Is Amazon's New Feature A Game-Changer?

Chris CrumeCommerce

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Amazon has a new feature that it's calling a game-changer, and could really make selling Amazon all the more attractive to people looking to unload items. This could have an effect sellers listing on eBay and other auction sites. It's not an auction feature, but it enables price negotiation, and that means consumers can get lower prices, and sellers can make more sales.

Amazon announced the launch of a new "Make an Offer" feature, which is pretty self-explanatory. The feature is starting out with 150,000 items across the Sports and Entertainment Collectibles, Collectible Coins and Fine Art categories, but will be expanded to hundreds of thousands of items from sellers next year.

Will this negotiation feature spawn significantly more sales on Amazon? Let us know what you think.

Sellers can enable the feature, and when the customer selects "Make an Offer" on an item’s product detail page, they can enter and submit a new price of their choosing. The seller will receive the customer’s offer through email, and can accept, reject, or counter it. The negotiation by email can continue until it's complete. When the seller accepts an offer, the customer is notified, and can put the item in their shopping cart.

Enabling the feature also adds a visibility element to items. Users can browse eligible items at the Make an Offer landing page.

The feature is likely to increase sales for a lot of sellers.

“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.”

“The ‘Make an Offer’ experience gives customers more control and better deals than they may have received prior to this program,” said Steven Costello, Executive Vice President of Steiner Sports Memorabilia. “The negotiation experience will hopefully get more communication between us and our customers to help us better gauge the price for certain items. We love the 'Make and Offer' program, and it is only going to get bigger. Once customers know this is an available feature more offers will come, leading to more sales.”

“The ‘Make an Offer’ experience is unique as it provides a new and engaging way for Amazon customers to negotiate lower prices. I think it will broaden my customer base,” said Spencer Eggers, owner of Coast to Coast Collectibles. “This new shopping experience could also increase customer loyalty because it will give serious buyers the opportunity to have direct communication with the seller to determine a fair, agreed upon price. It will be like a Black Friday sale 365 days a year.”

Amazon is careful to note that the "Make an Offer" feature is not an auction format, and that.all negotiations are one on one and private. You won't always get that at local sales.

Amazon also notes that the intention of the feature is to lower prices, and a customer negotiating with a seller will never pay more than the listed price.

The feature could indeed be a game-changer. As Consumerist notes , while haggling over prices at garage sales is very common, most people wouldn't dream of going to large national retailer and just trying to negotiate a price on an item. Amazon is obviously a huge retailer, and is now enabling customers to do just that. Sure, the items come from third-party sellers, but as far as consumers are concerned, they're just going to Amazon and buying something.

Still, as the publication points out, the process could prove to be slow and burdensome. Sellers have three days to respond to an offer made, which means if you’re shopping for holiday gifts at this point, you might be cutting it close. It’s also unclear if the seller can entertain more than one offer at a time."

These are legitimate concerns, but don't put too much of a damper on a feature that could genuinely help people sell more and get better deals.

What do you think? Game-changer? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Image via Amazon

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.