eBay’s New Best Offer Beta is now Live

Best Offer Beta
eBay have implemented a new Best Offer system in three categories – Computers, Tablets, and Networking; Jewellery & Watches and Art. eBay say the changes may be rolled out to more categories in the future.

Karl from Wholesale Clearance spotted the new eBay page and the two of us have been looking at the details for a couple of days. We’ve come up with some thoughts to help affected sellers come up with new Best Offer strategies.

The main difference is that normally a buyer makes an offer and if the seller accepts it then the item is legally sold. However the seller then has to rely on the buyer actually making a payment and until such time the goods are held in limbo.

With the new Best Offer, buyers can make multiple offers to several sellers and then choose which to accept. The goods aren’t considered as sold until paid for. For sellers it means you can accept multiple Best Offers from buyers and unlike previously with the goods remaining sold and unpaid for, first to pay wins the deal and your stock is available to sell until paid for.

Basically it makes it easier for buyers to make Best Offers and then select which they want to accept, and there should be less unpaid items for sellers to worry about.

How will the change affect you?

Expect to see more Best Offers being submitted and not paid for even when you accept them. This is just a side effect of the new game – there’s nothing to stop buyers submitting a ton of low ball offers in the hope that one or more will be accepted.

Why is it good for buyers?

In the past a buyer could submit a Best Offer, but then control was out of their hands. If the seller accepted the offer they were obliged to pay for the item. That was the case even if an offer was made late on Friday and the seller didn’t accept until Monday morning.

Now as a buyer I can make multiple offers and if one seller is slow to respond I can pay for an accepted offer from another seller knowing I won’t be obliged to pay for the first one.

Speed of accepting Best Offers will be even more important to winning sales in the future

Tip: Set your Auto Accept/Auto Decline

Best advice it to automate the entire process and use auto accept and auto decline. This will save you from having to manually review a load of offers which may never be paid for. Also if you respond immediately and another seller doesn’t review until the next day, buyers may will pay for the first offer that’s accepted and the first will probably be an automated acceptance.

But you still want to review offers?

From my time selling on eBay I rarely set the auto accept and decline offers at the same price. I’d view an offer for a one off item very differently from an offer for a quantity of 10 or 20. Especially when offering free postage I had a lot more latitude in accepting multiple quantity Best Offers as I’d save significantly on packaging and courier costs.

If you have buyers that purchase in bulk, set your auto accept at the lowest price you’d be willing to take for a one off purchase. Set your auto decline at the highest price you’d be willing to consider if a buyer cleaned you out of all the stock on the listing.

This at least means that any offers you have to manually consider will either be low ball for one item or low quantities, or you’ll be hopefully receiving a substantial wholesale order for your trouble.

No more gaming

We’ve seen it in the past where a buyer makes multiple offers trying to find your lowest price. Now, once you’ve accepted an offer, the buyer won’t be able to place another on the same listing until the first Best Offer has been cancelled, countered, or completed and payment made.

Accepting Multiple Best Offers from the same buyer

There are some downsides to the new system. In the past a buyer may have made a Best Offer for two or more items. You may have looked at the deal as a whole and with carriage savings accepted a group of Best Offers as an acceptable deal. Once accepted the buyer was obliged to pay.

Now if you accept multiple Best Offers as a deal the buyer can choose only to pay for one item and that item is the only one they’re considered to have purchased. You can’t give buyers an unpaid item strike or even open a case for the remaining Best Offers because they’ve not purchased them.

Make sure that if you accept multiple Best Offers you don’t accept an offer because the whole deal for multiple items looks good.

Who does it affect?

It’s currently only live in selected categories.

Mobile users won’t see the new experience yet.

Offers will only be included in the immediate payment critria if they are less than £200 value, are paid with PayPal and the listing includes the postage cost (domestic or International for overseas buyers).

What do I need to do?

eBay say nothing – your listings will work perfectly well with the new Best Offer Flow.

We say you should strongly consider using automated accept/decline and should consider new rules for accepting multiple low ball best offers as buyers won’t be under any obligation to buy all your offers as a single deal.