A seller posted screenshots showing a new feature eBay is testing called "Easy Pricing." eBay displays the following message when she lists or re-lists items:
Make sure your item gets sold
Starting 10 days after listing, we'll lower the price (5% every 5 days) until your item sells or gets to $xx.xx. We'll notify buyers who showed interest each time the price drops. Turn it off anytime by going to your listing."
eBay provides her with two options in order to close the dialog box: "Turn on Easy Pricing" or "Maybe next time."
One screenshot showed a price of $16.50, another showed a price of $2.40, so it appears the price floor for each listing is based either on the seller's starting price or a price determined by eBay's algorithm.
To say the feature is unpopular with those participating on the thread where the seller posted the screenshots would be an understatement. Some said the feature would deter shoppers from making purchases and would instead wait for prices to drop.
This is just the latest example of policies and features designed to pressure sellers to lower prices.
One seller suggested an alternative feature: "If they have a lower the price button then I also want an increase the price button. Every 5 days the price goes up so buyer/bidders if you want it at this price you need to act right now! I've actually used that method quite successfully when selling horses ... this is the price today but guess what, tomorrow it might go up."
Others pointed out it was counter to a new policy eBay just introduced in which sellers must wait 14 days before they can put items on sale through the Markdown Sale feature of eBay's Promotions Manager tool. (The 14-day waiting period applies to the US, UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and Austria. The waiting period in Australia is 7 days):
New markdown sale event requirement
Starting June 25, 2018, you must list your item for 14 calendar days at the same price before you can create a markdown sale event with Promotions Manager.
We recommend that you list your item at a competitive price before you create a markdown sale event. For many products, pricing recommendations are provided as you list and under the Growth tab in Seller Hub.
When one seller said they didn't mind the new Easy Pricing feature as long as it remained optional, others pointed out that eBay has a history of making optional features mandatory, including Immediate Payment Required and Best Offer
One seller highlighted the consequence of the new feature when they wrote: "Note to self: Put listings on Watch List. DO NOT BUY them. Wait for the price to drop every 5 days instead."
So far, only one seller has reported seeing the new eBay Easy Pricing feature.
The tactic is reminiscent of Filene's Basement ''automatic markdown system" described in this 1983 article