Collectors love to negotiate and eBay’s Submit Best Offer option is bringing a little give-and-take to the process of online buying and selling.
When you have over 7,000 cards on eBay at any one time, that means a lot of opportunities to strike a deal on fixed price listings. The program has been a bit hit for eBay’s biggest consignment seller of sports cards and memorabilia.
“Like many sellers, we are willing to negotiate on price if we can sell a large volume of cards in a single transaction,” said Scott Greenwald of Just Collect Inc. “While we would receive offers through email and eBay messages, they were not at the volume that we would like given our volume of listings.”
To try and get some action going in a still recovering economy, the company decided to see what the Submit Best Offer option might bring.
“We began experimenting with Submit Best Offer about three months ago and have seen dramatic results, often receiving over 100 offers in a day,” Greenwald related. “We respond to each offer within 24 hours, which makes clients happy and encourages them to look at our material often and get back to us with more offers.”
It’s a matter of turning inventory over faster, which Just Collect has found pays off in the long run. One of the most technologically advanced and analytical in the hobby, Greenwald and partner Leighton Sheldon began crunching numbers and found they were taking a little less to sell a lot more.
“For example, the time to sell cards priced at $100 to $200 now takes an average of 27-33% less time. It now takes just 50 days to sell instead of 70,” said Greenwald. “Cards priced at $50 now take 22% less time to sell. Cards priced at $20 now take 17% less time to sell.
Just Collect and its consignors are still making a solid profit. On average, they’re accepting just five percent less to turn material 25% faster. It provides them with more cash for purchasing and cash advances for consignments, allows them to offer new material faster and Greenwald says buyers are happy because they get to own the card faster instead of waiting for the seller to lower the price to a level the buyer is more comfortable with.
They’ve also found that opening their sales up to a dialogue with potential buyers creates a bond. Interaction often makes buyers feel a lot more comfortable with a buyer, especially when buyers know they won’t be insulted by the response.
"If you are interested in a card and need a discount to make it happen, submit your best offer. We will happily consider it and if we have the room, we will accept it.”
Just Collect makes money on a commission basis charged to consignors. With all three parties in the transaction feeling motivated, it creates fertile ground for all to strike a deal.
Even though the vintage sports card market is different than many businesses, in many ways the more successful dealers operate it just as they would any other business and being flexible with customers through options like Best Offer is part of that.
“On a business level, the increased cash flow provides opportunities to invest in additional staff, infrastructure and training,” Greenwald said.
He also offers some advice for those thinking about making offers but unsure about how to make sure they get the best deal.
“The number one rule is to offer what you are comfortable paying. If a card is marked at $75 and you are comfortable paying $60, offer $60. If the offer is accepted, you will buy the card at a fair price. If the offer is declined or countered, you have the ability to consider how you would like to proceed.”
“The more cards being purchased, the more flexible we can be with price. eBay does not provide an easy way to see all of a buyer's offers. As a result, an offer on an individual card may appear a little low and be declined, however, if we knew the same buyer was offering to purchase 50 cards, we may be able to accept that slightly lower offer on all 50. At the end of the day, we are willing to negotiate to move a volume of cards. We love getting offers and responding to them.”