Archive for July, 2012

A Grouped Soft Close Manifesto for Internet-Only Auctions

July 31st, 2012 No comments

Internet-Only Auctions
Internet-only auctions (also called timed auctions) bring their own set of techniques for achieving the highest hammer price for your consignor. There are specific features that are unique to internet-only auctions that elicit greater bidder competition. One of these features is called soft close.

Soft Close
When an auction uses soft close, the closing time of a lot is extended by X minutes when a bid is received on that lot in the last X minutes. X can be defined as 2 minutes or 3 minutes or 10 minutes; that’s up to the auctioneer. Imagine that lot #10 is down to 5 seconds and a bidder places a new high bid. In a normal auction, that bidder would have “sniped” the lot. That is, they bid in the closing seconds which prevented any other bidder from countering that bid. With soft close enabled, when that bidder waits until 5 seconds are left to place the bid, the bid on the lot gets extended by X minutes thus giving other bidders a chance to raise their bids.

Grouped Soft Close
There is another type of soft close that we call “Grouped Soft Close”. In a grouped soft close multiple lots are “grouped” together such that a bid on one lot will extend other lots in the group.┬áIt’s important to point out that there are two different types of grouped soft close and they serve different purposes:

1. Synchronized – All the lots are set to close at the same time. Any time one lot extends, all other lots in the group are extended as well. This is useful as an online choice between multiple similar lots. For example, if I were selling multiple four-wheelers, lot 11 was the best one, lot 12 was the next best, and lot 13 was the last. As a bidder I may bid on lot 11 until such time as it exceeds my budget. I could then fall back to bidding on lot 12, and finally to lot 13.

2. Staggered – The lots in the group have their closing times staggered. Earlier lots extend later lots in the group, but later lots do not extend earlier lots in the group. An example where this is useful is a tractor and its implements: Lot 5 is the tractor, lot 6 is a mower deck, lot 7 is a box scraper, etc. The tractor extends the implements but the implements don’t extend the tractor. Someone bidding on the tractor may only be interested in bidding on the implements if they win the tractor. A staggered, grouped soft close allows the bidder to win the tractor and then proceed to bidding on the implements.

Both soft close group methods can be very effective and invaluable online selling tools (Bidopia 1.0 and 2.0 support both of these grouped soft close methods). If you aren’t yet using grouped soft close in your internet-only auctions, you should be; or at least you should know that the option is available.

If you have any questions, as always, please feel free to contact us.


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