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Make Offer vs. Free Shipping on eBay

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Which do you guys prefer, Make Offer or Free Shipping (in your country only)?

 

Thoughts:

Make Offer mostly doesn't work because sellers don't respond or reject all offers. For me, I set an auto-accept at 10-25% off to make it straightforward. Most of the time it works out to free shipping or a shipping discount. Only occasionally do I use it to gauge buyer's interest. It doesn't work that way for regular stuff. If you have only super desirable items or items of uncertain value, maybe that can help. But if you know the value of what you have, it's just not that useful. I think half of offers I actually get are for 50% off or more, which does me little good.

 

Free Shipping means the seller pays the shipping. That results in a higher buy it now price, with shipping baked into the asking price. For example, if the average price of an item is $20 and shipping is $3, and you are comfortable paying average prices, would you rather see $23 with free shipping OR $20 (+$3 shipping)?

 

I'm leaning towards just doing more free shipping and less Make Offers lately. I only occasionally do both. Mind you my average store price is less than $15, so the margins are slim after shipping.

 

I don't use auctions too much anymore. The stuff I have to sell is too random for me to expect the right buyer to be looking at any given time. When I do auctions, I try to make the start price as low as I can stomach to bother packing up the item, since I probably want to be rid of it right away. That doesn't pertain to this thread though.

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The only thoughts I have on the matter are that people should be charging exact shipping and if a seller automatically reject offers below a specific amount then they should just ask for that amount. Free shipping is nice when the item is very expensive.

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This is something of a false dichotomy.

 

Given your experience and feelings regarding Best Offers, you should probably ditch them altogether or set an automatic rejection threshold as xucaen has already mentioned above.

 

If you can accurately estimate your shipping costs at time of listing, you should consider free shipping as your default option. It eliminates "Shipping and handling charges" as one of the four detailed seller metrics buyers can ding you on and significantly reduces the likelihood of argument over what was spent on shipping, as there's no room for one to argue you, as a seller, overcharged for that line item. Just be very clear and accurate about what "Free" shipping means in terms of delivery time to avoid potential hurt feelings.

 

eBay also boosts placement in search rankings for items with free shipping, unless things have changed recently.

 

You're already paying a percentage to eBay on the amount you would have collected for separate shipping costs (again, unless eBay has reversed itself on that). So, I don't think there's a huge downside to flipping over to free shipping if you know your costs ... unless you're selling extremely low-value items where baked-in baseline shipping would grossly exaggerate the presentation of total cost to buyers who refuse to do the math on competing offers or look to purchase multiple such items at once from a single seller to collect a combined shipping discount (from those who spell out a such).

 

Just my opinion, though.

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This is something of a false dichotomy.

 

Given your experience and feelings regarding Best Offers, you should probably ditch them altogether or set an automatic rejection threshold as xucaen has already mentioned above.

 

If you can accurately estimate your shipping costs at time of listing, you should consider free shipping as your default option. It eliminates "Shipping and handling charges" as one of the four detailed seller metrics buyers can ding you on and significantly reduces the likelihood of argument over what was spent on shipping, as there's no room for one to argue you, as a seller, overcharged for that line item. Just be very clear and accurate about what "Free" shipping means in terms of delivery time to avoid potential hurt feelings.

 

eBay also boosts placement in search rankings for items with free shipping, unless things have changed recently.

 

You're already paying a percentage to eBay on the amount you would have collected for separate shipping costs (again, unless eBay has reversed itself on that). So, I don't think there's a huge downside to flipping over to free shipping if you know your costs ... unless you're selling extremely low-value items where baked-in baseline shipping would grossly exaggerate the presentation of total cost to buyers who refuse to do the math on competing offers or look to purchase multiple such items at once from a single seller to collect a combined shipping discount (from those who spell out a such).

 

Just my opinion, though.

 

 

Very well thought out and reasoned. My stuff is mostly very low value and I know shipping costs in advance always.

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I use both (when I need to sell on ebay that is), but price accordingly. No problem in using make offer and free shipping as long as you set the offer to decline if it is lower than you can go with shipping included. People like options. If they make an offer and it is accepted they feel like they got a deal...when it reality your offer point can be what you were looking for to begin with.

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Here's the thing I hate about charging exact shipping. In general, I agree with it, but for big/heavy items that could cost a lot to ship, I get dinged big time on the ebay/paypal fees. If I have to ship across country vs. across state, I make less money because my fee's go up due to the higher shipping, but I'm not charging any more for the item. Why should I have to pay Ebay more money because I'm shipping to California vs. Indiana?

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I practically only do BIN, it is VERY rare for me to do an auction these days. Plain and simple if the price is too high it will not sell. I am ok w/my stuff not selling as it usually sells anyhow but this way I get what I feel is a fair price.

 

Now as far as free shipping goes. As a seller I always do free shipping whenever I can, unless it is a big package and I have to do calculated. As a seller especially on a video game that will ship first class, it is stupid of you to allow the buyer if they are a shit head the ability to lower your stars on a $3 shipping charge.

 

Do not EVER send the buyer a message unless they send you one or you really need to message them. Stuff like Thank you for your purchase, don't message that. Do not allow a buyer the ability to screw you over more than they can. Yes I have a very low expectation of ebay buyers.

 

No communication means 5 stars they can not change.

Free shipping means 5 stars they can not change.

 

Ship within your handling time and have it delivered in specified time as well will at times force a 5 star rating for that category as well. Therefore they ONLY star rating you can get dinged on is item as described.

 

As a buyer I would much rather see an item w/free shipping. I recently purchased an item where the auction was BIN like $15 but they had shipping jacked to $58. It pissed me off just because. Now if the person had it the other way around BIN for $58 and shipping $15. I would have been 100% ok w/that. I bought regardless as I felt it was worth the total price but I did ding his shipping charges because I do not like his selling tactics.

