eBay is without doubt the most popular auction site on the Internet, and this is largely thanks to the myriad options that allow both buyers and sellers to personalize their experience. From searching and sorting, to adding photos and placing bids, eBay has always understood both the relationship between buyer and seller as well as between the site and its customers.
One of these features - designed to benefit everyone - is the "Buy It Now" button.
"Buy It Now" for Sellers
eBay's "Buy It Now" button is used to indicate a price that the Seller would be happy to sell the goods for, should the buyer not want to wait for the auction to close. Of course, the Buyer accepts that by not placing a bid, they may pay over the odds for the product, and the Seller accepts that they may sell out for less than they could have done otherwise if they had let the auction run its course.
In essence, rather than setting a reserve (which increases eBay fees), or starting the auction at a high opening price (and risk not selling at all) the "Buy It Now" option communicates essentially the same message.
There's an addendum to the "Buy It Now" button, called "Best Offer", which the Seller uses to encourage Buyers to offer a value that is as close to the "Buy It Now" price that they wish to go. The Seller is then free to sell the item, or wait and see if they get a better direct offer, or until the end of the auction.
So, what does "Buy It Now" look like from the other side of the experience?
"Buy It Now" for Buyers
Besides being a convenient way to buy an item for a price that seems fair, without having to wait for the auction to close, the "Buy It Now" button also gives Buyers an easy way to compare like items on the market.
For example, Buyers can treat eBay like a regular store by using the filtering system to only see items that have the "Buy It Now" (or "Best Offer") options enabled. This does have a drawback - the Buyer might need to perform two searches in order to see auctions that don't have the "Buy In Now" button, so that they can ensure that they are still getting value for money.
Of course, Buyers can approach this the other way round, by setting watches on items without "Buy It Now" enabled, and then jumping on them at an appropriate time, or just using the "Buy It Now" option when the auction value of competing items goes beyond it.
Essentially, for both Buyers and Sellers, "Buy It Now" is a way to eke a little bit more value out of the online retail experience. Understanding these key points should help Sellers to get the most out of it, as well as allowing Buyers to understand why Sellers use the feature, and whether they are truly getting the value that they deserve.