retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Reuters reports that Amazon is getting into the "name your own price" business, adding a feature "that allows customers to bid for lower prices on more than 150,000 items, including fine art and rare coins, sold by third-party vendors.

"The new feature represents a renewed attempt by Amazon to move beyond the fixed-price model on its site. In 1999, Amazon launched an online auction site, but the effort failed to compete with eBay Inc. Amazon went on to create a lucrative marketplace for third-party sellers which now accounts for about 40 percent of its quarterly unit sales."

Amazon said that a survey of its shoppers revealed that "the ability to negotiate prices" would be an important driver in getting them to do more business on the site.

The story says that "Amazon plans to expand the 'make-an-offer' option to 'hundreds of thousands' of items in 2015. Items that can be negotiated now include an 1863 document signed by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln sold for $150,000 and a mint-condition baseball signed by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig with a nearly $10,000 price tag."
KC's View:
It is hard for me to imagine that this would be a huge driver for Amazon. On the other hand, it is not hard to imagine that the folks at Amazon known more than I do.