Thursday, January 27, 2011

Best Offer Options ~ Are They Worth The Trouble?

Several years ago eBay introduced the "best offer" option allowing buyers to negotiate the price on certain items. Seller can decide to use the best offer option right from the start, or add it to the listing later on.

The first few times that I used the best offer option, I ended up getting a bunch $1 offer on things that were priced over $20.  Give me a break; you're lucky if you can find something for $1 at a yard sale these days!

Then I started using it on new listings that were priced on the higher side. For instance, I sold a St. John Knit outfit that I listed at fixed price for $139.99 and including the best offer option.  I immediately started getting offers.  Some were very low but then one came in for $110 so I accepted it.  That was 6 days after I listed it.  Great right? Or was it?  If I didn't have the best offer option on this outfit, maybe it would have sold for full price.

Here is the outfit:

On a side note, if you're not familiar with the St. John brand (not St. Johns Bay), it's a high end line of knit clothing that is very expensive. Keep your eyes open for it; I paid $7.99 for this outfit at a Thrift Store.

Back to the best offer option; after trial and error, I do use the best offer option on some of my listings.  Here is my protocol:
  • I never put best offer on any fixed price listing during the first 30 days.
  • I review my store monthly and add the best offer option to items that have not sold after 3 months.
This month I added the best offer option to many of my listings with the hopes of increasing my revenue.  It has been very successful! Although I get my fair share of low offers, I just decline them and move on. Best offer has allowed me to move out some older inventory and make more profits this month then expected.

Here is a recent best offer that I was happy to accept! I had this 1970 P&G car listed for over a year. I paid $1 for it, had it listed for $17.99 and got a best offer for $14. Sold!

You have the option to have the system automatically accept or deny offers that you receive. I never use these features. Why? For the auto deny, a buyer can write in their own terms in the comments section and expect that you reviewed them before accepting the offer. The could say that they will pay $xx but only if it's with free shipping.  Although eBay clearly states that the offer cannot include stipulations in the comments sections, it doesn't stop buyers from doing it.  It just makes for a bad transaction all the way around.

As for automatic accept of offers, buyer may submit up to 3 offers, and often times they will use all 3 to see what the magic number is that you will accept. Personally I like to review each offer individually especially to see what type of feedback they leave for other sellers.

Recently I read that our hard economic times have made haggling or making offers a very popular way to purchase items. Buyers are no longer interested in waiting to see if they "win" an auction, they want to buy it now and if possible, negotiate the price.  This current situation means that using eBay's best offer option can bring more dollars to your bottom line.

I'd love to hear your opinion on the best offer option. Comments and discussions are encouraged!

Happy Selling,

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