Starting soon (Friday 6AM), we’re introducing a ‘Standby list’ for the Outdoor Fair. Rather than rushing to grab a reservation, any seller will be able to submit a single item at a time onto the ‘Standby list’ for the fair when that auction room opens.
The ‘Standby’ items will appear alongside the ‘Upcoming’ lots list in the auction room. Buyers can peruse the Standby items and, if they choose to, can place the first bid for an item on the list. If an item has a bid, it will be added to the fair for that auction room and will appear in the Upcoming list.
When the Fair is full, the Standby list will disappear. Items placed on the Standby list may be removed over time if they don’t generate buyer interest.
This change will allow more sellers to get their items in front of potential buyers while avoiding the rush to list in the fair.
Tips for Buyers: What is a Vintage or Antique item?
This Wednesday, March 28 is a perfect opportunity to discover new Vintage and Antique items such as this from Joyful Jewelry Designs:
Or this Antique Button Steampunk Brooch from Candyrot:
As you’re browsing the items for Wednesday’s auction, the following question may come to mind:
What makes something “Antique” vs. “Vintage”?
Antique – in the context of Tophatter, Antique is considered anything pre-1940s.
Vintage – Vintage can vary in definition a little but for the most part, it means items that are older than 20 years are vintage.
So, what should I do if I can’t verify it?
Use a synonym: old, retro, classic, loved, or some other accepted synonym that can be equally effective in conveying that it’s a nice piece from the past.
And what about the items in the auction?
It’s up to the seller to provide buyers with accurate information in regards to whether an item is actually an “antique” or “vintage” piece. As a buyer, you can always inquire about the origins of a piece during the live auction. However, hopefully knowing what you do now – you’ll be able to enter into the auction as a better-educated buyer!
There are two new features on Tophatter that we think are pretty helpful:
1. Report an item or user - you can now report people or items to Tophatter staff to review and potentially remove. We rely on the community to police itself and the reporting feature is a great tool for anyone to alert us to items that are misleading, inappropriate or spammy. Simply click the ‘report’ link on the bottom of the lot description or user avatar page.
2. Notes to sellers - We know that a lot of custom items are ordered on Tophatter, and sometimes communications get lost after the sale. We have therefore added a ‘notes’ field to the checkout process so that buyers can inform sellers of their requests, and sellers know where to find these instructions.
For all of you addicted to Tophatter, soon you’ll be able to access the auctions from your iphone using our Tophatter app. We’ve been working on the application for a while and we’re really excited to make it available soon.
We’re looking for users that are interested in helping us test the app and provide feedback. Any comments/suggestions/thoughts are welcome.
Anyone of you who is interested in testing out the app and has an iPhone, can you please send an email at email@example.com. Suchit will then add everyone to the testing group and send out a version of the app that you can install on your phone.
We hear a lot of feedback from sellers that the outdoor fair is great, but can be frustrating to get into. You’re not alone if you’ve asked ‘Where is the button? When will it appear? Did I just miss it?’ - that kind of stuff.
So, we’ve implemented two significant changes to the way the fair works.
First off, rather than a button you have to scroll down to find, there is now a persistent link at the bottom of the ‘Upcoming’ lots section that says ‘Add an item to sell in the fair’. The link is grey if items cannot be added and black when spots are available.
Second, we’re going to start offering sellers the option of reserving a place in the fair for a nominal reservation fee from the beginning of some auctions. This feature will provide an alternative for sellers frustrated by waiting for the fair and the uncertainty of getting a spot. Once the auction moves outside, anyone will still be able to schedule without a reservation fee as long as space is available, and we’ll continue to extend the fair if there’s interest and attendance. The net result will be no change for those willing to wait it out as current, but an additional choice for those sellers who want it.
The first feature is already live, and we’ll be testing the second out in a few auctions early this week.
We hope these changes will improve the overall experience for sellers on Tophatter. Let us know what you think.
Many Tophatter sellers use one paypal address for many different shops and some even share a paypal address with other members of their family/household. So, in the past we’ve allowed multiple accounts using the same paypal email.
We’ve discovered, however, that some sellers have been using multiple accounts inappropriately to dominate listings - and so we’ve had to modify our policy. From now on, every paypal email address can be tied to only one account.
For those of you interested in maintaining different shops within the same account or sharing a paypal email with other family members, we’ll be introducing a feature in the future that will allow you to create different seller profiles within the same account.
In the meantime, we’ve published our multiple account policy here.
If you are using multiple accounts currently, we’ll contact you to manage the merging of the accounts correctly.
What a week at Tophatter! Just three months since we launched we are now seeing over 1,000 items per day up on the auction blocks. While we’re thrilled with this growth, we know there are certain aspects of the marketplace that we’d like to improve and we’re working every day to make things better.
One initiative that we started this week was one-off promotional credits in different auctions - we ran a $5 credit in Accessories on Wednesday, a $2 credit in Accessories yesterday, and both a $2 credit in Antique & Viintage and whopping $10 credit in High-end Jewelry today.
Wendell is generously paying for these credits as part of our marketing efforts to attract buyers and boost the overall experience. So far, it has been very successful and we plan to do more of it. We won’t run them every day or in the same auctions repeatedly but we will use credits occasionally as a tool to increase value for sellers.
Thanks everyone for your support! Remember to set your clock forward on Saturday night - wouldn’t want you to be late for Sunday’s Bazaar :)
We’ve had so much fun with the outdoor fairs this week - and have heard such great feedback - that we’re going to start doing them even more broadly. If there’s a category where we have a scheduling back-log, you can expect to start seeing outdoor fairs where anyone can schedule in the auction in the near future. We’re also working to make the fair sign-up experience more intuitive and less distracting.
Speaking of scheduling, we’re also planning a long term feature where anyone will be able to create and run their own auctions. If you have suggestions for us as we get started or are interested in this feature, please let us know here.