Selling on eBay

by Craig Stark

31 May 2010

Using the Best Offer Feature to Your Advantage
Part I

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I recall a discussion on the eBay booksellers forum not too long ago where the topic using the Best Offer feature came up. Somebody wrote (I'm paraphrasing), in what to many others surely felt like a fatal blow, "If you do this, you'll essentially guarantee that you'll almost never get your asking price."

Having used Best Offers for several years now, I can attest to the truth of this. For every Store sale I get on eBay that's at my asking price, there are perhaps 20 or 25 Best Offer sales, some of them at 50% to 60% of my asking price. Are you wincing?

In that same discussion, I recall somebody else noting that, "I tried Best Offers for awhile, but I got so many lowball offers that I got mad and quit."

I can attest to the truth of this as well: I get a lot of lowball offers.

So far, you might be thinking, this Best Offer jazz isn't looking so good.

But wait. I can also attest to the truth of this: Speaking now only of my eBay Stores, I can state with certainty that using Best Offers is one of the keys to making them work.

If you look at this first from the buyer's perspective, I think you'll agree that eBay is very unlike most other bookselling venues in that price fluidity is almost expected. Since eBay started out life as an auction venue and only in recent years has focused on fixed price sales, a user base developed over the years that was (and still is to a significant extent) populated with buyers who have been "trained" to treat it as a venue where buyers set the prices, not sellers.

If you look at this from the seller's perspective, there's a complimentary perspective - that is, sellers have been "trained" to more or less expect buyers to set the prices too, and the focus then becomes doing whatever you can do to help those buyers set higher prices. For longtime readers of the BookThinker, you'll recognize this as the oft-trotted out building-value-into-books principle.

>>>>> Article continues on next page >>>>>

Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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