Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Aug 26 2018 15:47:13

eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers

By: Ina Steiner

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Welcome to the new eBay, where as auctions decline, haggling is encouraged.

eBay sellers can now make offers to watchers - and to shoppers who ask them questions. On the flip side, buyers can make an offer to a seller even if the seller doesn't have Best Offers enabled on their listings. Here's a rundown on some of the latest features that let eBay buyers and sellers cry, "Let's make a deal!"

1) eBay Sellers Can Make Offers to Watchers
The latest move in eBay's haggling strategy: eBay is running a new pilot where sellers can initiate Best Offers to up to 10 buyers who are watching their items. Here's how eBay explains it:

"Only one offer is allowed per watcher (for up to 10 watchers) and the offers will expire after the standard 48-hour duration. The message a buyer receives will clearly indicate that others have also received the same offer and the first to accept will get it. Once one buyer has accepted, the others will be notified that the seller's offer is no longer available. Buyer's who do not wish to receive these kinds of offers can opt out by changing their communication preferences."

However, this particular feature is available only to sellers who use "My eBay > Selling" - in other words, it's not available to those using Seller Hub.

2) Buyers Can Make Offers to Sellers
On July 28, a reader spotted a "Make an Offer" option when sending a seller question. We tried it - when you click on Contact Seller in a listing, you'll see an option under "select at topic" called "Make an offer." We clicked the radio button and here's what eBay displayed:

"How do I make an offer? The seller hasn't enabled offers for this item. See if they'll consider - send a message with your best price."

3) eBay Sellers Can Make Offers in Response to Questions
Sellers can make offers whenever anyone sends them a question - eBay calls it Reply with offer - here's an excerpt, you can find more information on this Help page:

If a buyer sends you a question about an item you have listed in a fixed-priced format, you'll have the option to reply with an offer... The offer you send can be for more or less than the Buy It Now price, and you can send a buyer up to 3 offers. Each offer is valid for 48 hours or until the listing is sold, whichever comes first.

The option to reply with an offer is available to all sellers, whether you use Best Offer in your listing or not. However, this feature is unavailable on auction or multi-variation listings, and in the Motor Vehicle category.

Other Ways eBay Puts Downward Pressure on Pricing:

Sellers Can Lower Prices of Items in Buyer Shopping Carts
eBay is testing a feature to allow sellers to lower the prices of listings in a buyer's shopping cart to entice them to complete the purchase. 

Encouraging Best Offers
eBay recently made it easier for buyers to filter search results to see only listings where sellers accept Best Offers.

And it ran a test in which it displays a message inside listings showing how long it takes the seller to respond to Best Offers. (For example: "Seller responds to offers in 1 hour.")

Pros and Cons of Make Offer Features
There are advantages to letting buyers and sellers communicate and engage in a little give-and-take over shipping or price. But some buyers might find being bombarded with offers annoying, and some sellers may fear it "cheapens" the site. 

But like it or not, eBay is turning from an auction site where prices rise to a marketplace where buyers expect prices to be negotiable.

Let us know what you think of the haggling strategy - should eBay embrace it even more? And be sure to indicate if it makes a difference depending on the type of item - new commodity versus used or collectibles.



Comments (93) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers   eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 26 16:08:07 2018

Wild-eyed for sure...but...
If the seller is willing to take a cut, how about ebay?
Cut the selling fee to 7-8% on accepted offers over $50.

Sellers might overprice, but market forces will knock 'em back down.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers   eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 26 16:37:23 2018

Just another plan for reverse begging. Ebay has done all it can with coupons, per cent off, bonus bucks etc. Now they want the sellers to do the begging. Desperation on all sides is beginning to show. How nice.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers   eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 26 17:24:09 2018

another daily change that means nothing.

its kind of funny that its not available in the seller hub

I'm sure the delusional ceo feels the noose tightening more everyday

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers   eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Sun Aug 26 18:29:07 2018

While I don't like the implications, per the article's ending, this is a feature I've wanted more and more as eBay's customer base turned poorer and poorer.  That said, it's not really a long term strategy.  I want out.  And once I've used this to move stuff out, I won't be back.  Not as a seller, not as a buyer.  eBay is a poisoned well.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers   eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sun Aug 26 18:44:09 2018

It is just how a great many shoppers shop now.  It seems to me that Ebay is just moving in the direction that buyers like.

I personally do not like nor do I use Best Offers on my listings.  And I'm not about to change that in the foreseeable future.  But some of the ideas outlined above I think could be very useful to both buyers and sellers.  These are private negotiations that may just benefit both parties.  I think it is interesting and deserves a bit more thought on my part.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers   eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Sun Aug 26 19:32:35 2018

The article title I'd like to see :
"Ebay gets out of sellers' business, goes retro to year 2000."
Hold all opinions.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers   eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers

by: Vernfern This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 26 20:48:43 2018

Depending on the item in question, this can be a good idea. I see it as a matter of having an interested party in your unique item, why not make them a good offer if the item isn't selling?

Maybe I missed it, or times have changed since I used the best offer option, but there was a frustrating flaw in the system where a buyer could make an offer, you could accept it, but that removed immediate payment being required. As a result the listing showed as ''sold'' and pulled it from the market - often an issue with a competitor making a good offer to just pull your competing item off the market for a couple of days. This caused the positive of working out a deal with a buyer turning sour when abused or just a tire kicker.

If eBay would make immediate payment needed to complete the offer (when immediate payment is in the listing) this can work out.  

