Online auctions have revolutionized the way people buy and sell valuable items. They have become increasingly popular due to their convenience, accessibility, and most importantly global reach. At Legacy Auctions, we reach over 12 million bidders. We use multiple platforms to reach buyers to ensure we aren’t relying on just one source.
In this digital age, the success of an online auction heavily relies on the quality and appeal of the items being offered. We cannot stress how important this is and the #1 mistake our consignors make is holding onto high-value items in order to try to sell them. What is left is a mediocre auction where none of the items are appealing to bidders. Why are they going to sit through 3-5 hours of bidding?
Good, unique, high-value, and interesting auction items play a crucial role in attracting potential bidders and driving up bids, ultimately ensuring a successful online auction for consignors. We are going to dive into some examples and factors that are key to maximizing bids and creating a favorable outcome for those consigning their items to online auctions.
A Comparison of Online Auctions
We ran two different auctions recently. They were both in different locations, but just about every other aspect of these auctions was the same except for the items. This is a perfect example of how an auction with fantastic items can generate 9 times more registrations and ignite bidding wars.
Auction A – Unique collectibles, Swarovski crystal, fine jewelry, collectible sculptures, glass art, mid-century furniture, music memorabilia, sports memorabilia, and antique toys.
Auction B – Average art pieces, average porcelain, and only a sprinkle of collectibles.
|Auction Platform Users
|Our website users
|Our Facebook page followers
|Facebook Shared Post (News Feed)
|Facebook Shared (Desktop)
|Facebook Shared Post (Mobile)
As you can see in the table above, we use the same sites for advertising. The consignor for Auction B had at least 30 more pieces that were fantastic and would have drawn in bidders, but they decided not to put them in the auction. The consignor didn’t have experience with online auctions so they were “testing” the process.
We use multiple platforms for marketing that include the auction platforms, 3 auction sites, social media, search ads, and our email list. We use all of those sources on every auction but only change where we spend ad budgets. In these 2 auctions, we actually spread spending and marketing efforts evenly and you can see that each source produced registrations.
This formula ensures we are not just relying on one platform or one type of advertisement. However, the items themselves are the key variable to bringing in registered bidders. Auction B just didn’t have enough interesting items to draw in a crowd. As you can see in the table each platform way underperformed, so this wasn’t an issue ad spending.
Auction Platform Users
Let me point to one particular source, Auction Platform Users. We host our auctions on HiBid where millions of users can search for items. So some level of users naturally come from the platform as they find items in the auction. Plus we have followers on that platform that regularly register for our auctions. This is the lowest number of users that we’ve ever seen for an auction.
Again, these auctions ran during the same week so this wasn’t because one auction ran over Christmas break or anything odd like that. The problem is that the items were common and not highly sought after. They were pieces that normally would sell for $40 to $100. But its the $500+ pieces of art that collectors are trying to find. If you have some of those pieces in the auction, they will often still bid on the sub $100 items but if you don’t put those pieces in the auction, they simply won’t waste their time bidding.
Time is a Big Factor
Most of us have limited time. And most of us are collectors. In particular, I like to collect guitars and guitar gear, but specifically vintage guitar pedals. I look for these on HiBid every week. If I see an auction that has one $30 pedal, I won’t register. 2 pedals worth $50 each and I might register. I see a single $100+ pedal and I register. If there are 3 or more items, I’m sitting behind my laptop and bidding.
People are not going to show up to bid if you don’t have items that are attractive enough for them to take the time to watch the auction end.
What Are Auction Bidders Looking For
So what determines whether you have a good quality item that attracts action bidders? Lets look at some of the features of these items that buyers are coveting. Hopefully this will help you when considering which items you want to consign.
Rarity and Uniqueness
Collectors and enthusiasts are always on the lookout for exclusive and hard-to-find pieces that add value to their collections. Such items generate significant interest and competition among bidders, often resulting in higher bids. The scarcity of a particular item increases its desirability, making it a must-have for passionate collectors and driving up the final bid price.
The perceived value of an auction item greatly influences its marketability and bidding potential. When an item possesses an inherent quality, historical significance, or cultural importance, bidders are willing to pay a premium price to acquire it. Consignors who present items with high intrinsic value, whether through craftsmanship, provenance, or other unique attributes, capture the attention of serious buyers. The perception of acquiring something truly valuable motivates bidders to place higher bids, leading to a successful auction outcome for consignors.
Appeal and Interest
Online auctions thrive on capturing the interest and imagination of bidders. Items with compelling stories, interesting backgrounds, or distinctive features are more likely to attract a wider audience and generate excitement. We actually have an amazing team of experts that helps us write compelling descriptions. Our goal is to always tell a story but some items simply don’t have an appealing story that we can use in the item description.
Whether it’s an antique piece with an intriguing past or a one-of-a-kind artwork, items that evoke curiosity and fascination create an emotional connection with potential buyers. This emotional engagement translates into increased bidding activity, resulting in higher final prices and a successful auction for consignors. As I said above, when I see a vintage guitar pedal from the 70’s or 80’s, I get excited as it generally reminds me of a time when I was first learning how to play the guitar.
Reputation and Trust
Over the years we have cultivated a reputation for offering high-quality and unique items. Our consignors benefit from this reputation as bidders trust us. Auction houses with a proven track record of providing exceptional items build a loyal community of bidders who actively seek out their auctions. We believe we have achieved that provide track record. You can view our past auctions to decide for yourself.
Our bidders are more than willing to participate in auctions we host when we have appealing items. Sometimes, we will decline to take on consignors because we can’t have too many low-interest auctions or our regular bidders will stop showing up.
When it comes to online auctions, the significance of good, unique, high-value, and interesting auction items cannot be overstated. These factors work together to create a vibrant auction environment, capturing the attention and interest of bidders from around the world.
Rarity, perceived value, appeal, and the reputation of the auction platform all contribute to the success of consignors in achieving higher bids and favorable outcomes. By offering exceptional items that stand out in terms of quality, rarity, and desirability, consignors can ensure a successful online auction experience and maximize the value of their consigned items. With our team of experts, marketing professionals, and state of the art technologies, we believe we are the best option for most consignors as long as they are willing to consign at least a few high value items.