Amazon has continued its ongoing work to expand its reach, services, and its general importance in the online marketplace. Clearly aimed at usage in collectibles, Amazon's new Make an Offer service is also likely a shot across the bow at Ebay and auction sites.
That's not to say it is an auction method, which it clearly isn't, but much like how an auction method allows variable prices to come about the Make an Offer service brings that to Amazon. By allowing people to negotiate one on one with the seller online it is able to reach prices that are agreeable to both party's, which is especially important in a field where there aren't set prices.
The program is opening with 150k items currently, of which they are all types of collectibles. The items base price on Amazon is $100 and are things like collectible coins, but at the top end you have things like a Babe Ruth & Lou Gehrig signed game used baseball, or various fine arts. The feature will be available to sellers, and likely expand on amazon's on side as sellers will have the ability to enable it when listing the item for 'Make an Offer' and it will show it there to potential buyers.
While for now it is on just collectibles, it is possible that it may come to other products as well. When talking on the matter Amazon's VP for marketing, Peter Faricy, thought that it was an important feature - in fact you can read what he said right here: “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 or gallery. 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.”
What do you think of this new service by Amazon? Do you think that this will be used much outside of collectibles? Will this effect auction sites on their ability to sell higher end goods in any appreciable way?