SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Amazon said on Tuesday that it would allow online haggling between buyers and sellers for some items sold by third parties using the US online retail giant.
The "make an offer" system to be implemented initially for some 150,000 items could allow Amazon to compete with retail rival eBay, but would not be an auction format.
Amazon said in a statement it would start using this model for sports and entertainment collectibles and fine art, and would "expand to hundreds of thousands of items from sellers in 2015".
"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," said Peter Faricy , vice president for Amazon Marketplace, the unit which handles third-party sales.
"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." Amazon noted that the new format would not be a true auction with multiple bids as used by eBay.
"All negotiations are 1:1 and private between individual customers and sellers," the Amazon statement said.
"A seller is able to accept a customer's offer at any time. The intention is to lower prices, and a customer negotiating with a seller will never pay more than the listed price."