eBay Best Offers for sellers: your key to unlocking maximum sales on eBay
Some sellers on eBay.com think it’s not in their interest to make use of eBay’s Best Offers feature. They may think that entertaining offers below their regular sale price isn’t worth their time. In truth, however, that’s not always the case.
eBay’s Best Offers can give you the tools to move the listed products you have difficulty selling, helping you earn a lot more money than you otherwise would have. This article will show you how it’s done, and give you advice on how to get the most out of it.
What is covered in this article:
- Why sellers on eBay need to use Best Offers to make money
- 4 more reasons why eBay Best Offers increases sales for sellers
- How use the Best Offers features as a seller
- Tips for dealing with buyer requests
- 9 eBay Best Offers tips for sellers
We’ll start with the most basic question: what makes the Best Offers feature useful?
Why sellers on eBay need to use Best Offers to make money
eBay sellers need to use Best Offers because it gives their customers more purchasing options. They may not want to get in a bidding war over an item, but they also may not want to pay a fixed price that – by eBay’s rules – is at least 30% more expensive than the starting auction price.
By allowing Best Offers on your items, you make your item available to shoppers who would otherwise pass it by if it was only being sold in an auction or at fixed price. That increases your chances of actually selling your item, which is far better than having it sit in your house or storage and not make any money for you at all. Travel booking companies have been doing this for years with hotels, flights, car rentals, and more.
4 more reasons why eBay Best Offers increases sales for sellers
eBay’s Best Offer system lets you do far more than just mere haggling, though. Here are 4 powerful tools it has that help you barter like a pro.
1. Set price limits to automatically accept or decline offers.
If you’re worried that it would be too time-consuming to respond to every offer, relax – you don’t have to! In most cases, you can set your listing to automatically accept an offer above a certain price you’d be happy with, and/or automatically reject offers that don’t meet a price you aren’t willing to go below.
2. Make counter-offers, even to multiple buyers at a time.
If a buyer offers you a price that’s a little low, but still in the ballpark of what you’re willing to accept, you can respond with a price that’s a little more reasonable. You can usually do this up to 5 times with the same buyer.
Plus, if you receive multiple offers on the same item, you can make counter-offers on each of them. The buyer who accepts theirs first gets the item, so it’s like you’re having an auction – but the buyers don’t know it!
3. Send custom offers to specific buyers.
Custom offers have a number of handy applications; for instance, you can show a buyer in a foreign country an upfront price for your item that includes costs like shipping or customs duties – without having to change the information on the listing itself.
You can also do things like privately give loyal customers discounts, or add extra items to an offer to entice a buyer to accept it. In short, it’s a way to personalize a buyer’s shopping experience, and that level of customer service will likely have them coming back to buy from you again.
4. Offer a deal on buying multiples of an item.
Another thing you can do with custom offers is give a discount to someone who wants to buy more than one of the same item from you at a time. For example, if you have a fairly large quantity of an item selling for $25 a piece, and a buyer inquires about making a bulk purchase, you can make an offer to sell them 10 for $200.
If you want to understand the angles that buyers play when making Best Offers – or you’re looking to get an edge in making offers yourself – this article has you covered.
How use the Best Offers features as a seller
So now that you have some ideas about why using Best Offers is a smart selling move, you may be wondering: “How do I actually do it?” We’ll give you a quick walkthrough here.
How to add the Best Offer option to your items
There are two ways to add a Best Offer to an item, depending on whether you’re using eBay’s quick listing tool or advanced listing tool (and we’ll assume that you already know you have to be logged into your eBay account to start a listing, along with where you have to go to start one).
If you’re using the quick listing tool:
- Start a listing and choose to sell it at a fixed price.
- Click Change Listing Preferences at the top of the page and select Enable More Options.
- In the “Pricing” section, click More Options and then Allow Offers.
- Type in a price below which you will auto-reject offers (optional).
- Finish your listing.
You can’t add a Best Offers option to an auction-style listing made with the quick listing tool; you’ll need the advanced listing tool for that.
If you’re using the advanced listing tool:
- Start a listing.
- Under “Selling Details,” select Let Buyers Make Offers.
- To auto-accept offers, select Automatically Accept Offers Of At Leastand type in a price.
- To auto-reject offers, select Automatically Decline Offers Lower Thanand enter a price.
- Complete your listing.
PRO TIP: Limits on auction-style Best Offers
Be aware that if you allow Best Offers on an auction-style listing, as soon as someone bids on your item, all current offers on it are canceled and no further offers can be made on it until the auction is over. The only exception is if the initial bidder retracts their bid.