 

It is all principle on the fact they try and make you think you are getting a great deal and when you buy you see boom $15 turned into $73, but you should see what shipping is before you buy but some people just click buy real quick.

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I practically only do BIN, it is VERY rare for me to do an auction these days. Plain and simple if the price is too high it will not sell. I am ok w/my stuff not selling as it usually sells anyhow but this way I get what I feel is a fair price.

 

 

 

Thanks, interesting advice. I have been selling a while, but it's always nice to hear what other sellers are doing.

 

I don't have a lot of video games to sell. I live in Austin and the pickins are non-existent for loose cartridges. I love selling carts, but it's just not in the cards for me anymore. I mostly sell software, and mostly crappy stuff. It's an easy choice to eat shipping when it's First Class or Media, but I agree, for larger items, you just have to deal with calculated shipping.

 

But yeah for the crappy stuff I sell (like C64 apps or PC games or Apple II edu) the market is limited and the prices are often under $20, so I have to be careful about free shipping plus make an offer. A $10 item that costs $4 to ship just doesn't have enough room for lower offers. If I was selling stuff that was on eBay a lot and prices were more clear, then it would be a clear choice not to bother with Best Offer. I pretty much guess at what a motivated buyer might pay for my obscurities. Sometimes the last known sale was for $1 or $50. It's pretty erratic. When I have good stuff with clear demand, it's a lot easier to skip the Offer. But I still feel like it's either Free Shipping or Best Offer for me, rather than both.

 

Managing prices with Best Offer is never easy. If you lower the price, you have to go through a click heavy process of changing the values. It's very typical eBay in the way that it's painful if you have 100 items. I don't change my price for that very reason. It's too much trouble to change the price and the offers. It would take me 2 hours of drudgery to do so. It's cheaper and easier just to relist stuff that probably won't sell for a lower price anyway. It's not uncommon for me to sell something that has been in my store for 2 years.

 

Again, thanks for your thoughts. Very interesting.

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As far as best offer goes. I rarely do them but I have in the past on semi rarer type stuff listed it at an absurd high price. This is how it works LOL.

 

Say you have an item you feel is worth $50 and you would be happy getting $50. The problem is if you put it at $50 people just "have" to feel like they get a deal and they will offer you less. So take that item and list it for a bin of $200 and automatically accept anything $50 or over and auto decline anything $49.99 or under.

 

That way if someone offers $100 or more they don't have time to change their mind lol. I also make all my BINS immediate payment required. I do not sell unless you pay immediately. If someone offers $50 they are happy and you are happy.

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As far as best offer goes. I rarely do them but I have in the past on semi rarer type stuff listed it at an absurd high price. This is how it works LOL.

 

Say you have an item you feel is worth $50 and you would be happy getting $50. The problem is if you put it at $50 people just "have" to feel like they get a deal and they will offer you less. So take that item and list it for a bin of $200 and automatically accept anything $50 or over and auto decline anything $49.99 or under.

 

That way if someone offers $100 or more they don't have time to change their mind lol. I also make all my BINS immediate payment required. I do not sell unless you pay immediately. If someone offers $50 they are happy and you are happy.

Do you really set BINs of $200 when you are sometimes willing to accept $50? I submit offers from time to time but I bypass items that are absurdly priced. I just assume the seller is clueless or unreasonable.

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Do you really set BINs of $200 when you are sometimes willing to accept $50? I submit offers from time to time but I bypass items that are absurdly priced. I just assume the seller is clueless or unreasonable.

 

 

Ditto on the above.

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Do you really set BINs of $200 when you are sometimes willing to accept $50? I submit offers from time to time but I bypass items that are absurdly priced. I just assume the seller is clueless or unreasonable.

 

I have in the past. I recently (a few months ago) posted an item I wanted $250 for at $500, just to see if I could get more. After it didn't sell I lowered to $250 and it sold. I have however in the past listed items that way and got higher offers than I wanted. The offer is immediately accepted and paid for at same time.

 

I generally only do this on items that are not very common. I use to do this method with sealed nes as that stuff is all over the place.

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I'm opposed to those sort of tactics personally. I am really just offering a slight discount with Make Offer to motivate the deal seeker. You should do whatever works for you, but when I see something grossly overpriced as a buyer, I just look the other way. I assume there's no way they would take 50% off let alone 75% off. So in a way, you risk losing buyers like me. On the other hand, some people don't have that approach and will offer $1 on a $50 item. I just assume that would be insulting. And most sellers don't even take 10% off, so I'm in the habit of not making offers on overpriced items.

 

Still, you should do what works for you. I'm not out to flame you or whatever. At least you know what you're doing. Many sellers are idiots.

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The stuff I do it on you are not going to do a quick search and get a value. It's not like I do it on stuff that is available every day. Unless you follow some items you will not know the true value. I actually could have done this tactic on a poster I sold recently. I decided to just do a bin of $75 but it is a very uncommon poster and I have not followed it much but like 5 years ago I seen it sell for $100, better condition than mine.

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The stuff I do it on you are not going to do a quick search and get a value. It's not like I do it on stuff that is available every day. Unless you follow some items you will not know the true value. I actually could have done this tactic on a poster I sold recently. I decided to just do a bin of $75 but it is a very uncommon poster and I have not followed it much but like 5 years ago I seen it sell for $100, better condition than mine.

 

 

Makes sense. Every now and again it could pay off. I am mostly searching for really uncommon stuff, which can cost a lot. The problem is that sellers with that stuff are often proud, as in they don't take low offers, and they are happy to leave their item on eBay for months or years. I would say it would be uncommon for me to encounter someone like you, who would take a lot less than their BIN.

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