“See price at checkout” merchandising test on eBay.com

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eBay seem to be taking steps to help some sellers in a test on eBay.com to get around pricing requirements by sellers. Instead of showing buyers the actual price they can buy an item at they’re teasing them with a crossed out “Regular Price” with a message saying that the price they’ll pay will be revealed at checkout.

The reasoning for this according to the eBay help link is “Sellers have the right to set their own prices independently, but some manufacturers place restrictions on how those prices may be displayed or communicated to others. Because the seller’s price on this item is below the manufacturer’s “minimum advertised price” the manufacturer may not allow the seller to show you the seller’s lower price until you take further action, such as clicking on a drop down menu, placing the item in your cart, or proceeding to checkout. The steps required depend on the terms of the manufacturer’s minimum advertised price policy. Taking these steps allows eBay to show you the seller’s great price consistent with eBay’s goal of always bringing consumers like you the lowest possible prices on the widest selection of products”.

eBay go on to reassure buyers that “You should know that by taking these steps, you won’t be required to purchase the product. You can always simply remove the item from your cart or not proceed with checkout if you decide not to buy the item“, or in other words click to buy the item and then if you don’t like the price you can back out of the sale before you confirm your purchase.

The disadvantage for the seller is that it appears in eBay search at the full price, not the discounted price. Even worse it’s ranking in search results again appears to be based on the headline rate and not the actual cost to the buyer. This disadvantages the seller, although I guess it’s better than not being allowed to list the item at all.

If this was a feature open to you would you use it? As a buyer would you be happy being shown a price that the item was less than, but have to click through to the shopping basket or buy it now confirmation page to see the actual price you’re going to pay?

4 Responses

  1. Its an imaginative idea. But what about if several Sellers have it available all on prices lower than the manufacturer will allow to be shown but that the various sellers have a variety of prices.

    Surely in that eventuality the potential buyer would need to take them to the check out one by one and note down the various prices until he had got them all and then go back to the lowest.

    But what if there are a range all with prices lower than the manufacturer will allow to be shown. If they then all are shown at the manufacturers headline price. Does that mean that another seller who has a higher price than the others but still below the headline price but above the price that the manufacturer will allow to be shown would then be indicated on ebay as being the lowest and thereby gain all the sales while in reality being the highest priced.

    I like the basic idea but I find myself wondering if it has possible problems, or am making a basic error somewhere?

  2. Wins no prize in the simple and staightforward stakes!

    Seems that buyers are really being faffed around. Novelty would wear thin with me.

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