Hello, as a music seller on Ebay, I get a lot of offers at rather ridiculous prices, which wastes my time and the prospective buyer's time. I know it's not on purpose, and I am sure people want to get what they offer on, but methinks a methodology that gives both buyer and seller a sporting chance might help.
With the plethora of music sellers on the internet and in the still remaining brick and mortar stores out there (which I prefer as real people make real deals), added to the push by sites such as this one's and their competitors to list, list, list and to constantly lower one's selling price, especially down to the ubiquitous penny sellers who all must have read the same terrible book on making a million selling on Ebay, so that it seems you can get anything you want virtually for free.
But the reality is, the 1 cent sellers usually have a lot of the same things as the other 1 cent sellers. However, if you taste runs anywhere just past average, the choices of sellers giving away product for the enrichment of the selling site, declines, and the price goes up accordingly. I don't sell anything at a penny. I, and many other sellers, feel that if that is all something is worth, why do I need it in stock/inventory or on auction? So, while there are a good amount of penny sellers, selling penny goods, the majority of items are going to go for what they are genuinely worth. At least us sellers hope so.
But there is much room for bargaining on CDS (that rare rap remix), Albums or LPS (from Beatles to Klaus Schulze) extremely rare Counting Crow/Mod-L Society 45s and about anything you want can be found on Ebay from music to electronics, toys and rubber baby buggy bumpers. There are some strategies that might help you get some of them at a nice discount. Ebay offers a Make an Offer choice and many sellers do. But, if you really want to get realistic and have your offer accepted by those sellers, and the many, like me, who do not opt into the Make an Offer buttons, but will bargain nonetheless. I do it every day.
No. 1: Don't ask a seller to take next to nothing for something, that CD player you want, just because you want it. After all, he or she paid something to get it, expended much work to photograph it, perhaps clean it, list it and then keep in inventory. So, stop and figure out what sellers might have paid (be realistic), a third, half to maybe even more on really rare items, and then try to leave a few cents in their pockets. Don't offer 10 cents on an $8.99 album, or $50 on a $300 mint or new Stereo/CD system. Ain't gonna happen. Try $5.00 or $5.99 on that $8.99 Classical album, or $225 on the $300 system. You let them make some profit and you probably have a sale. If you think it isn't worth those kind of prices, don't waste your and seller's time.
No. 2: Offering a silly price on one item will get you blown away 99% of the time. Realize, that you are not a valued customer yet (and may never be at goofy offers), and the seller has no real reason to deal with you. But, add a few items to your package and offer, and the seller can amortize it all at one and maybe have some room to bargain with you, and consequently get you what you want at a good discount. You know like $20.00 for 3 of the $8.99 LPS or CDS. That's a good price for everyone (and I, and many other sellers will often ship it all at one price, saving you a bit more). You are now a valued customer. Leading us to..
No. 3: In this day of email names as opposed to real ones, it is difficult to remember even steady customers, so make sure your seller knows what a good, returning customer you are. Let him or her know you like buying from them because of the good deals and items they have, and you are likely to get a good customer deal. Of course, if you aren't one yet, see above for ways to become one.
No. 4: Do your homework. After you make sure (or correctly surmise) there is profit for the seller at a lower price, outwait him or her. You won't beat down a $500 Elvis album to $50 in one day, but after seeing it sitting in inventory, try starting at half price and then bargaining til you both come out okay. Time is money to Sellers and while they may never see that Elvis record again (nor might you), half of $250 could buy a lot of fast selling Records or CDS for inventory.
No. 5: Get your discount in the shipping fees. I offer one price for 1-100 items in the USA on the same day...to my foreign friends, I have a special price that saves them beaucoup bucks, because they buy more and they save more. Many sellers have special shipping discounts and that could make a difference to you whether you want to get that Steve Hillage record or not?
I hope this helps, I like dealing, especially with people who sign their emails with a real name. It's almost human. So remember, buy more than one (quantity discount), do your homework (maybe wait out that seller), save on shipping, and think in terms of what the seller needs, too. What would you sell it for? Thanks and come on by and make me an offer I can't refuse.
Rather Russ at the Dedicated Fool Store.