Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) unveiled "Make an Offer," a new platform that allows customers to negotiate lower prices on thousands of items. Now a shopper can offer to buy an item for less money and, if agreed upon, can purchase it at the lower price.
Initially, consumers will be able to negotiate on more than 150,000 items from sellers on Amazon including sports and entertainment collectibles, collectible coins and fine art. More items will be available from sellers in 2015.
In the spring of 2013, Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores (NASDAQ:SHOS) joined forces with B2C negotiating platform Netotiate to create a similar platform that gives shoppers a tool for negotiating their own bargains. Since the platform was introduced, SHOS has shown double-digit conversion rates, and revenue per visit has increased within categories enabled by Netotiate services.
How does it work? Sellers enable the "Make an Offer" feature, letting customers know they are willing to negotiate on the listed price. Then, a customer can hit the button and submit a new price. The seller gets the offer by email at which point he or she can accept, reject or counter the offer. The entire negotiation happens over email.
"The new 'Make an Offer' experience is a game-changer for Amazon customers looking for great prices on one-of-a-kind items, and for sellers looking to communicate and negotiate directly with customers in an online marketplace environment just like they do normally in their own physical store or gallery," said Peter Faricy, VP for Amazon Marketplace. "In a recent survey of our sellers, nearly half of the respondents told us that the ability to negotiate prices with customers would be important to drive more sales on Amazon. 'Make an Offer' delivers that functionality and makes customers feel confident they are getting an item they want at the lowest price possible."
The new feature is not an auction format, it's simply one-on-one negotiations between a seller and a possible customer. The intention is a lower price, so a customer negotiating will never pay more than the listed price.
The new pricing option was announced just days after Amazon unveiled Elements, a line of ethically-sourced items that can only be purchased by Prime members.
-See this Amazon press release
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