Also keep in mind that Best Offers can’t be used on auction-style listings for items in the “Cell Phones,” “Motors,” “Real Estate,” “Tablets,” or “Tickets” categories.
How to accept, counter, or decline a Best Offer
Once an offer comes in for one of your items, eBay will email you. From there, you have three choices: you can accept the offer, make a counteroffer, or reject the offer.
The process for all three of them is rather similar – after logging into your eBay account, follow these steps:
- Move your mouse cursor over My eBay and select Selling.
- Click Active in the menu on the left side to bring up a list of your active listings. (You can also click Open Offers in the menu at the top of the main screen to see only Best Offers.)
- Click Respond to Offer beside the offer you wish to review.
To accept the offer:
Click the Accept Offer button. Then get ready to ship your item(s)!
To create a counteroffer:
Click the Make a Counteroffer button. Then click the box labeled “Your Counteroffer Price” and type in the price you want to offer. You can also click in the box labeled “Additional Items” and type in any further details about your offer (a polite message would be nice!).
When you’re done, click Review Offer and then Submit Counteroffer.
To reject the offer:
Click the Decline Offer button.
(Image source: Imgur)
PRO TIP: Entertain as many offers as you can
Declining a Best Offer right off the bat rarely makes sense for a seller. Make a counteroffer – no matter how large – that is a realistic amount you are willing to accept. This helps the buyer understand how flexible you’ll be with the price. Only consider outright declining if they continually make the same offer, or increase their offers by less than 25% of the difference in your counteroffer.
How to set up an offer auto-decline
Auto-decline is a function on eBay that will automatically reject Best Offers on your listing if the price is below a certain point. Use it when you are certain of an item’s value and know that there’s a price point below which you aren’t willing to let it go.
You can set up auto-decline using eBay’s quick listing tool by clicking Change Listing Preferences, and then Enable More Options. Then in the “Pricing” section, click More Options, and then Allow Offers. A box will appear that will allow you to set a price at which you’ll auto-reject offers.
If you’re using eBay’s advanced listing tool, scroll to the “Selling Details” section and enable the Let Buyers Make Offers option. When you do, the Automatically Decline Offers Lower Than option will become available. Select it, and then click in the box beside it and enter your price limit.
eBay Expert Tips: Making the most of auto-decline
Here are three quick tips for using auto-decline:
1. Before you use auto-decline, keep in mind that some people intentionally submit low offers just to check that they’re dealing with an honest seller and not a scammer or robot. If they’re auto-rejected by you, they may not think it’s safe or worthwhile to try to send you offers in the future.
2. Be absolutely sure of the price point below which you’ll auto-reject. If someone makes an offer for even one cent less, they’ll be auto-declined and you’ll miss the chance to negotiate with them.
3. Set your auto-decline price to be a few dollars less than your absolute lowest price point. That allows you to still catch offers from serious buyers who start with low bids out of cautiousness, while ignoring those from low-ballers looking to score an unreasonable deal.
Tips for dealing with buyer requests
Buyers may sometimes ask questions or make requests when they submit their offers. eBay’s buying practices policy spells out what is acceptable and what is not in these cases. In short:
|A buyer can…||A buyer cannot…|
|Ask to use an alternate shipping option that you’ve specified in your listing||Ask for alternate shipping or payment options that aren’t specified in a listing|
|Ask if it’s okay to delay paying you briefly due to exceptional circumstances||Ask for extra items (unless they’re part of an offer or counteroffer you made)|
|Ask to return an item, in line with the return policy you’ve set for that item||Threaten you with negative feedback or a seller complaint case if you don’t accept their offer, or promise a refund beyond what your listing specified|
|Ask to combine shipping for purchases (though the shipping costs, if included, for an item on offer apply only to that item)||Ask you to make them an offer outside of eBay, including sending you contact information for communicating with them outside of eBay as part of their offer|
With all of those things in mind, here are some pointers for how to deal with times when buyers add additional information to their offers.
1. Use the communication tools available to you.
Though you’re somewhat limited to emails within eBay’s system and messages included with offers, still do what you can to communicate with buyers. It’s much easier to solve problems and negotiate fair prices if both you and the buyer each know where the other stands.
2. A counteroffer is almost always better than a declined offer.
Even if you think a buyer’s offer is unreasonable, it’s usually a good idea to send them a counteroffer anyway. Explaining in your offer where you’re coming from and what you believe to be a reasonable deal gives you a much better chance of reaching an agreement than outright declining an offer or letting it expire.
