06 January, 2019

What is an Online Auction?

An online auction is held over the internet and enables bidders to bid on a catalogue containing lots. They can vary in format and also the length of time.

Online auctions are becoming increasingly popular as it removes the need to physically attend the auction. 

In this guide, you'll learn about live and timed-online auctions and be given an insight into the way they work, how you can get involved and what you need to look out for.

How Does a Live Auction Work?

A live auction is held in real time. The location of these auctions can be anywhere. For example, in a gallery, showroom, hall or even the first floor of the Eiffel Tower. 

With the benefit of technology like the internet, bidders from around the world can log in to the auction and bid against people who are physically there. Any bid made online is monitored and revealed to the audience.

The length of time a live auction can last will depend on how many lots are in the catalogue and the level of engagement from bidders. For example, when the CTF Pink Star sold in an auction, bidders fought over 5 minutes before it sold for $56m. 

Finally, items can fail to sell if the reserve isn't met. This is the minimum bid that the seller will accept for the lot.

How Does a Timed-Online Auction Work?

A timed online auction is held over the internet and lasts for a specific period of time e.g. several hours or over a week. 

When a timed online auction closes, each lot is given an end time and once that time has elapsed, the lot is unavailable.

The whole process is automated but bidders can still be updated via email for the following:

  • If their bid was successful.
  • If they are the leading bidder.
  • If they achieve the reserve.

To ensure the auction is maintained, the auction house can set increments to stop obscure bids being placed. 

How Do I Register for an Online Auction?

To register for an online auction, you will need to create an account on that particular platform. You'll be prompted to enter personal details such as:

  • Name.
  • Address.
  • Card details.

Once the account is made, you'll be able to register for an auction pending approval.

When you have been approved, you'll be able to bid once the auction starts. 

How Does Online Auction Bidding Work?

To bid in an online auction, you'll need to be registered and approved. If you're unapproved for an auction, you need to contact the platform or the auction house to understand what the problem is. 

To ensure bidders have the best experience possible lots can have increments applied to them - so they progress naturally in tandem with the current bid.

For example, once the current bid reaches £100, the increment may go from £10 to £50 or even £100.

This means bidders can only increase their bid in multiples of the new increment.

How Do You Win an Auction?

To win an auction, you will need to achieve the reserve or your leading bid is accepted by the seller. 

Once a lot has been won, you may need to wait for the auction to finish before you are informed of the post-auction process. This can vary from auction house to auction house.

You'll find information about winning lots on the auction details or if you contact the auction house. 

What Happens if You Bid on the Wrong Item at Auction?

If you bid on the wrong item at auction, it's imperative that you contact the auction house immediately. 

There's no defined process for situations like this because each auction will have terms and conditions which you need to read before you bid. 

If a solution is not found, your bid may likely stand.

It's imperative that you are on the correct lot before you place your bid because it's a legally binding contract and disputes have been known to reach court.

What Happens if You Win an Auction and Don't Pay?

If you win an item and don't pay the total amount then this can cause serious issues between you, the seller and the auction house.

There have been high profile disputes involving some of the biggest auction houses in the world such as Sotheby's and Christie's.

Those that reach the courtroom can result in bans or even fines.

To avoid having a negative auction experience, it's imperative that you are committed to the item you bid on. Otherwise. the terms and conditions and important information of the auction will be the first thing you'll need to consult.

Tips For Selling at Auction

Selling at auction is getting easier. 

Reaching new customers is a fantastic way to transform your online business but it's imperative that you provide plenty of images and informative descriptions.

Online bidders will use those elements to make a decision on whether or not to bid on your item, so it's vital you know what they are looking for. 

We created a guide which explains ways to improve your product descriptions: How to write a Good Product Description - William George & Co.

Tips For Bidding in Online Auctions

Bidding in online auctions can be a thrilling experience. 

During an online auction, you can experience every emotion as you patiently wait for your winning bid to land that hidden gem you found at auction. 

However, there are important things that you need to take into account such as taxes and premiums which affects the final price that you pay.

To have a great experience, avoid these common mistakes with our guide: Avoid these mistakes made by online auction bidders - William George & Co.

How Can I Do An Online Auction?

To sell at auction is easy and with us, it's FREE. 

With unlimited listings and images, you can create informative, engaging and beautiful lots. 

All it takes is one click! Head over to our selling page for more information.

How Do Online Auctions Work?
How Do Online Auctions Work?
How Do Online Auctions Work?
How Do Online Auctions Work?
How Do Online Auctions Work?
How Do Online Auctions Work?
How Do Online Auctions Work?
How Do Online Auctions Work?
How Do Online Auctions Work?