8 Ways to Increase eBay Sales Using Best Offer

eBay Best Offer
Best Offer is an easy free way to increase sales. GettyImages.com

eBay has a feature called Best Offer that can increase sales without any additional cost or time investment. Sellers can add Best Offer to listings alerting buyers that they will accept offers below the asking price. Best Offer is an effective way to start a conversation with buyers and allow them to make the first move to negotiate a sale. Many sellers are including Best Offer on all Fixed Price listings to allow buyers to start a conversation that may result in a sale.

Some sellers don’t like Best Offer because they feel insulted by low offers. Let’s face it, people are out to get a deal and will make low offers if allowed to do so. Sellers should take the emotion out of offers – this is business. Buyers don’t know or care that the item for sale was your grandmother’s and is special to you, nor do they care what you paid for it or what profit you might want to make. It’s business. It is a thing for sale on the internet. Sometimes a Best Offer is more like a worst offer. Don’t be offended. Accept, counter, or decline and move on.

When sellers receive a Best Offer they have three options. Accept the offer, decline, or counter. The buyer has three chances to make an offer on an item. Buyers have 48 hours to accept or decline a seller’s counteroffer, and sellers have 48 hours to accept or decline the buyer’s offer or counteroffers.  If the seller doesn’t accept any of the buyer’s offers, or the buyer doesn’t agree to any of the seller’s counter offers, the buyer must wait 30 days to try again.

Keep in mind that in many cultures, bargaining or haggling is common. According to the BBC:

“Part art and part science, haggling is more than a means to save money. In many countries, it is a strong cultural tradition that even children learn from a young age. Participating in that tradition can make buyers feel accepted - like they are in on the secret.”  -BBC.com

Remember that negotiating is a way for both sides to get what they want. Best Offer is a way to start a conversation about price that can lead to a sale, the buyer getting what they want, and the seller gets a sale. Keep the lines of communication open and keep an open mind when receiving offers. Here are a few ways to delicately handle Best Offers to increase the likelihood of a sale.

Auto-Decline

This is a feature that allows sellers to decline offers below a specified number. While it sounds convenient, sellers can miss a sale if the offer is $1 below the auto-decline cut off point. For example, if a seller sets auto-decline at $25, and a buyer offers $24, the offer will be automatically rejected and the seller won't even see the offer. So let’s think this through. If a seller has had this item for six months with no offers, and paid $2 for the item, $24 would be reasonable and a welcome offer. Auto-decline can lead to missed opportunities. Sellers with thousands of items in inventory may like to use auto-decline if they are getting a large number of offers a day.

Manually responding to a large number of offers every day is not smart time management. Smaller sellers should take the time to personally review and respond to every offer to avoid missing legitimate offers. Read all the details about auto-decline and auto-accept on eBay's Help Page

Counteroffering

Always counteroffer if the buyer’s offer is too low. Some buyers are testing to see if a seller has auto-decline set. They may offer $1 to see how quickly the offer is declined. If the offer is immediately declined, they may not continue to make other offers because they know they are not dealing with a human. Smaller sellers should embrace the ability to make counteroffers and use this feature to their advantage. Many buyers do not want to deal with automated responses – they want to negotiate with a real person. Automation is great, too much automation can result in lost sales.

Shipping Terms Not Included

Best Offer is for the price of the item only. Make sure to carefully read the offer to make sure the buyer has not included something about shipping terms. Sometimes a buyer will add terms like free shipping, a specific dollar amount, or a request to combine shipping with another item. If the buyer has included shipping terms, simply respond with a counter offer and a message that says:

“Thank you for your offer. Per eBay policy, Best Offers are only for the price of the item, not shipping terms. Please refer to eBay Help for more information on submitting Best Offers.”

Weird Prices 

You will see some odd prices on Best Offers. This is for a variety of reasons. Buyers may be trying to stick to a particular dollar amount and are making their offer based on the shipping cost. For example, if you get and offer of $20.86 and shipping is $4.14, obviously the buyer is trying to keep the purchase at $25. When you receive an offer in an odd amount, add it to the shipping cost and the mystery is usually solved. 

Immediate Payment

Unfortunately, Immediate Payment doesn’t work on sales made through best offer. Just like with auctions, it is impossible for the buyer to pay immediately because the total amount due for the purchase is not known until after the seller accepts the offer. Once an offer is accepted, send the buyer an invoice as soon as possible. Make sure to check the shipping cost section to verify the information is correct. 

When the Buyer Doesn’t Pay

Also similar to auctions, you will encounter buyers who don’t pay. This is the nature of eBay. Enable the Unpaid Item Assistant to handle unpaid cases in the number of days you specify. By automating unpaid cases, you can focus on moving forward with your business and not be bogged down with chasing buyers who owe you money. Accept that some buyers won’t pay. This is business, it is not personal.

Don’t be Insulted by Low Offers

Take the emotion out of the transaction. Some buyers will try to get something for nothing. Other buyers will make offers a few dollars below the asking price. The buyer doesn’t know you or anything about you, and you don’t know the buyer. If an offer doesn’t work for you, counter or decline. Don’t waste time justifying your price or feeling offended by a low offer. There are millions of buyers out there, another one will come along.

Determining the Price of an Item that Sold on Best Offer

Researching items sold on Best Offer is a little tricky. eBay does not display the price of an item sold on Best Offer. On the listing, the price is displayed with a black horizontal line through it. On both buyer and seller feedback, the asking price is also displayed with a strikethrough line. But there is a work around. The website, WatchCount, has this valuable information. Just visit WatchCount.com, enter the item number from eBay in the keywords box, and click enter. WacthCount provides the selling price of the item and other details including the end time and view count. The actual selling price is helpful for sellers researching historical pricing the same type of item to sell. The actual selling price is helpful for buyers who want to make offers and determine what sellers may accept. 

eBay’s Best Offer is a free and easy way to engage with customers, sell more items, and increase profit without buying more inventory, hiring employees, or investing more time in the business. Get the details about Best Offer on eBay.com.

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