Online Auctions

Online auctions have become an increasingly accessible way of shopping via the internet. They offer a huge variety of products which are available at consumers’ fingertips, and in the comfort of their own homes. Sellers can sell unwanted items that might otherwise be thrown away.

This type of consumer buying continues to evolve, and is extremely popular and successful in today’s competitive marketplace.

There are two main attractions to online auctions. Firstly, the consumer is often able to secure an item at a lower price than it would be made available for in high street chains. Secondly, online auction sites offer an exciting and stimulating way of shopping. ‘Bidders’ enjoy the competition for products; a ‘win’ can be exhilarating, as well as being conveniently carried out without having to drive to an external location. In today’s society, competitive online shopping is becoming ever popular.

The most successful internet auctions are those that are easily accessible, are open to as many bidders as possible, and are straightforward to follow. An online auction is often active for a number of hours, during which bidders ‘bid’ for the product they want. They are usually allowed to withdraw from the proceedings at any time if they desire. Bidders who are more experienced can place bids at several sites at once, and will use software that tracks their status at each online auction.

There are basically two main types of auction process: Forward and Reverse.

Forward Auctions

In forward auctions, bidders who offer the highest bid win the item. The seller will put up the items available to buy and bidders will begin competing for these, thus driving the price up. Sellers might fix a reserve price so that sales do not fall below this. These types of online auctions are well known for selling and buying collectibles but also may sell business to business.

Auction sites have their own rules, such as whether sellers need a certain business accreditation to take part and whether to set a registration fee before use. Another consideration will be how payment is made; either between the parties involved or through the site itself. Seller profiles are established and rewarded by the more they sell and the more reliable they prove themselves in terms of delivery and quality.

Reverse auctions (Dutch Auctions)

In this type of auction, bidders who offer the lowest bid wins the item (the ‘item’ in reverse auctions is usually a contract for business). The event itself will last for a matter of just a few hours. Reverse auctions are important for supply chains (particularly electronic) and are viewed as a money saving exercise. These reverse auctions are becoming an increasingly popular way to do business through the internet.

Auction Sites

There are numerous auction sites currently operating online.

Many of these sites are not geared towards a particular specialised area; they can be visited and used to buy and sell almost any general item imaginable. Products are stored within categories, alphabetically, or consumers have the option of using the search tool to locate an exact match. Once the product is found, information, as well as numbers in stock, will be displayed.

Some auction sites will conduct the bidding on a buyer’s behalf if instructed to. They may also include a ‘Buy Now’ feature that allows the buyer to opt out of the auction and purchase the product immediately at the displayed price.

Dedicated sites will offer a more specialised service for direct-niche items, for example if buyers are looking for products such as artwork, guns, coins, jewellery or vintage clothing etc, these can be easily located through the internet’s search engines. Again, consumers are able to search through categories or enter keywords to find a niche product quickly, which they are then able to bid on. Many direct-niche sites also offer the option to purchase items without bidding.

Penny Auctions

Also known as ‘bidding fee’ auctions, these sites offer an exciting way of buying and selling online, providing the consumer with a retail incentive as well as entertainment value. Penny auctions enable consumers to often get products that are very popular at low prices.

Bidders pay a non-refundable fee and receive a pack of bids before the auction begins, at a set price (a fixed step to ensure fairness). They then place their individual bids and hope to be the player with the last wager before time runs out. With each bid placed on an auction, the timer increases. When the clock stops, the last person to place their bid wins the product and pays the final price for it, which is often very low.

Many consumers enjoy penny auctions because of the competition involved in the bidding process, as well as the sealed end product, approved by a company.

Products that can be bid on in these auctions range from laptops, phones and home appliances to gift vouchers and more. Savings of 70%, and sometimes more, can be made on items.

The success of the penny auction lies within its clear competitive shopping element, and the time it takes to place a bid. Bidders may send short numbers by text message to place their bid (effectively reducing the time it takes) or they may visit the penny auction site and place their bid this way. Many of the sites offer automatic bidding systems to save further time.

By visiting different sites and watching auctions in action, as well as reading reviews on specific sites, consumers will gain a good understanding of which penny auctions are the best to take part in.

