Official Blog of the Tophatter Auction House
First and foremost, community auctions are fun. So, we want to debunk any mystery around community auctions with this 3-part series and make it really easy for you to host one with a bang!
Here, we unveil the most important steps in creating a kick-butt and successful community auction: Organize, Promote & Sell!
So, let’s start from the beginning…what’s a community auction? Oh, I’ll tell you! A community auction is an auction created and hosted by a member of the Tophatter community. Items listed in community auctions can be from a single seller or a group of sellers.
Items are hand-curated by the auction host. Just like regular Tophatter auctions, community auctions are set up with a pre-determined number of directly scheduled slots & has a standby list where buyers can place an opening bid on items. Items with a bid will then be auctioned off after the scheduled items. The auction host is in charge of selecting items that they think are most appealing to buyers.
Now, when you’re organizing a community auction (CA), there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Creating a theme will give your auction purpose & direction.
- Hand-curating items creates a better variety for buyers.
- The relationship between supply & demand is important.
- More lots sold doesn’t necessarily result in a successful auction.
- Communicate with your sellers.
Now, let’s go into detail…
Creating a theme for your auction gives it purpose and direction. Everyone wants purpose in life, although it’s something that we can’t always nail down. Make it easier on everyone by showing them the purpose of your auction with a theme. Themes do two things: 1) they help keep things focused, and 2) they appeal to buyers. As a buyer, I’d much rather attend a Fall Accessories themed auction than an Anything You Want! auction. I already know what I want…I want accessories, Fall-themed accessories to be exact. I want to use my valuable time in an auction browsing through items that I already want. I don’t want to spend my time sifting through things that I don’t. Themed auctions bring in serious buyers - a key to running a successful community auction.
Hand-curating quality items creates better variety. It does! As a host, if you’re paying detailed attention to what items get sold in your auction, buyers will notice the effort. I know that above I said Anything You Want! auctions aren’t a great idea - they aren’t - but that doesn’t mean buyers don’t want variety. We do - but we want variety in the items we already want. Moving forward with my Fall Accessories example: I already know that I want Fall-themed hair accessories, but I don’t want to see all of the same types of accessories. I still want to browse a varied selection. I’m probably not going to bid on 5 different barrettes - I’m much more likely to bid on one auburn-colored barrette and a knitted scarf. What does that mean? That means two happy sellers, instead of just one.
The relationship between supply and demand is important. There must be demand for the products listed in order to see success. Putting up lots that buyers aren’t interested in won’t result in that kick-butt auction you spent days planning.
More lots sold doesn’t necessarily mean a successful auction. True story. A successful auction is measured by a myriad of factors, such as: higher final bids, competition of bidding and high attendance rates. As a host & seller, you’re going to be much more satisfied with an auction that has all these things rather than an auction with tons of lots. Here’s why. Higher final bids means more money made by the sellers. How do you get higher bids? With competition - the excitement and thrill that only one person can win motivates buyers to bid. Also, our data shows that an item’s success rate of being sold is greater when there are at least 2 bidders per lot. So, bringing in a highly engaged crowd of buyers is essential - this is where promoting comes in, but we’ll go into more detail about how to promote in Part 2 of this 3-part series.
Communicate with your sellers. Being an organized host will not only result in many pats on the back (yay!) but will also result in a happy room. If your sellers know how the auction will run, where to submit their items and when to submit items by, your auction will: run smoothly, have quality items and will have a positive atmosphere that encourages bidding. All good things that will give you that warm happy feeling!
Once you’ve spent the time organizing & putting all of the little pieces together, it’s time to promote, promote, promote!
Stay tuned for Part 2 where we’ll share all of our tips on how to promote your auction & bring in a highly engaged audience for your kick-butt auction.
Until then, happy bidding!