Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) apparently wants to be an online flea market in addition to its already hugely successful fixed price business model. The online retailer said in a press release this morning that customers can now negotiate even lower prices from sellers on its website using the “Make an Offer” feature.
Details on Amazon’s “Make an Offer” option
Customers who want to haggle with sellers on Amazon simply place an offer to purchase items at the price they are willing to pay. If the seller agrees, the customer is able to purchase the items for that price.
Amazon said in the beginning, over 150,000 items from various sellers on its website will have the “Make an Offer” option available on them. The items will fall into the categories of Sports and Entertainment Collectibles, Collectible Coins and Fine Art. Next year, the online retailer will expand the feature to hundreds of thousands of items.
Customers who are particularly interested in the “Make an Offer” items can browse them easily on Amazon’s website.
How “Make an Offer Works”
Amazon said sellers who decide to allow their customers to haggle with them simply enable the “Make an Offer” option for each item they sell. When the option is available on the detail page of a particular item, customers can then enter the price they are willing to pay to see if the seller will accept it.
The offer then goes to the seller via email, and the seller can accept it, reject it, or make a counteroffer. The customer and seller can keep negotiating through email until they come to a price that is acceptable to both of them.
When a seller agrees to accept an offer from a customer, the customer receives a notification and is then able to put the item into their Amazon shopping cart at the agreed-upon price.
Amazon not entering the auction business
Amazon emphasized that the “Make an Offer” is not an auction format because all negotiations are conducted one on one and are private between sellers and customers. The online retailer said the point is to lower prices even further and customers won’t ever pay more than the seller’s listed price. Amazon management said they unveiled the new feature in response to feedback from their sellers.
“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,” said Amazon Marketplace Vice President Peter Faricy in a statement. “‘Make an Offer’ delivers that functionality and makes customers feel confident they are getting an item they want at the lowest price possible.”
Shares of Amazon slipped more than 1% in premarket trading this morning.