It’s hard to call Amazon a trendsetter in this field, since eBay has done something similar for over a decade. Still, because of Amazon’s influence over ecommerce trends, we may be able to consider it groundbreaking. What’s this “new” thing they’re doing?
Sure, eBay is and auction site, where buyers try to outbid each other for anything from socks to one-of-a-kind art pieces. Amazon’s “make an offer” option is, for now, available only for rare pieces like collectibles and fine art. The basic idea behind the two is the same, though. By allowing buyers to make their offers, whether in an auction setting or a haggling scenario, these two ecommerce giants give buyers even more power.
How It Works
As you’ll see in the screenshot below, Amazon provides the option for buyers to either purchase the item at a set price or to make an offer. The offer is delivered directly to the seller, who can either accept that offer or make a counteroffer. The deal is done when the seller either accepts or both parties walk away.
Just like haggling in real life, right?
Why This Is Big News
If eBay has done something along the same lines for years, why is Amazon’s new negotiation option such a big deal? In truth, Amazon is a leader in the ecommerce world. The company has made buying online easier and less expensive than ever. When they break new ground, the rest of the ecommerce world follows.
Sure, other websites out there probably haggled with buyers if those buyers were savvy enough to seek out the contact information. As far as a structured, easy way for potential customers to make lower offers, Amazon is leading the pack. They may have already patented either the idea itself or the technology used, but that won’t matter.
As we’ve seen, using patented technology for ecommerce isn’t new. Amazon may have the 1-Click buying option, the whole “photos on a white background” technique, and even online gift cards locked down, but that hasn’t stopped others from developing their own versions.
The more technology-savvy ecommerce companies out there could very well develop their own version of Amazon’s haggling option. And before they go through that trouble, they have the ultimate example to learn from. If it works for Amazon, we’re sure to see it crop up everywhere.
Where It Works
If you’re thinking that haggling just won’t work for a lot of ecommerce outlets, you’re right. The structure isn’t ideal for everyone, but it is the perfect solution for many. Antique dealers who haven’t considered an online outlet for their goods may find this particular buying option perfect. Fine art sellers could experience a higher number of sales if online shoppers felt they could make an offer. Vintage apparel stores could see a huge surge in sales if buyers had the option of haggling over that Chanel purse.
Someone looking for a pack of socks, though? This model isn’t going to work. For that, you could still go to eBay.
What do you think about haggling? Is this the future of ecommerce, or will Amazon only be able to use the model for a small selection of items? We'd love your thoughts, so leave a comment!
Originally published Jan 30, 2015 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017