eBay: Better Than Ever for Savvy Shoppers

If you haven’t shopped on eBay in a while, you may be delighted to learn that your potential for great deals on items you actually want has just increased dramatically.

On eBay, you can find auctions, to be sure, but you’ll also find thousands of eBay store where sellers offer items for a fixed price. Some sellers have a “buy it now” price and an option for you to submit your best offer. Including the best offer option on the listing adds to the cost of the listing for the seller so many sellers do not routinely use it.

If you see a listing that catches your eye but you’re not completely sure you want to buy the item at the listing price, as always, you can “watch” the item while you make up your mind. Alternatively, you can put the item in your virtual shopping cart, which does not commit you to purchase until you pay for it or request an invoice from the seller.

In either case – this is the exciting new feature — without knowing your identity or eBay ID, notice of the fact that someone is watching the item or has put it into their cart may give the seller the opportunity to send a personalized offer to that potential buyer. The offer has to meet certain criteria – for instance, it cannot be too close in price to the original selling price – and the offer will expire generally within 48 hours. The shopper will receive a message from eBay that computes the discount being offered and reads: “Because you showed interest in this item, the seller sent you this private offer. A few other interested buyers also received this offer—it won’t last long. Hurry and take advantage right away!”

Illustration:  This beautiful vintage necklace I am selling has 21 watchers; 9 people to date have received special offers on the piece. Who will buy?

The personalized offer may be enough to turn a window shopper into a very happy buyer without having to haggle over the price.

One more tip:  If you receive a personalized offer and still aren’t ready to commit to a purchase or you don’t act during the period of the offer, you may still be able to obtain the item at the offered price. Contact the buyer and ask if the offer is still available. Very often the seller is happy to extend it.

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