Dynamic change has come to the auction industry. Reality shows, technology and social media have all impacted the auction marketplace. Among the trends, online only auctions have emerged as a new force in how merchandise is sold at auction.
With the growth of e-commerce, consumers are increasingly willing to buy items sight unseen. The motivating factors for this sea change in purchasing habits are variety, price and convenience. Online commerce offers more product options, greater price competition and a “what you want, when you want it without leaving home” flexibility. Within the auction industry, online only auctions have increased the opportunity to utilize auction marketing services. Auction opportunities that were once deemed financially untenable can now be viewed in a new light
Let’s consider some practical examples. You have a modest estate with some antiques and collectibles, household goods, decorative items, appliances, garden stuff, a riding mower and a used sedan w/ 56,000 original miles. Using the live auction model, the best you can hope for is a small event with minimal marketing support. By the time you pay a fair rate to conduct the auction, you don’t have much left. More bad news, the auction company doesn’t make much either. So what’s happening to small live estate auction market? It’s disappearing. The only purpose served is the solving of the “stuff challenge” and in that case, the means don’t justify the end.
A small pizza shop is going out of business. Included in the inventory are commercial kitchen equipment, culinary items, business equipment, supplies, decorations, tables, booths, chairs and signage. Once again, we have desirable merchandise but the economy of scale is not present to justify a live auction event and the attendant marketing.
Or maybe Dad has been reliving his youth for three decades by collecting plastic action figures from the 1950s and 60s. The collection has modest value. They are too good to give away and not quite good enough to justify a live auction event. What’s more, even though Dad is moving into a small assisted living apartment and can’t take his toys with him, to him they are priceless. Nobody’s going to give his Roy, Dale & Trigger away.
So what’s the answer to the marketing challenge in these examples? An auction event allows you to sell more merchandise, in less time to the greatest advantage; however, in these cases the items can’t support a profitable live auction event. This is where the online only auction model rides to the rescue of Dad’s plastic collectibles.
Online only auctions can make the metrics work. Generally speaking, online only auctions cost less to produce. Conversely, online only auctions reach out to a larger audience via internet penetration. In addition, online only auctions offer maximum convenience for bidders, allowing them to bid from home, work or on the go via computer, tablet or mobile device. Buyers don’t have to attend the auction in person.
There you have it. Online only auctions allow for the application of professional expertise to situations that were previously untenable with less expense and in a manner that exposes the merchandise to a larger audience than would be possible using the metrics of a small live auction event. Now that’s progress!