A silent auction is precisely what the name suggests – an event where there is no calling out the bids and participants do not have to be feverishly involved in the process. Rather silent auctions are more of a laid-back experience, similar to leisurely inspecting and picking up items from departmental store racks.
The merchandise in silent auctions is kept on various tables on display and the attendees look over them at their own pace. A bidding sheet with about 10-15 rows is kept before each item. A bidder will place the initial bid on the first row and anybody with a higher price will fill up the next row, following the incremental price bid set for the auction. At the close of the auction, the winners for the items as per the bid sheet are declared.
There is no time frame for silent auctions and one can last from several hours to one day. Online silent auctions often stretch over 7-10 days. Once the timeframe is completed for the written bid, the organizers announce the winners and initiate dispatch and shipping of the items after receipt of payment.
What items sell most at a silent auction?
Statistically, the bids at a silent auction are lower than that in live on-premises auctions because the sense of urgency to increase the bids on the spot is not there. However, lower bids do not mean inferior quality merchandise. It is possible to incentivize competitive bidding and get higher bids by putting up items that get more attention and higher prices in silent auctions.
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What are the items that typically sell best at silent auctions?
- Compatible items together: Categorize compatible or themed items together into one large basket. This will drive up bidding against what would be if each item was displayed individually. It is a win-win situation for all. You earn more for a display and the bidder gets more of the desired goodies. This is the manifestation of an age-old saying that something is more than the sum of its parts!
- Entry tickets: Entry tickets to well-known events are a big attraction in silent auctions. Tickets are sponsored by donors and you make money even if they are sold below the face value. For winning bidders, it is a great opportunity to get tickets at discounted rates, regardless of what the event is – concerts, ballets, sporting events, or theatre performances.
- Local deals: Just like tickets, a high-bid segment is discount coupons and gift cards for local services such as restaurant coupons, free or lowered rates for business services, or a slash in rates in upmarket boutique stores.
- Sports gear: Fishing tackle sets, skiing or snowboarding gear, camping sets, golf clubs, and anything that answers the call of the outdoor and adventure are top bid items at silent auctions.
- Food and beverages: Chocolate hampers, wine racks, craft beer collections, and other goods that people crave for generally bring in high prices at a silent auction.
While these are just examples and have proved their worth at silent auctions, you can decide the items judging the local condition and tastes of the likely participants.
How do silent auction platforms give better returns?
A silent auction combined with cutting-edge software assures amazing results. Every aspect of the auction can be managed seamlessly, right from the planning phase to bidding and purchasing, and the checkout.
Some of the benefits of the silent auction software are given here.
- Higher bids: With mobile bidding, a lucrative and easy methodology is added to the bidding process. Bidders are notified immediately on their smartphones through text messages if any bid has gone over theirs after which they can go back to the auction to increase on their earlier bids. This has a great impact and dramatically increases the final selling price.
- Cost-saving: By using the mobile online silent auction software you can save a lot in infrastructure costs of holding the auction. All the parameters to run the event including tracking the bids and declaring the winners are done with just a few clicks. As against traditional auctions, there is no cost for hiring space and manpower and other related expenses. There is also no need to buy extra equipment for setting up the auction.
- Better organized: All the benefits of the Internet and being online can be hadthrough the silent auction software, especially for the bidders. They can see all the items on display in detail in full color on any Internet-enabled device like a smartphone or tablet without visiting a physical location. As the holder of the event, on the other hand, you can monitor in real-time the bidding progress and make updates to the inventory if required.
- Automated tasks: All activities related to the auction are automated with the software. This includes keeping records, monitoring the progress of the auction, and building a databank with attendee information that will help you in contacting the participants again to promote future auctions.
- Seamless checkout: Checkout, processing payments, and arranging for shipping and delivery can be a nightmare in traditional auctions. Not so in online silent auctions as the software helps you to manage all the payment and delivery particulars on your computer from any location.
Whatever quality software you might have, the key to a successful silent auction is pre-event promotion and advertisement. Carry out a sustained marketing campaign for your auction via email campaigns and by creating a buzz on various social media platforms. It will pay rich dividends by getting people to the auction.