Pay-Per-Bid Auctions

These offer bidders the chance of paying for an individual bid before the auction commences, then to add additional bids if they wish, to increase their chance of winning the product. A display will let bidders know their progress within the auction and further bids can be entered. With each bid placed, the value of the product increases as well as the countdown.

Bid Online Auctions Vs eBay Auctions

Most people are very familiar with eBay and the type of auctions they run on their website. It is a place where many search for deals on items they want to acquire for their home or for gifts for others. When some speak of bidding on live auctions online they are referring to eBay. There are however, a few differences between an eBay auction and bid online live auction.

Don’t get me wrong, there are similarities between the two. For example, both types of events have bidders, start times and end times. They both allow for you to place maximum bids on items. You can view detailed pictures of items and descriptions online from the comfort of your home.

The true difference between a live bid online auction and an eBay auction is the excitement that happens between the start time and the end time of these events.

In a live bid online auction, there is a set time for which an auction takes place – which is usually a couple of hours long and consists of many hundreds of items. With an eBay auction, there is one item that is up for auction for days or weeks at a time. So, as you can see, the excitement level and pace of a live bid online auctions is much more exciting. You have a few seconds to bid on the item you want versus days or weeks.

With a live bid online auction, you are bidding against online bidders (just like eBay) – however, you are also bidding against people who are actually participating at the physical auction site as well. This is an added dynamic to the auction that can allow for some pretty fierce competition.

One other difference between the two types of auctions is whom you are purchasing your items from. Most live bid online auctions are hosted by auction houses that have been in business for many years and are conducted by professional, licensed auctioneers. With eBay auctions, you are bidding on items that are usually being sold by the general public with no requirements to hold an auctioneer license.

While both types of auctions are effective in getting what you want at a potential discount, only live bid online auctions offer you the excitement of bidding live against other people in a real time bidding event. It’s a great way to get great deals while also having a lot of fun.

Participate in Live Online Auctions

What does it take to participate in live online auctions, and how does doing so make your life easier? It helps to understand that an online auction is not the same thing as an auction site such as eBay or Overstock; you are actually involved in a real auction, as it takes place, no matter where it might be held.

Bid Online for Convenience

There are many items for which you can bid online in live proceedings. You can bid on everything from office equipment to fine antiques. That means that if your business needs something or you are a collector, you can find an auction that is designed with your interests in mind.

The great convenience of an online auction is that you save time, money, and frustration. If you have ever attended an auction far from home, you already have an understanding of just how much is involved in bidding in person. You have to travel to the auction site, spend time waiting for the auction to begin, bid against others, and hope that you win.

If you are fortunate enough to place the highest bid, you still have to ship your items and travel back home. Once you add in the costs involved in traveling, the loss of productivity, and potentially food and lodging, losing an auction can be doubly painful. By participating in a virtual sense, you eliminate all of the additional factors and can focus on simply bidding.

On the Internet Live Auctions are Really Live

If you have never taken part of a live internet auction, you will be pleasantly surprised. The process of being approved is painless and quick. Find an auction in which you are interested, apply for approval from the auction house, and plan to be available when your lot is being auctioned.

Check in to the auction about 30 minutes before you expect your lot to be auctioned and view the auction proceedings online. When your item is presented, you bid on your computer and the auctioneer will see your bids and include them just as if you were present. If you win the item, then shipping arrangements can be made. If you don’t win the item, you haven’t spent time and effort attending.

Finding the Items You Want

It really is rather simple to find what you want to bid upon. Once you have registered with your online auction house, all you need to do is browse through their online catalogues or do a smart search; look for a specific item you desire or enter a more general term and see what appears. Either way it won’t take you long to discover something that might be of interest.

Once you have found an item, click on it and investigate it more closely. You can read the detailed description, view the pictures, and even send questions directly to the auctioneers. You can rest assured that you are going to get exactly what you bid on because online auction houses maintain extremely high professional standards.

With live online auctions you no longer have to pass up opportunities to get what you want or need because of distance. The Internet now allows you to participate in any auction that interests you, anywhere around the world, with a few clicks of the mouse.