As more coin auctions sign on to Proxibid, and as the recession deepens in an election year, the best houses are being both entreprenuerial and innovative. Here are some tips:
1. Try different levels of buyers’ fees. If your company hosts onsite and online auctions, bidders physically at the auction typically pay lower buyers’ fees (or none at all) and so will win most times when you’re offering gold and rare coins. Example: Say a coin is worth $2200. A 15% online fee on $2000 is $300, or $2300. Add shipping and insurance, and the price approaches $2350 for that one item. The savvy online bidder will cut off bidding at $2000, and the onsite counterpart will snag it for $2100–$100 less than the lot is worth. Competition ends. Solution: We’re seeing more houses cut premiums and offer discounts on expensive lots to spur competitive bidding.
2. Rethink the order of lot numbers if using differential buyers fees. If you are offering two or even three buyers’ fee levels–15%, 10% and 5%–to spark onsite vs. online bidding (see #1 above), that can become a bookkeeping issue. You can lessen the impact of that by putting your 5% and 10% discounted lots in sequence, such as lots 15-30 get 5% discount and lots 100-120 get 10% discount. That makes bookkeeping easier.
3. Offer special rewards and/or discounts for top bidders. Spend $1000 on Proxibid in a single auction, and receive 2% discount (or free shipping). Spend $2000, and receive 5% discount. More than $5,000? 5%. Bidders will continue upping their offers to grab the discount. They may achieve it, or they may not, but you can be sure that competition will ignite.
4. Advertise in the right venues. In the past week, several auctioneers asked Proxiblog about advertising in Coin World. We recommend the online version of the magazine because the goal is to get Internet users to patronize your Proxibid sessions.
5. Stop printing and mailing fliers to Proxibidders. Rather than send bidders pricey brochures and fliers via snail mail (we don’t even read those), practice the basics of good online advertising, as in this post. Funnel any savings into target advertising (#4 above) and send email blasts to your registered bidders.
6. Start social networking. Increasingly, bidders on portals are relying on Facebook, Twitter and mobile devices liike smart phones to keep track of bids and to place bids online. Learn the basics by reading this post.
7. Invest in audio or video in Proxibid auctions. Yes, we know that this can be dicey. The great mythologist Joseph Campbell wrote that computing is like the Old Testament: A lot of rules, and no mercy. Take the time to learn the technological commandments, and you’ll gain the trust of online bidders who typically suspect the onsite crowd has the advantage when their maximum bids have been reached … and surpassed. Audio affirms your fairness!
We’ll offer more tips when we think of them or spot them in other auctions. The goal, as always, is to spark competition, using the Proxibid technology to simulate the auction experience.
Proxiblog is an independent entity with no connection to the auction portal Proxibid. Our intent is to uphold basic numismatic standards as established by the American Numismatic Association and the National Auctioneer Association and to ensure a pleasurable bidding experience not only on Proxibid but also on similar portals such as iCollector and AuctionZip.