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Tips to Succeed in an Online Auction in 2020

Technology has become a powerful medium to bring people and the world closer. You can order just about anything you'd ever want online and get it shipped to your doorstep without having to leave your couch.

Of course, one of the most lucrative options available to make an online purchase is through online auction sites! There are dozens to choose from, but to help you narrow it down you might want to check out this roundup on Charity Auctions Today covering the Top 60 Auction Sites in 2020.

With larger Public Auctions, there are often a handful of different people competing to be the high bidder on the same items. Which of course, can lower your chance of winning that item in the online auction. Not to worry, we're here to help you with some useful tips to help you win the lots you want at an online auction in 2020. 

In this post, we'll cover some strategies that could improve your chances of winning your bids at the ideal purchase price. Let's dive in.

Product Knowledge

Online Auctions aren't just about bidding. The most essential part of participating in an auction is making sure your knowledge about the item you're bidding on is up to scratch. If you aren't up to date on the average market value, features or specs for the product you're looking at – Jumping straight into the battlefield without that information often results in disaster. We recommend comparing different online stores or auction sites in Canada that carry the item you are interested in to get a sense of its quality and market value.

Set a Budget

It's important to decide how much you are willing to spend on the item you have an interest in and set a limit before you register to bid in the auction. This allows you to know your limits and proceed with bidding in the auction without having to do any guesswork. Hesitation is a significant mistake people make during an online auction. Having a clear idea of your budget can definitely be a game-changer. 

Being Proactive Throughout the Online Auction

Simply being diligent about checking up on your bids throughout the auction time and matching your bids with that of your competitors is a strong strategy in itself. Many bidders get frustrated when they lose out on an item because someone else bid $5 more at the dying minutes of the sale. Being proactive and checking in can also help you learn the other participant's bidding patterns.  

Insider Tip: Don't always default to the minimum bid increment – If there is value there, bidding two or three steps ahead will keep your competitors guessing and keep you in control.

Timing Your Bids

Knowing the right time to jump in on an online auction can be tricky. Should you secure your bid early on? Or swoop in as the high bidder at the last minute? More often than not, timed auctions that close on evenings and weekends have more people bidding against each other. Keep an eye out for timed online auctions that close either at night or early in the morning, such as our weekly liquidation auctions! The fewer engaged bidders there are during the closing of an online auction, the greater the odds are that you'll be the highest bidder and pay comparatively less for an item.

Wrapping Up

It's a learning process. The best part is that you aren't bound to the strategies laid out above – Once you're comfortable, you can start creating your own strategy and see what works best for you.  You never know, you might create something that no other player would have thought of.

It's common for most people who are new to the online auction world to lose out on an item the first time they participate. However, don't let that discourage you. With the tips mentioned above and a little bit of practice, you can surely improve your rate of success. 

When you think of online auctions, one name probably immediately springs to mind: eBay. While they’re an undisputed industry leader in the online auction sphere, they’re far from the only option. Online auctions in Canada have been showing an increase in popularity each year, with numerous auction sites popping up to accommodate a wide variety of needs.

If you’re looking for some awesome Canadian auction sites, but want an alternative option eBay, check out our complete list below. We’ve rounded up our favourite online auction sites and created a complete guide to help you choose an option that's a fit for you, with the products you want so you can find the deals you’re looking for.

The Different Types of Online Auction Sites

Most auctions online operate in a similar way. A seller lists a product for potential buyers to bid on. The buyer with the highest bid at the end of the auction wins the item. Almost all online auctions have a time limit. Within that basic auction framework, you’ll also find some variety.

Best Online Auction Sites Canada

Here’s a closer look at a few different types of online auctions:

Absolute Auction

Absolute Auctions have a guaranteed sale for every item. The highest bid wins the auction, regardless of the price.

On the plus side, you can potentially score great deals at an Absolute Auction. However, these auctions also tend to attract a ton of bidders. You’ll want to develop a solid bidding strategy because Absolute Auctions can move pretty fast.

Minimum Bid Auctions

In a Minimum Bid Auction, each item has a set minimum price. If no bidder offers the minimum amount, the item remains unsold and returns to the seller.

Minimum Bid Auctions often have higher quality items than Absolute Auctions because the seller has assurances he won’t lose a boatload of money selling an item for far beneath its market value. Additionally, buyers have a reasonable estimation of how much they’ll need to spend to win the auction.

Reserve Auction

A reserve auction is a bit different from the other types. In a reserve auction, you might not necessarily end up with the item, even if you place the winning bid. Instead, the seller reserves the right to accept or refuse the winning bid.

While a reserve auction provides numerous advantages for the seller, it can be a frustrating experience for the buyer. You might end up spending time researching and bidding on a product that you never get to own.

Inversely, there are also auctions that intentionally don't set a reserve price – such as our No-Reserve Vehicle Auction. There are usually some awesome deals to be had, but these types of sales can also attract more bidders which can increase competition.

Penny Auctions

Also called bidding fee auctions, penny auctions are only available online. Each buyer purchases the right to bid. During the auction, bids steadily increase by a penny. Bidders use their bidding opportunities to signal the price they want to pay.

On the plus side, penny auctions can allow you to snag great deals on name-brand merchandise. However, if you don’t win the bid, you still spend money. You can potentially spend a fair amount of money and never actually win any items by the end of the auction.

Top Online Auctions Sites

You’ll find no shortage of online auction sites. They all have a slightly different angle and specialize in selling every type of asset you can think of. Here’s a closer look at a few sites which combine a robust selection of products, user-friendly design, and an overall trustworthy reputation.

