What is an eBay Second Chance Offer & Why are they Important to a Business?

Not such a daft question as you first think and in this article I’ll do my best to exceed what is most commonly known about eBay second chance offers and put them into context for you.

To explain this as clearly as possible lets start this with a quick story.

For the past few week’s I’ve been coaching the mother-in-law to sell a collection of items on eBay that she’s been getting ready to clear out, the first batch of 19 items went through and while only 15 of them sold, several did really, really well.

While being left to pack the items, a message pops up on Skype from mum, “What’s a second chance offer? Do I want one of those?“. So not a daft question if you were wondering what one was.


So what is an eBay Second Chance Offer anyway?

eBay Second Chance Offer

Every time you sell an auction on eBay where you have had two or more bidders on the auction, once the listing ends, you will be able to make a second chance offer to an under-bidder if you want to.

Now the latter part “if you want to” is the important part and the bit that confused granny. In Grannies case, she only had a single item for each listing and thus absolutely no need or desire to offer a second chance offer on the successful listings.

If you’re a private seller on eBay, this is very much likely to be the case for you too, so you can ignore it.

There is a but to that statement, which is… but if you have exactly the same item to sell again and you like the price(s) the under-bidders made you can offer it to them, the same is true if your original winner backs out for some reason and you can offer it to an under-bidder at their highest bid price.

Why are Second Chance Offers Important for Businesses?

In the example above, Granny really did not care about the second chance offers option, however if you are a business seller, there are circumstances where you definitely want to be using second chance offers as part of your business model.

If you have many items for sale, some or all of which are repeatable and you’re using “bid auctions” to sell your item through, then as long as you are happy with lower bid prices when then listing ends, then you can make “second chance offers” to the under-bidders and scoop some easy extra sales.

How Do You Make a Second Chance Offer?

Making a second chance offer is dead easy to do.

Regardless if you have Selling Manager, Selling Manager Pro or just plain old “My eBay”, on the left hand side of “My eBay” click on “sold” and next to listings where you can make a second chance offer to a buyer, it says “Second Chance Offer”, if you’d like to make one, then click on the link.

A screen will appear something similar to the one below:

Making an eBay Second Chance Offer

  • Select the number of available items that are exactly like the one that sold
    Note:  This is capped to 6 items
  • Select the duration you would like the offer to the buyer to last for.
    Tip: Normally I would suggest 1 day for this as it adds a real sense of urgency to the offer
  • The select one or more bidders, noting that their highest bid price is to the right
    Tip: If you lost of the item that sold and the prices are good, tick them all if would like! Also, another tip is to just be sure that you have no already sold the item in another auction to the same buyer (awkward!).
  • Hit continue at the bottom & confirm

The second chance offer or offers that you just made, will now appear in your “My eBay” section.

But unlike a normal auction where lots of people can see the item, only yourself and the potential buyer account you made that offer to can see it. Also the auction is now a “fixed price” listing which means the buyer cannot bid on the item, they only have the option just buy it at the price that was set (if they want to of course).

The person you made the offer to will either accept it or if they do not within the listing time you specified, the listing will end and cannot be repeated.

How Long do Second Chance Offer Last For?

As a seller, you can specify the duration of the second chance offer as either 1 day, 3 days, 5 days or 7 days.

One of the tips above was that if you have lots of an item that you have been listing in auctions and the under-bidder prices are acceptable, I’d personally suggest you work with 1 day listings for the second chance offers as these add urgency to the bidder and can help them convert into a buyer (yay).

It’s also worth noting that buyers can turn off second chance offer notices in their communication preferences on eBay (bummer eh?).

Can You Cancel a Second Chance Offer?

Yes, just like a normal auction/listing you can do so using the end an item early form here on eBay (you’ll need the eBay item number).

Can Second Chance Offers be Automated?

Oh yes! But it does mean you need 3rd party software.

