Amazon wants you to make an offer sellers won’t want to refuse.
For the first time, the largest U.S. online retailer is letting some third-party sellers offer an option where interested buyers can make an offer on an item lower than the listed price. The seller can then accept, counter or reject the offer. The new service comes in the midst of the year-end shopping season, which can account for 20 percent of a retailer’s annual revenue.
About 150,000 of the millions of items for sale on Amazon are eligible for the service, but that will expand to more third-party sellers in 2015. It is not available for the items that Amazon sells directly.
The eligible products are mainly collectibles, including sports and entertainment collectibles like signed jerseys, posters and helmets, fine art paintings and historical documents.
The service helps “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, Vice President for Amazon Marketplace.
Amazon’s competitor eBay, which has long offered auctions for its third-party sellers, has been moving more toward fixed prices. About 80 percent of its sales now come from new, fixed-price merchandise, although it still offers auctions.