In today’s age, where the world is driven by the Internet, several changes have happened in people’s lives, the most important of them being harnessing the power of the prevailing online environment to make life easy and convenient. One of the areas, apart from shopping, that has followed this route is auctions where the proceedings are carried out through online bidding.
The rise of Internet-based auctions has got a special fillip after the recent Covid-19 pandemic that had ravaged the world a couple of years back and is still doing so. Severe restrictions and social distancing norms have been put in place by all countries, stopping the free mingling of people at public places, a critical pre-condition at traditional auctions. Auction attendees today can no longer get together at a venue or in a tightly-packed hall and bid feverishly for items of choice, goaded on by a paddle-wielding auctioneer.
Given these circumstances, auctions through online bidding have now taken center stage and have become a blessing in disguise for charities that largely depend on auctions to raise funds for their cause. No more is there a need to hold gala dinners or movie and theatre shows to raise funds or hold auctions on a large-scale courtesy of sponsoring merchants and donors. All that is required now is to stage auctions on specialized sites that use advanced software and conduct the events by online bidding.
So far as the participants are concerned, attending an online auction can be done via any Internet-enabled device such as a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. There is no pressure to attend auctions in-person as the same can be done from the convenience of the home or while on the go.
As an organizer of an online auction, what is critical for you is to promote the event optimally, more so as the participants will be drawn from all corners of the globe due to their access to the Internet. Strategize email campaigns and carry out optimized digital marketing efforts over social media platforms.
Benefits of Online Bidding and Auctions
There are several benefits of online auctions, one reason why apart from the Covid-19 restrictions, they have captured the imagination of both the organizers and the participants in a big way.
Here are some of them.
- Cost-Effective events: This factor is the primary reason why online bidding and auctions have stolen a march over their traditional counterparts. Check the costs then and now. Previously, in-premises venues had to be rented, arrangements made for participants’ comforts, hiring an auctioneer, transporting the items to the venue, and other expenses. All these did not come cheap and cut deeply into the profits made from the auction.
Now cut to the present online bidding scene and the difference is quite stark. Most of the expenses elaborated above are not necessary. Items do not have to be physically carted to the menu but only their photographs are displayed on the website. Manpower is not required at all as the software of the website takes care of every aspect of the auction, from tracking and monitoring the bids to deciding the winners to allowingthe use of their payment gateways. All these utilities are available to the organizers for a nominal administrative fee.
You can also contact websites that offer their services for free. But unlike the general websites, there arecertain restrictions here. The number of photographs per item that can be uploaded to the site is limited and the auction has to be completed within a specific time frame. There are no such limitations on full-functioning websites. However, even for free sites, you have to pay third-party service charges like that of payment gateways.
- Beyond geographical borders: Unlike the in-premises auctions bidding on online platforms are not limited to the venues where they are held. As online auctions are based on the Internet, their conduct goes far beyond geographical borders. You can be conducting the auctions from one part of the globe and get bidders from the other. There are several advantages here. Competition for items is fierce because of the large number of participants and hence the final bids are always high. Next, due to many bidders taking part, all items are invariably sold out. For buyers through online bidding, they get access to exclusive products that might not be available at their location.
- Wide range of products: Any product regardless of the size and volume can be put up at online auctions simply because they do not have to be physically taken to the auction venue. Only their photographs are displayed on the site and hence anything goes – from bulk items like cars to food, clothing, sporting gear, and holiday packages. However, you should remember that at the end of the auctions after the winners are declared and payment received, it is your responsibility to ship and have the items delivered and international dispatch can be a complex procedure.
- Convenience: Why would people commute to a traditional auction when they can participate and bid from their smartphones or laptops? The answer is they do not and hence the exponential rise in the popularity of auctions that require online bidding. Further, online auctions are open for days, providing participants the opportunity to bid at leisureafter carefully considering all options. Also, bidders don’t need to stay glued to their smartphones to follow the auction. Notifications are sent once a bid has been crossed by somebody else.
For all these reasons, traditional in-premises auctions are slowly giving way to auctions that are conducted over the Internet through an online bidding process.