eBay Best Offer Why to Buy signal gets sellers worked up

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Sellers in the US are a bit irate about eBay’s latest Why to buy signal which tells buyers how quickly the merchant might respond to a Best Offer.

The text that causing concern reads “Seller responds to offers in 1 hour” or variants perhaps 3 hours.

Naturally if you’re a buyer you might be more inclined to submit a Best Offer if you know the seller is responsive which is what the messaging is intended to convey. However sellers are complaining that at times they are busy shipping orders or sometimes might even be asleep and unable to respond in the time scales eBay are suggesting.

eBay have given some extra background on this test explaining that estimated response times are based on the seller’s performance over the past year – it’s not pure guesswork but related to how responsive the seller is.

“We are currently testing this out to encourage utilization of the Best Offer option when it is available. The estimated response time is determined based on a seller’s behavior over the past year. We have found that most sellers are incredibly responsive to reasonable offers, getting back to their buyers in less than three hours on average. Some sellers are replying in under an hour with consistency.

We do expect this to signal to buyers to drive additional purchases, thus increasing sales for our sellers. While this is only in the initial testing phases, we will work to enhance this feature and apply it strategically so it only appears when there is reason to believe it will significantly impact the chance of a sale.”
– eBay

eBay added that they consider it unlikely that a potential buyer placing a Best Offer outside of typical business timeframes will be negatively impacted and reassured sellers that failure to meet the suggested response time will not affect their seller standing in any way.

This new Why to Buy signal will be used by eBay and displayed when their algorithms suggest that the chances of a sale will increase from the messaging. It wouldn’t be unreasonable for eBay to have looked at the seller’s historical Best Offer responses and know what time of day they’re likely to be available. Even being active and logged in could potentially be used as a trigger to display the messaging although we don’t know if eBay have developed their algorithms that far yet.

9 Responses

  1. ” reassured sellers that failure to meet the suggested response time will not affect their seller standing in any way.”
    – could maybe rephrase that, ATTEMPTED to reassure sellers, as a seller i assure you i am not reassured.
    unless the customer specifically and categorically mentions in his negative feedback, that the negative feedback is due to slow response on an offer, ebay won’t remove it.
    if the customer simply states “service less than expected” for example, because of the slow response time, then that negative sticks every time. you’re not protected.
    wish they’d stop bloody experimenting on unsuspecting people just trying to go about their living, you want to trial crap, ask permission from the people you test it on at the very very least.

  2. the odd occasion we have used best offer
    buyers get an instant response as we use the auto accept option

  3. Best Offer just encourages people to ask for a cheaper price, so we do not have it on our listings.

    A customer did ask this morning, via a message, if we were able to do a discount on buying three items, which we were as we can make a saving 0f £5.00 on posting three items individually + 40p PayPal fee.

    If they want more sales they should look at encouraging buyers to buy more, up-sell not discount.

    Also, interesting to note, we get buyers on eBay asking for a quicker delivery after payment but they do not seem to buy First Class.

    Out of the last 200 orders from each market place

    Amazon 33/200 orders upgraded to 1st Class
    eBay 9/200 orders upgraded to 1st Class

  4. Tyler… yes we get that with postage. pays for 2nd class, then messages saying it’s urgent can they pay the extra for 1st class…. Just a time consuming hassle and perfectly illustrates how buyers simply don’t read the listings because ebay has created an impression that it doesn’t matter because if you screw up the seller will bail you out at their cost!

  5. Lately I have noticed Ebay agreeing on the phone to correct problems of mine I brought up but not doing so.

  6. What utter twaddle ……….

    So selling worldwide , I might get an offer at 2:30 am , and ebay tell the buyer I will respond in 2 hours , but dont get up till 8:30 the following morning and I accept ,they pay and i post .
    I then get a neutral as I kept them waiting 4 additional hours for a response , as ebay think none of us sleep,ever ……… When I phone ebay to get the stupendously daft feedback removed , they say ………………. we will respond in the next 48 hours – If I tried , I couldn’t find a better example of irony.

    How come they have time to make crap up like this ,when the site needs urgent refurbishment as it is falling apart at the seams ?


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