3. Be as polite as you can – your reputation is at stake.
We mentioned above that buyers can’t force your hand in a deal by threatening you with negative feedback – that violates eBay’s feedback extortion policy. However, they can still leave you negative ratings if you treat them poorly, and squandering your seller rating like that is one of the worst mistakes you can make on eBay as a seller. Try your best to be accommodating to buyers, and you’ll find that they’re more likely to both rate you positively and be more accepting of your offers and counteroffers.
4. If a buyer won’t budge, remind them that they have other purchasing options.
If a buyer is being stingy with the prices they’re offering, politely remind them that Best Offers is not the only way they can buy your item. Depending on how you’ve set up your listing, they can use the Buy It Now function to skip the haggling and just get the item without worrying about losing out to a better offer. They can also just bid on it at auction.
5. If all else fails, report the buyer and block them.
If a buyer is consistently being unreasonable and/or committing any of the buying practices violations we listed above, you can report them to eBay. This may result in them losing their buying and bidding privileges either temporarily or permanently. You can report a buyer by following the instructions here. You may also want to block the user from sending you offers or bidding on your items.
9 eBay Best Offers tips for sellers
Here are a few more general tricks for eBay sellers on how to get the most out of using the Best Offers option.
1. Know when to make the call that you need to use a Best Offer.
Generally, there are three criteria that your item should meet (at least one of) before you make it available for Best Offers:
- You’re selling it just to get rid of it; any amount of money you make on it is fine
- You need to sell it quickly but aren’t sure it will be in high demand
- You have a good idea of what it’s worth, and so what a fair price would be
2. Do research into the value of your item.
If you had trouble selling your item at a fixed price or at auction because the price was too high, you’re going to have the same problem with Best Offers. Look around for what similar items are selling for – even on other sites like eBay – to get an idea of what a reasonable price might be.
3. Take emotion out of your sale.
Remember that when you list something for sale on the Internet, the person interested in it doesn’t have the attachment to it that you do. They don’t care that this antique has been in your family for 4 generations. They don’t care that it belonged to your grandmother, or how much you paid for it, or that it might be special to you. The moment you list something, you need to approach it with a business mind-set – not an emotional one.
4. Make sure the key words in your listing are spelled correctly.
You’d think this would be pretty basic, but there are tons of listings on eBay that have spelling mistakes the item’s key descriptive words (such as the brand or model name). And it’s a bigger deal than you might realize.
You see, when people search for the correctly-spelled terms, listings with incorrect variations usually won’t show up. And if buyers can’t find your listing, that’s a HUGE problem. As your misspelled listing goes on without a decent amount of attention or offers, and you become desperate to sell, you end up giving away a lot of bargaining power to the few buyers who manage to find it.
Avoid putting yourself at a disadvantage like this by making sure to check the spelling of important words in your listing.
5. Be active in reviewing your offers.
When you first start using Best Offers, we suggest that you not set up auto-accept or auto-reject limits for your initial handful of items. Take the time to review offers that come in so that you get a sense of what people are willing to pay for particular items. That will give you guidelines on prices that you’d be happy with or unwilling to accept.
6. Try to offer full costs up front.
We mentioned this before, but a neat trick you can do with custom offers or counteroffers is adjust the price of an item for a specific buyer to account for costs like shipping and taxes. Customers like it when they can see the full price of the item up front, as opposed to seeing a lower price with extra costs tacked onto it.
7. Answer quickly.
Unlike an auction bid or Buy It Now purchase on eBay, a Best Offer isn’t legally binding until it’s actually accepted. It’s also automatically rejected if no action is taken on it for 48 hours, so stay on top of your offers! The more active you are in negotiations, the less likely your potential buyers will lose interest and let the deal fall through.
8. Check buyer feedback.
When a buyer submits an offer, it’s okay to be a bit skeptical. If you think it’s too good to be true, or way too low to be reasonable, check the user’s feedback score. That can help you determine if they’re serious about negotiating for your item, or just throwing in something with the hopes that you’ll accept it.
9. Check historical sales (which may require third-party services).
The final prices that eBay shoppers pay for Best Offers aren’t always shown in the completed listings. Consider using tools like the ones on WatchCount.com to see if they can help you find this information. This will help give you a better idea of how much interest there is for offers on your item, as well as what people are willing to pay for similar items.
If you’d rather take your chances in an auction on eBay than make offers, here are 15 pointers for how to increase your odds of walking away with the item you want.