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In “The Patriot” movie, Cornwallis apparently proclaimed, “Everything will change. Everything has changed.” In other words, “The only thing constant is change?”

Live auctioneers have had their lives turned up-side-down with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and many wonder if this change is somewhat permanent with auctioneers moving to online auctions …

However, if everything will change, what will happen to online auctions? We’ve been doing online auctions since the 1990s and some practitioners have been at it 20 or more years. What’s next for those folks? We wonder.

It seems to us an online auction is much like a live auction, except for the placement (and acceptance) of bids. It still takes time for the auction to close, items to be shipped (or real property to close) and items are usually not warranted nor guaranteed.

It seems likely this next generation of consumers (buyers) will demand quicker purchasing methods (“click-to-buy”) and possibly sellers will desire a quicker sale (essentially “click to sell”) … all with warranties, guarantees and return policies.

No company in business today is making buying nor selling more complex, more time-consuming nor more inconvenient. If the auction business is to survive long-term, it too may have to be much quicker, easier and more convenient.

As we’ve consistently argued, live auctioneers and online auctioneers are still selling at auction — just in a different way. We explored more in depth here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2019/01/18/the-threat-to-live-all-auctions/.

In the above story, we held (in reference to the RMS Titanic):

Whether we’re on the Lower Deck (presumably selling only live?) or the Promenade Deck (presumably selling online?) I would offer auctioneers that all of us might be on the same [above] passenger liner?

Auctions do work — however, for how much longer will live or online auctions work in their current state? Maybe a long, long time, and maybe not.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and America’s Auction Academy. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by the The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.