What's Hot in Small Business – Chris Crum
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Amazon Gives Businesses The 'Make An Offer' Feature
Amazon recently released a new feature for third-party sellers, which could enable them to make significantly more sales through the platform, and ultimately make Amazon a better channel for certain types of businesses.
The feature actually helps give Amazon itself more firepower in competing with eBay. While it's not an auction feature, it lets a customer negotiate prices with sellers. The feature is aptly called "Make an Offer".
It's pretty much exactly what it sounds like. When a customer browses a product page that has the "Make an Offer" feature, they can make the seller an offer, and try to get them to come down on the price. While businesses may not always want to sell things for lower prices, you can see where they might be able to make more sales from such an offering.
Businesses, of course, have the choice in whether or not they want to agree to the proposed price, and they also have the choice to even enable the "make an offer" feature to begin with. There's not really much of a drawback to using it.
Amazon started the feature out with 150,000 items across the Sports and Entertainment Collectibles, Collectible Coins and Fine Art categories, but said it will be expanded to hundreds of thousands of items from sellers next year.
When a seller enables the feature, a customer can select the "Make an Offer" option on the product detail page, and then enter and submit a new price of their choosing. At that point, the seller will get the offer through email. They can accept, reject, or counter it. The negotiation process can continue until either a price is agreed upon or it otherwise ends. If a seller accepts an offer, Amazon will notify the customer, and put the item in their shopping cart.
Sellers can potentially gain more visibility for their products when they use the Make an Offer feature. Amazon has a place where customers can specifically shop through the items they can negotiate on, so if you're using the feature, you will appear there.
Amazon certainly sees a great deal of potential in the feature, as it's something that both customers and sellers have wanted to be able to do for a long time.
“The new ‘Make an Offer’ experience is a game-changer for Amazon customers looking for great prices on one-of-a-kind items, and for sellers looking to communicate and negotiate directly with customers in an online marketplace environment just like they do normally in their own physical store or gallery,” said Peter Faricy, VP for Amazon Marketplace. “In a recent survey of our sellers, nearly half of the respondents told us that the ability to negotiate prices with customers would be important to drive more sales on Amazon. ‘Make an Offer’ delivers that functionality and makes customers feel confident they are getting an item they want at the lowest price possible.”
All of the negotiation process happens in private, so it's a completely different experience than an auction that most eBay users are used to.
Amazon made it a point to note that the feature is intended to lower prices. It won't let listed items go higher than their original price in the negotiation process. Some consumers are concerned that businesses will just jack up prices in the first place. Perhaps they will.