Believe it not while the statistics may be showing that the number of auctions may be decreasing (and the number of fixed price listings increasing heavily), that does not mean that you cannot still leverage auctions on eBay to gain buyers.

As far as automating second chance offers, you of course, need to be using the auction format and have a listing that ends with more than one bidder, whose price you like and of course at a price you’re happy selling at.

You used to be able to do this in eBay’s own “Selling Manager Pro”, but they removed it from the automation preferences quite some time ago, so instead the only option to user a third party tool that allows you to set rules and send second chance offers automatically for you.

They all vary in features and functionality, here is a short list of software products that I know support the automation of second chance offers on eBay:

  • Inkfrog
  • Auctiva
  • ChannelGrabber
  • Linnworks
  • eSellerPro
  • ChannelAdvisor

There are probably far more software tools that offer the ability to make second chance offers, while this may be important to you, this is just one of many options you should consider when looking for & using 3rd party software.

Tip: You may find a video I made in an earlier article called “What is Order Aggregation & How Can it Help Your Business?” useful to give you a deeper understanding on what such software can help you with.

In Conclusion

eBay second chance offers are really straight forwards, if you’ve got more than one item in exactly the same condition, have an under-bidder on an eBay listing with a price you like you can make them an offer second to the main bidder for the listing they were bidding on, you can do when the listing ends.

You can also automate the sending of second chance offers using rules in third party tools, in combination with these, they can be an absolutely lethal strategy to gain extra sales using the eBay auction format, which is certainly far from dead.

Did you like this article, have a question or a comment or what has been your experiences with second chance offers on eBay? Let me know in the comments box below!

11 replies
  1. orsalia
    orsalia says:

    Hey, who can see the second chance offer? I mean if you give that second chance to whatever bidder you want, then the item seems to be listed again and I want to know, is this listing only appeared to that bidder’s page or ANYONE can see the same bidding but the bidder that you chose just gets an extra waring or sth like that?
    So, what does actually happens when you offer the second chance offer?

    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:

      Howdy Daniel,

      I don’t know of any software that tracks the conversion of second chance offers specifically.

      But you were using software to make the SCO’s in the first place, then it would know what the item number was and then if the software was collecting the orders, then it would also know if it was successful too. It would not be hard to cross reference the two together and work out which orders are SCO’s.


  2. tonysellertools
    tonysellertools says:

    Thanks for your detailed explanation. I used second chance offer a few times and sell 2-4 identical items at a time. As a business seller, I would prefer BIN type of selling that can sell many and sell quick without waiting for the end of auctions.

  3. Peter Moran
    Peter Moran says:

    Hey Matt,

    Could you also use this to cross sell one of your similar items or is that against the rules? e.g. someone bought a picture frame – you dont have any exactly the same item but similar? could you contact then saying – hey don’t have exactly that one but what about this? for x price?


    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:

      Hi Pete,

      Sorry, I may not be fully awake yet, I don;t fully get what you’re suggesting?

      I as thinking you were suggesting using auctions to drive traffic to a BIN listing, is that what you meant?


    • Marshall
      Marshall says:

      When you submit a Second Chance Offer, you don’t get any opportunity to change any of the information in the listing description. The buyer is offered the exact same listing details that were present when they were initially bidding and you don’t have any chance to modify that or direct them to other products. If you’re going to use the SCO functionality, eBay wants you to have the exact same item that was originally listed for the buyer.

      The only real way to offer what you’re suggestion would be to use the eBay member messaging and suggest other open listings to a buyer that lost in an auction and hope they find those interesting. eBay already does this to some extent with the information shown to those viewing the item page after the auction has ended, though that includes all listings on the site and not just your items.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Scoop easy extra sales with @eBay second chance offers http://t.co/wO2XNNae via @matthewogborne cc: @linnworks @auctiva @channeladvisor

  2. @day2dayebay says:

    What is an eBay Second Chance Offer & Why are they Important to a Business?: Not such a daft ques… http://t.co/nrMWsyQC @lastdropofink

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