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers   eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 26 20:51:50 2018

We never use offers,

don't be fooled, it's not a trend,

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers   eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers

by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 26 21:01:43 2018

As a SELLER I could like parts of this if If IF it means that when I was to make contact BACK to would-be buyers I could use it to STRESS that buying 2 or more DIFFERENT items could be used to generate  Over-All Savings on the cost to SHIP the items to THAT buyer.  I put a FULL PARAGRAPH in each of my more recent listings giving why and how to use the shopping cart.  Yeah, yeah, nobody reads anymore, but we all know that really means FEW read the description so even FEW should generate MORE multiple item purchases than what I've been seeing.
It is ridiculous right now how FEW multiple item buyers I receive.  With 1,700+ movies and TV seasons on DVD / BluRay, it should NOT BE that 95 percent of my sales are ONE and DONE.  Worse, there should not be sooooo many who screw up buying 2 or more as easily 2/3rds of those who DO BUY 2 or more IGNORE the SHOPPING CART feature, or TRY to use it and wind up PAYING the First Shipping charge that eBay shows them when that $price is almost always HIGHER $ than what I would have steered the buyer TO.  Things like MEDIA MAIL vs. First Class,   Priority Mail PADDED Flat Rate Mailer vs. 12 oz. 1st Class Package when the buyer is ANXIOUS to receive by this coming Friday. (Yes, this one just happened earlier this afternoon.)  Before anyone asks, NO, I do not have Immediate Payment Required CHECKED OFF on any of my listings.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers   eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 26 22:53:12 2018

Desperation thy name is eBay.

Marie .... "It is just how a great many shoppers shop now.  It seems to me that Ebay is just moving in the direction that buyers like."

Didnt eBay say they DIDNT want to be a flea market, auction house, bazaar???

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers   eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers

by: ThisGuy This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 26 23:10:25 2018

@Vernfern

I totally agree with you about immediate payments!

Every time I've had a non-payer on a best offer item that never gets paid (crossing fingers, haven't had one in a while!), I ALWAYS suggest to eBay to devise a way to leave that item live and NOT remove it from the marketplace!  An item should not be considered sold until it's actually paid for!

This would relieve so much hassle for the seller and would probably mean more commission for eBay, in return!

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers   eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers

by: SANT1N1 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 26 23:19:02 2018

Eventually it will be EBAY making offers to buyers. At first sellers will be able to opt in. Then it will become mandatory. That should WOW them on Wall Street!

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers   eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers

by: Carol Is Here This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 27 00:15:17 2018

USPS fees go up twice a year now. Ebay fees go up in every way they figure out how to slam sellers with more charges.

How can sellers keep taking less and less?

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers   eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers

by: smallstuff This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 27 00:16:32 2018

I'm all for it.  But I can't see any way to make an offer to my watchers even from "all selling".  Sometimes I have ten watchers but no bids and no offers.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers   eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 27 00:24:06 2018

Funny how they roll this out now but only for those not using Seller Hub, which has become mandatory for all businesses and professional sellers.  So this is basically only for the once in awhile garage sale sellers.  

I did notice that the buyers can opt out of that feature and this will give more sellers a better idea as to how many of the watchers are really buyers or the competition watching to see what you get for the item.  I am sure they will quickly opt out of the program as they don't want to e bothered with all the emails.  I know I would opt out on  the items I am watching as I already get to many emails about every little nickel change and am getting close to no longer watching anything because of it.

I do notice that there is no mention as to whether the seller knows who the buyers are or not.  My guess is that you will never know who is watching your items just like it is now and with all the other fun glitches Ebay has this has major glitch written all over it.  Or Maybe that's why its not available in Seller Hub, maybe Ebay is learning not to keep shooting itself in both feet every day, only one foot.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers   eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers

by: Bubbles This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 27 00:25:42 2018

yet another way in the race to the bottom

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers   eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers

by: moonmyst This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 27 00:31:11 2018

As a buyer on eBay, I wouldn't want to be bombarded by eager sellers constantly emailing me with multiple offers. To me, that would border on harassment, and would force me to stop 'watching' items and shop elsewhere. eBay must have hired a bunch of new 'talent' who have all these fresh and innovative ideas.

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers   eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Mon Aug 27 00:39:33 2018

A lot of 'watching' is not watching to buy but watching to assess value of an item. If seller's started sending me unsolicited offers 1) I would be annoyed and 2) have more eBay keywords ('offer') to send to my spam folder.  

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers   eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers

by: Devin Wenig made me homeless This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 27 00:48:53 2018

Most likely ebay shill employees 15K disguised as buyers to get your items as cheap as possible. That way they can stock up their upcoming fulfillment centers and get full price for your items (their true value) with 100% exposure and traffic.

Meanwhile you get negative margins, one sale a day (turned off) and a bunch of glitches as a reward.............and that stupid eBAY clapping tunnel from the same people who are stealing from you behind a cubicle laughing and putting you out of business on a daily basis.

WAKE UP SELLERS!!!!

Perminate Link for eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers   eBay Sellers Can Now Make Offers to Watchers

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Aug 27 00:49:37 2018

OK, I bought another item from Amazon.

This is my 3rd purchase this year from Amazon.

I bought a UTG Recon Flex Bipod, on eBay it's $48, Amazon had it for $45, but I was offered a used-like new which means new in a damaged package for $40.

Ordered it Friday night and got it today (Sunday), both the item and the box were in perfect condition, it had a sticker on it that said: Amazon Warehouse deals INSPECTED. . .

The more eBay screws me around the more I'll be buying on Amazon!

It's a shame that eBay has turned a once loyal customer into one shopping elsewhere!

For new items eBay can't compete with Amazon, now I'm ready to buy a 1/2" ACdelco Digital Torque box, they're $58 on eBay, Amazon has a used-like new listed for $51. . .Which means new in a maybe damaged package but probably not. . .I see more Amazon & less eBay in my buying future

But I'm still a eBay seller ~ LOL

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