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Buying and Selling To Order with Want It Now

For rare, specific, and unusual needs


For some classes of goods or particular sets of circumstances, the auction model of commerce is just too inexact and time consuming. For example, as a buyer, there are times when you don't want to have to wait (sometimes days or weeks) for a seller to post the precise item you're looking for only have to troll through search results to find it, after which you'll wait in order to win the auction. As a seller on the other hand, there are times when you'd rather not list an item before you're reasonably certain that it's likely to sell.

Enter Want It Now, the eBay service that inverts the traditional eBay business model by allowing potential buyers to post listings for items that they want to buy, to which sellers can respond with existing or new auction listings. Sound complicated? It's not.

How Want It Now Works

The transaction model for Want It Now is quite simple. Any eBay member is eligible to post a Want It Now listing, which costs nothing, and any eBay member eligible to sell is is eligible to reply to a Want It Now listing. The process as a whole follows these steps:

  1. Buyer posts listing. A prospective buyer makes a Want It Now listing for an item that he or she wants to buy. The listing can be as detailed as he or she wishes and can delineate in exact terms just what he or she is looking for from an eBay seller.

  2. Sellers find listing. The Want It Now listing is seen by eBay members searching the Want It Now service, including many eBay sellers.

  3. Sellers respond to listing. One or more eBay members in possession of and willing to sell such an item respond to the Want It Now posting. They supply either the item number of an existing auction listing for a matching item, or by following built-in steps to list the item for sale to the buyer in question.

  4. Buyer makes purchase. A sale is made, buyer and seller are both (ideally) happy and all is well.

Creating A Want It Now Posting

As a prospective buyer that would like to purchase a specific item, you can make a Want It Now posting from the Want It Now home page by following these steps:

  1. Click on the large "Post To Want It Now" button near the upper-left corner of the page to begin your Want It Now listing.

  2. Fill out the Want It Now form to the best of your ability and/or the greatest possible level of detail or specificity.

    • Enter a specific name for the item you're hoping to purchase in the "I am searching for" box. If possible, include brand names, sizes, desired condition (new, used, etc.), and any other relevant details that might help someone to quickly decide whether or not they are in possession of precisely the item you're looking for.

    • Select the category to which your item most clearly belongs from the "Category" drop-down list.

    • Enter a description of the item you'd like to purchase in the description box, again being as detailed as you can be without unnecessarily limiting your selection. Include any terms that are essential to you. Do include such details as the color(s) and size(s) you must have, the amount you are willing to pay, the date by which the item must be delivered, etc. Do not include personal details or contact information, requests for trades, or offers to sell any item, as all of these violate eBay rules for Want It Now.

    • If you have a photo of a similar item, feel free to use the "Browse" button to attach a photo now. Note that photos can often be helpful to sellers as they try to identify what you're looking for.

  3. When you're done entering the details for your posting, click on the "Post to Want It Now" button near the bottom of the page to post your listing. It will appear online immediately.

Once you've created and listed a Want It Now post, it will remain active for sixty days or until you cancel it, whichever occurs first.

Checking and Deleting Want It Now Posts

Once you've made a Want It Now post, sellers will be able to search for, visit, and respond to your post. You can check the status of your post and its responses by following these steps:

  1. Visit your My eBay by clicking on the "My eBay" link near the top of any page on the eBay website.

  2. Click on the bold Want It Now link on the left margin of your My eBay page to view the list of your current Want It Now listings.

  3. Click on any of your Want It Now listings in My eBay to visit that listing and view responses to it. If any of the responses catches your fancy, click on the response to view the listing in question and buy the item, just as you would through any normal eBay auction listing.
When you're ready to delete a Want It Now post, simply visit the post by following the steps above, then click on the "Delete This Post" link near the top of the listing.
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