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by: 27tcle This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 22 02:34:41 2016

I do best offer a lot, but IME most just buy outright at the BIN price.

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by: Jester This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 22 04:22:06 2016

Yes

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

Thu Dec 22 04:32:16 2016

Ebay DOES offer the ability to filter by 'Best Offter'. I use it all the time.

When searching, on the left hand side scroll down to 'MORE REFINEMENTS'. When the window pops up, select 'FORMAT' and check 'BUY IT NOW'. Then, select 'SHOW ONLY' and check 'Accepts best offer'.

Here's a sample search:

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&LH_BI
N=1&LH_BO=1&_nkw=led%20strip%205050&_dcat=116022&rt=nc

Sure,
it's not in your face, but there are too many search options to have it in your face although, I agree, I usually do search for items using it, so, maybe it should be more prominent.

The one issue I have with it is that most sellers don't really want to accept offers. By 'offer' I mean 10%-20% under their asking price which is what I might do at a yard sale, or when inquiring on a local classified ad ( am I showing my age? )

For example, quite often I'll offer $80 on a $100 item. The seller, in a large percentage of cases, counters with something like $98 and won't budge. It's the equivalent of offering a free non alcoholic beverage with the purchase of an entree and a restaurant - it's a non entity kind of deal.

That's my two cents.. :) Merry Christmas..



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by: westonperry This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 22 04:41:01 2016

Bargain hunters are not a demographic I want as customers.

In my categories (glass, dinnerware) there has been an increase in supply and a drop in demand.  Pricing is subjective - dealers, collectors, people who just like the piece -- they may all have different price points.

But I was willing to try any sales gimmick that would bump sales, so
I have tried Best Offers, but find that they don't generate more sales - and don't justify the additional time I have to put into each transaction.

My prices are usually competitive with recently sold comparable items. And on the rare occasions that I have a super rare piece, I list it as an auction, and do not end it early -- for any price.

If an interested buyer contacts me directly, I will work with them, but I'm moving away from the Best Offer feature.

I recently had a teapot with a Best Offer -- buyer made offer that was automatically accepted, then buyer asked to cancel the transaction... Not wanting to waste time, I cancelled the sale and relisted.  Buyer came back to make LOWER offers on the relist, saying he needed a better price.  TWICE he madef offers below the selling price I had cancelled...

Within the week, I sold the piece for 25% more than Offer #1 - but even that second buyer came back asking for a lower price before completing payment.  I think the automatic accept/refuse feature leaves the buyer thinking s/he could have offered less and wondering if they are overpaying.

Soooo, in most cases, I'm going to list without a ''best offer'' but that's not to say that I won't negotiate on a case by case basis if a buyer takes the initiative to contact me.

I think the question should be not ''does ebay make it too hard to haggle'' but rather ''as we move away from the auction format, what is the best way for ebay to structure pricing?  My vote is fixed or auction - with limited relists.  If you have flexibility in your selling price, then great, sell it in an auction that starts with your lowest acceptable price.  If you want to sell for a specific price, then the BIN should represent your best price.  On relist, you may have another best price, but for the term of a fixed price listing, the price should be FIXED.

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This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Thu Dec 22 04:55:27 2016

Haggle? When I have to pay high fees to eBay (even on shipping paid for by the buyer) and am not protected from scammers, every penny is important. If I wanted to give stuff away, it would just be listed at auction. Or on Craigslist.

I never use ''Best Offer'', and specifically state I do not take offers in the item description. All prices are carefully researched, and, as long as there is interest in the item (aka ''watchers''), I decide if and when a price will be lowered, either by placing the item on temporary sale, or dropping the price permanently if there is little interest.


Those who still insist on making offers are placed on my block list. Period. If a buyer does not read the fact offers are not accepted, they also will miss other important attributes (such as condition or functional details).

Which, of course, will lead to false SNAD claims and / or negative feedback, and a great deal of headaches and lost money for my professional business.

Also, if you give in to a buyer's lowball offer, you may leave the door open for further discount requests once the item is received. Such as ''it wasn't the correct size'', even though the measurement details were explicitly included.

Leave the haggling for garage sales & flea markets. Not on a site in which we as sellers pay a great deal of money to.



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by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 22 04:59:47 2016

It is my opinion, when you put Best Offer on something you are telling the buyer you have priced the item higher than it is worth to start with. I rarely use it except for expensive items that are harder to sell because of their rarity and price.  

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 22 05:26:16 2016

Yes I use best offer and it does make it easy to get sales.  So does Auction - Buy it Now.  I am finding it hardest to get prople to buy at Fixed price.

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 22 05:26:57 2016

It is my opinion, when you put Best Offer on something you are telling the buyer you have priced the item higher than it is worth to start with. I rarely use it except for expensive items that are harder to sell because of their rarity and price.  
^^
If that doesn't work for you, then try Auction-Buy it now.

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by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 22 06:30:55 2016

We don't waste our time with the so called bottom feeders. If you don't like our prices you are free to click the back button and go away.

If you insist on wasting our time your offer gets deleted and you get blocked.

Go shop at your local flea market or garage sale and leave us alone.

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by: sanddogg This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 22 08:52:08 2016

eBay has always had 'ASK A QUESTION'...its down near bottom of sale page. Send the seller the price you want to pay.  

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