Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

This story is true.

However, we’ve changed the names, city, state and subject item to keep the actual names, city, state and subject item confidential.

All other material information has been verified.

Tim is an auction consignor.

Tim buys returned items from “big-box” stores, large lots in liquidation circumstances, and otherwise procures items to sell in both live and online auctions in order to make a living for himself and his family.

Tim has been buying certain lawn and garden equipment lots. Such equipment will include hand tools, long handled tools, power tools, etc. One such item in his inventory is a “Dead On Professional Flexible Gel Knee Pad” set used for gardening, skating, etc. These knee pad sets retail for about $15.

In Newgrove, Tennessee, there are maybe ten full-time auctioneers, with another ten or so working part-time. Tim consigns to just two auctioneers in Newgrove. These two auctioneers differ basically in only one respect — one conducts only live auctions, where the other only conducts online auctions.

We’ll call our two auctioneers Harry and Denny:

    Harry has been an auctioneer for 30 years, and has an auction house in Newgrove. Harry is a member of both the Tennessee Auctioneers Association, and the National Auctioneers Association. He is well-known in Newgrove and the surrounding areas as a good, honest, ethical auctioneer. For the last 10 or so years, Harry has conducted auctions at his facility (auction house) every Thursday at 5:00 p.m. Harry advertises his auctions mostly on www.auctionzip.com and typically gets about 10,000 views for each of his auctions.
    Denny has been an auctioneer for 28 years, and has offices and warehouse space in Newgrove. Denny is a member of both the Tennessee Auctioneers Association, and the National Auctioneers Association. He is well-known in Newgrove and the surrounding areas as a good, honest, ethical auctioneer. For the last 10 or so years, Denny has conducted online auctions from his facility (warehouse) beginning every Thursday at 1:00 p.m., ending seven days later. Denny advertises his auctions mostly on www.auctionzip.com and typically gets about 10,000 views for each of his auctions.

For Harry’s April 12 live auction, Tim consigned 41 sets of Dead On Professional Flexible Gel Knee Pads. Harry posted 3 pictures of the sets on www.auctionzip.com and put text in his auction description noting he had:

    “20 sets of Dead On Professional Gel Knee Pads.”

For Denny’s April 19 online auction, Tim consigned 41 sets of Dead On Professional Flexible Gel Knee Pads. Denny listed some sets as one “lot” and otherwise arranged groups of 3, 5, 10 and 12 sets in the online auction, with pictures of the knee pad sets and a full description. As well, Denny posted 3 pictures of the sets on www.auctionzip.com and put text in his auction description noting he had:

    “20 sets of Dead On Professional Gel Knee Pads.”

For Harry’s April 26 live auction, Tim consigned 41 sets of Dead On Professional Flexible Gel Knee Pads. Harry posted 3 pictures of the sets on www.auctionzip.com and put text in his auction description noting he had:

    “20 sets of Dead On Professional Gel Knee Pads.”

The results were as follows:

  • For the April 12 live auction, the Dead On Professional Flexible Gel Knee Pad Sets sold for an average of $2.25 each, with some selling as high as $4.00 each, and as low as $1.00 each. Tim’s total consignment of knee pads grossed $92.25 and he netted $69.19.
  • For the April 19 online auction, the Dead On Professional Flexible Gel Knee Pad Sets sold for an average of $0.41 each, with some selling as high as $1.22 each, and as low as $0.01 each. Tim’s total consignment of knee pads grossed $16.77 and he netted $12.58.
  • For the April 26 live auction, the Dead On Professional Flexible Gel Knee Pad Sets sold for an average of $2.00 each, with some selling as high as $3.00 each, and as low as $1.00 each. Tim’s total consignment of knee pads grossed $82.00 and he netted $61.50.

Conclusions? Actually, several in my opinion:

  1. Despite these above results, I don’t believe it is fair to conclude that live auctions always deliver better results than online — any more than it’s fair to conclude that online auctions always deliver better results than live auctions.

  2. For any one auctioneer to say, “We are getting much better prices with our online-only auction model than we obtained at live auctions at our Auction Center or onsite. We did live auctions for 20 years, and now do only online, and our results are better,” is not a fair comparison. Maybe that auctioneer is better at doing online auctions, than he (or she) was doing live auctions? Maybe this difference is due to different market conditions, different product, different (more) experience and market presence of the auctioneer?
  3. The issue is Internet marketing versus no Internet marketing — much more than it is Internet bidding versus no Internet bidding. If an auctioneer did live auctions without Internet marketing for 20 years, and has since done online auctions with Internet presence — of course his (or her) results are better. So too would be an auctioneer who did live auctions without Internet marketing for 20 years and then started to use Internet marketing (www.auctionzip.com for example) for those live auctions.
  4. One possible reason Harry’s auction produced better results over Denny’s: People “attending” Harry’s auction on the prospect of buying something else in Harry’s auction noticed these Dead On Professional Flexible Gel Knee Pad Sets and said, “Hey, how about these — I didn’t know they made such a thing … I might buy a set.” In Denny’s auction, there seems to be a less likelihood that a bidder would find other items they knew nothing about, and bid on them, as Denny’s auctions are searched more-so by bidders looking for certain items only.
  5. Today, in 2012, there are some very successful online auctions, as well as some very successful live auctions. Too, there are some online auctions producing dismal results, just as there are some live auctions producing dismal results. Neither format holds the exclusive key to maximizing results; nor does either necessarily produce poor results.
  6. The issue of whether or not an auction is successful more likely depends upon the auctioneer, the seller, the property presentation, marketing, etc. — rather than if the auction is live or online.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Greater Columbus Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction and. His Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/mbauctioneer. He serves as Adjunct Faculty at Columbus State Community College and is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.