I’ve just received my first eBay Offer to buyers. I had a couple of items on my eBay watch list and an email popped in, triggered by a seller who’s got early access to the eBay Offer to buyers feature and is making use of it.
If you’ve not heard of eBay Offer to buyers yet, it’s essentially similar to Best Offer in that the proposition is that the buyer gets a discount with a time limited offer, but instead of the buyer requesting the discount the seller offers one. You can send an eBay Offer to buyers if they have signalled interest in your listing by adding it to their watch list.
What I like about the email is that it’s a great reminder of something that was languishing on my watch lists. It’s phrased as a private offer (makes me feel special) and details the offer price, the percentage discount (7% in this case) and the validity period (48 hours).
The only thing I didn’t like is I couldn’t remember how much the item was listed for in the first place. 7% is a reasonable enough discount so I’m not complaining, but it was only but revisiting the item that I could verify that the listed price was £30.00 – it would be nice to see that in the email although 7% does sound like a much bigger discount than the monetary discount of £2.00.
This is a great marketing tool if you have been granted access to it. eBay have promised that all business sellers in the UK will have access by April so that’s not to far away if you don’t have it yet. The easy way to tell is to look at your Manage Active Listings page in Seller Hub and it will be there alongside promoted listings. If you don’t see it yet hang on as it should arrive over the next few weeks.
Eligibility is determined by a number of factors, including age of listing, listing format, and rules that manage the number of offers buyers receive. eBay may expand eligibility criteria over time so if you don’t see any eligible listings check regularly to see if more Offer to Buyers opportunities become available.
Where are the eBay Offer to Buyers tools?
The one thing that’s lacking from eBay Offer to Buyers is our perennial complaint that the feature comes with a severe lack of tools. Yes you get a choice of launching offers from the eBay Seller Hub or from the item listing page, but what about third party support through the API? Many business sellers never even visit the eBay site so third party tool support would be very welcome.
The other tool that’s missing is we’ve yet to see monitoring and reporting tools. Whilst there’s some merit in blindly sending out offers in the hope that they have an effect, for a tool to have real value it needs to be measurable with robust reporting. How do you know what effect sending out offers at 10% instead of 7% will have? Should you try offers at 15% or is that just wasting money? Do you have more success sending offers in certain categories compared to others to tell you where to focus your efforts and does success based on discount percentage vary by category? What about peer reporting so that you know if your offers are more or less successful than similar sellers with similar products?
Even with the lack of robust tools and reporting, we’d suggest that if you have access to the feature that you start using it. Early adopters will have less competition especially as eBay limit the number of offers any one buyer will receive so get in early before everyone has the feature.