Amazon has launched a new bidding option that lets buyers hit a button marked “Make an offer” on selected product pages, instead of just adding them to their cart.
Customers will be able to put in a bid for over 150,000 items on the site, including fine art, rare coins and other collectibles that have been sold by sold by third-party sellers.
Amazon made it clear that the Make an Offer button only applies to one-of-a-kind items and not to mass-produced products such as electrical and household goods.
Customers can click on the Make an Offer button and enter a lower amount that they wish to pay for that item.
An email will then be sent to the seller containing the buyer’s proposed price. The seller can then accept, reject or counter the offer. When the haggling is complete and the two parties have agreed on a price, the buyer can place the item into his or her shopping cart for purchase.
The Seattle-based firm hopes the new feature will make its online store feel more like a physical shop where shoppers will feel comfortable pushing for a better deal, while also driving sales for the businesses it hosts.
“The new Make an Offer experience is a game-changer for Amazon customers looking for great prices on one-of-a-kind items, and for sellers looking to communicate and negotiate directly with customers in an online marketplace environment just like they do normally in their own physical store,” said Peter Faricy, vice-president for Amazon Marketplace.
“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. Make an Offer delivers that functionality and makes customers feel confident they are getting an item they want at the lowest price possible.”
This is not the first time Amazon has attempted to introduce bidding on the site.
In 1999 it tried to launch an online auction site that would compete with eBay, but it failed to prove a successful challenger to the more established auction place.