Intriguing news for our customers who sell on Amazon Marketplace – there could be new features coming that will affect the way you sell on the Amazon platform.
The US version of the Amazon website often gets new features before they are rolled out to the UK, so yesterday’s announcement from the American arm of the firm is likely to be taken by many as a sign of things to come on this side of the pond. The announcement detailed a new feature on Amazon.com, which is set to escalate the business’ already intense rivalry with eBay.
US customers are now able to use a new option to “make an offer” on certain items being advertised by Amazon Marketplace sellers. This feature has long been a part of the eBay marketplace, and this move by Amazon could be part of a strategy to draw both sellers and customers away from the world’s biggest auction site. That said, Amazon are not moving into auctions with this new update. They attempted to launch a fully-fledged auction site back in 1999, with a venture that failed to compete and was eventually closed down.
While the new “make an offer” option allows customers to pitch a price to the seller, all communications and offers are private and therefore non-competitive – other users can’t see your offer or bid against it. Plus there is no timer counting down to the end of the listing, like there is on eBay. While there is no auction element to this update, the new feature does allow sellers to test the waters when listing products of subjective value on Amazon, in a way that was previously only possible on eBay.
In the past, you may have had a guitar which had been signed by a musician, for example. Perhaps you figured it might be worth around £1000. On Amazon, your only option would have been to list it for that amount. If no one was willing to buy it for that amount, it would go unsold. On eBay, conversely, you could instruct customers to “make me an offer” or bid as part of an auction. These options made it easier to sell the item if you are unsure of how much it is worth and are happy to accept whatever the market decides is it’s value. With Amazon’s latest update, it will be possible to sell these types of items on their platform for the first time. Amazon’s latest move is designed to help those who sell items with prices that are flexible and subjective, by allowing them to list items and see what offers they get. In the past, it would be easy to sell too low – or risk keeping the price high and end up not selling at all.
There are however, some restrictions on which kinds of items punters can make offers on. Initially, the only categories with this new option available will be Fine Art, Entertainment Collectibles and Coins. This decision makes sense, I don’t think many sellers would be happy with customers making offers on items with already slim margins such as removable memory or video games.
So expect to see oil paintings, signed guitars and commerative tender going online on the US site, with this new option to make an offer. As well as belonging to these specific categories, items must also be listed with a standard “buy it now” price of over $100. Once an offer is made, sellers are to accept or decline the amount within 72 hours.
While the announcement was only made yesterday, there are already items available that American customers can make offers on. The most interesting examples include an 1863 document signed by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln (which is valued at around $150,000) and a mint-condition baseball signed by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, which has a normal price of $10,000.
While it’s not known when this new feature will roll out in the UK, it’s worth keeping an eye out for as it doesn’t tend to take too long for new features to make it over the Atlantic.