December 27th, 2012

Memo to eBay – I Have an Idea


Rather than build this up into a story, I’ll just get right to the point. There’s a feature I’ve been wanting for ages. Here’s the typical issue. There is an item for sale. I add it to my watch list. The auction continues, ends, and I didn’t bid for any number of reasons. Then the ENDED auction sits in my watch list where I can’t buy it, taunting me. Sometimes the seller relists the item, but often they don’t.

What I could do is to contact the seller and ask them to relist the item. But then I have to wait another week and it goes back into full auction status, unless it’s a Buy It Now.

So the feature I want is the ability to make a “Buy it Now” on an item that didn’t sell at auction. I’m assuming eBay has avoided doing this because they think it might undermine the regular auction if people have the option to just not pay attention, then bid when they feel like it at any future date.

But I suspect many things are listed, and if there’s no interest, people may never relist the item. They may be busy and never get around to it. They might think it’s priced too high to sell, and they’re not willing to sell it for less.

In actually, there might be a buyer sitting there who doesn’t want to contact a seller through a closed auction and ask them to relist it because, they didn’t bid during the regular auction.

There are many reasons I’ve failed to buy an item during auction, then regretted it after the auction ended. Mostly I get busy and forget. It’s easy with “Buy it Now,” you just buy it now and the seller ships it to you. But with an auction, it requires you to invest time and energy into following a process that may span 3-10 days. Then end when you’re at work or asleep. Of course I could place a bid now and just wait it out. Easier said than done.

I never considered eBay a REAL auction because it’s not like a real auction. In a real auction, it keeps going until someone stops bidding. eBay keeps going until the clock stops. And whoever bid LAST is the winner. eBay wants you to plug in your high bid before the auction ends, then wait to see after the fact whether or not you won. We all know much of the auction activity happens in the last minute or two. But this is neither here, nor there. What I’m talking about are auctions that end without bids.

Often I debate an item, compare it to other items, try something out that doesn’t work, then come back to the item that is now no longer for sale.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a button to “Request the seller relist”? The unsold auction could be converted to a Buy It Now item with the click of a button, and sold to me. The seller could determine during the listing of their auctions if they want this feature, and what the Buy It Now price would be after the auction ends. This means nobody has to think about anything. The auction ends, and most of the time the starting price would be the Buy It Now price. A seller could also opt to NOT have this feature. So if it doesn’t sell in regular auction, they can opt out. Once I click this button, I move directly into Paypal and pay for it.

This is a great way to make it easy for someone like me, and millions of other buyers, who missed an auction, thought about something too long, needed more time, or whatever. And the sellers get an unexpected sale. eBay processes more transactions. If this could bump up transactions by say 3% at eBay, this would be a huge increase in profit.

All this is doing is to give buyers and sellers one more avenue to make transactions, which makes eBay more money.

And while you’re at it eBay, I would love to be able to find the Feedback section without going on a wild goose chase each time. I’ve been on eBay since the 1990s and I always have to stop and search. How about a big, visible button at the top that just says FEEDBACK?


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