TechCrunch reported today on Amazon's new "Make An Offer" option, which seems like a neat way for consumers to get a bit of “wiggle room” on prices, while making it easier for vendors to make a sale.
The new eBay-inspired feature is clever, as it plays into people's love of a good deal. Consumers are getting used to searching out online coupons or promos before making a purchase. This gives them the possibility to skip that step and still get the satisfaction of nabbing a deal.
Amazon's new 'Make an Offer' feature plays into people's love of a good deal, but the waiting game could get tiresome.
In addition, the feature could increase loyalty for vendors. If your customers can offer you an amount that matches a competitor's deal or coupon, it could strengthen your existing relationship -- not to mention reduce lost sales.
On the other hand, a drawback to the feature is the delay involved. Having to wait for a vendor to accept or decline my offer isn’t an attractive option in all cases. Some will prefer to seek out a coupon on another site, know their discount upfront, and make the purchase all within a matter of minutes rather than haggle back and forth.
According to GeekWire, the Make an Offer function would work like this:
When selecting ‘Make an Offer’ on an item’s product detail page, a customer can enter and submit a new price of their choosing. The seller will receive the customer’s lower price offer through email, at which point the seller can accept, reject or counter the offer. The seller and customer can continue to negotiate through email until the negotiation is complete. When a seller accepts a customer’s offer, the customer is notified and can place the item into their shopping cart at the agreed upon new price for checkout and purchase.
One of my colleagues suggested Amazon introduce "threshold automation" for vendors, so they can set an undisclosed minimum selling price, so they wouldn't have to manually accept/reject/counter the offer -- especially if they're selling hundreds of items at once. I would agree with that, and as I mentioned, the buyers typically won't want to wait either.
Make an Offer makes Amazon more competitive with eBay and allows vendors to build better relationships with end-buyers.
I’d also like to see them add some sort of social sharing feature that would allow consumers to share their successful bids with their networks. While this opens vendors up to other customers requesting the same discounts, it's still free exposure that would potentially drive further sales.
In a greater sense, the new Make an Offer feature adds to Amazon’s strategy of wanting to allow consumers to shop how they want to shop, all within Amazon’s borders.
It makes Amazon more competitive with the likes of eBay and even Walmart’s growing e-commerce advances as a low-cost, discount juggernaut. It also answers the calls Amazon has been getting from third-party vendors to enable them to connect with the end-buyers and build relationships. This accomplishes that while keeping vendors from going outside of Amazon to do so.