Graham Auctions in Calgary

As an online auction ourselves, specializing in retail, wholesale liquidation, home improvement, heavy equipment and vehicle auctions – We’ve studied the industry in quite a lot of detail. There are a lot of reputable auction companies out there doing some fine work.

So if you’ve checked out the weekly sales at Graham Auctions and haven’t found what you’re looking for, we’d recommend taking a look at some of these other auctions.

In case you’re still on the fence, here are some of our favourite online auction products. You can also find thousands of awesome deals in the auction catalogue.

Our Top 10 Best Online Auction Sites

1. Auction Network

Auction Network is an online auction site based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. They are a full-service auction company serving thousands of clients across Canada and buyers from around the world. Auction Network conducts frequent live online auctions and offers full-time auction consignment.

2. 403 Auction

403 Auction is a family-owned online auction operating out of Brampton, Ontario, Canada. They host weekly auctions and are one of the largest auction venues in Canada with over 22,000 sq ft. of space. The owners of 403 Auction have over 30 years of combined experience in the Liquidation and Auction Services and specialize in items that are lost in transit commonly referred to as misguided freight, salvage, OSD or non-deliverable merchandise. They also conduct on-site auctions containing restaurant equipment, industrial/commercial warehouses and retail inventory.

3. HiBid

HiBid is an auction software site serving as both a provider and hub for hundreds of auction sites in Canada and the United States. Not only do they enable auction companies to do business online, but they are also a hub for auction lovers to find thousands of different auction sales based on location, product type, auction type and more!

4. Live Auction World

Live Auction World is an online auction marketplace that allows bidders to place bids and attend traditional brick-and-mortar auctions online as if you were right there in person. They specialize in farm auctions, equipment auctions, real estate auctions, livestock auctions, commercial and vehicle auctions. Live Auction World has been offering live auction software to auctioneers for over a decade and is considered one of the industry's stable platforms.

5. AuctionMaxx

AuctionMaxx is an online liquidation auction based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada specializing in unclaimed or mislabeled freight, retail surplus, overstock, insurance claims, corporate and individual consignment. AuctionMaxx sells a wide range of consumer and industry products through a weekly online auction, and also offers goods for immediate purchase at a fixed price.

6. Bonanza

Bonanza is a large and popular auction site with a special emphasis on sellers. They provide a variety of tools for sellers to build their brand, including  

Bonanza features a robust selection of merchandise for use around the house. They focus mainly on clothing, home and garden, health and beauty, and gardening.

7. Charity Auctions Today

Created in 2007, Charity Auctions Today is designed as an easy way for nonprofits to create auctions to use as fundraisers. They offer no fees on the money raised. Plus, setting up an auction is simple. Auctions work on all device platforms and include both credit card processing and social media tools.

If you’re not a seller, but instead interested in shopping, Charity Auctions Today is also a great choice. The site offers reliable security. Also, because it’s a popular site, you’ll find plenty of big-name brands offering products for bidding. Plus, you get the added bonus of helping raise money for charity.

8. LiveAuctioneers

LiveAuctioneers is a live auction replacement site. They’re a virtual substitute for a traditional, high-end auction. They mainly deal with art and antiques. Most of the sellers are auction houses and galleries.

The site uses live streaming to host live auctions from locations around the world. Buyers must first register before they’re allowed to bid, although registration is free. Because the merchandise sold is typically on the expensive side, LiveAuctioneers conducts robust verification of both buyers and sellers.

9. Auction Guide

Auction Guide provides real-time information on a wide variety of different auctions throughout Canada. Although the specifics change over time, you can find auctions for cars, tools, furniture, and much more.

Keep in mind the Auction Guide site doesn’t run these individual auctions. You’ll want to check out the reputation of each auction before participating. However, if you’re a fan of online auctions, Auction Guide is a great resource because new auctions are listed on a regular basis.

10. Webstore

At first glance, Webstore doesn’t look like it has much to offer. The design is definitely outdated and downright clunky. However, appearance aside, Webstore has lots to like for anyone interested in online auctions.

Webstore is a massive online auction marketplace. They offer no fees for selling or buying. You can find everything from clothes to cars to antiques and much, more. They’re one of the largest online auction sites, rivalling even eBay in size.

Final Thoughts

More and more Canadians are turning to online auctions for great deals on a huge range of items, from major purchases to minor household needs. However, you don’t want to trust just any online auction site. All of the options listed above are trustworthy sites with well-established reputations.

No matter what items you’re looking to buy, an online auction is a fast and easy way to snag an amazing deal. If you’re looking to gain a leg up, you might want to consider using the information and techniques in our Online Auction Guide to help yourself land the winning bid! Ready to get started? Check out how easy it is to bid on our auction site!

A Guide to Online Auctions in Calgary

Online auctions are more popular than ever before. They’re an easy and fun way to score great deals on a wide range of products, from major purchases to common household goods and everything in-between.

However, if you’re new to the world of online auctions, they can feel overwhelming and confusing. How do you find reputable auction sites with quality products? What bidding strategies should you use to win the items you want? Don’t worry if you’re not quite sure how online auctions work, because our simple guide to Online Auctions in Calgary covers everything you need to know.

Online Auctions are for Everyone

When you picture an auction, do you imagine a room filled with people bidding on rare and expensive artifacts or vintage sports memorabilia? While it’s true that some auctions feature unique, high-end items, many online auctions also sell everyday products at low prices. You can find awesome deals on a huge range of products, including:

Public Auctions are a great way to find great deals on items you use every day. They’re increasingly popular among young people with regular incomes, not just those looking for a way to spend their extra money.

How Do Online Auctions Work?

You’ll find no shortage of online auction sites in Canada. Some specialize in specific types of items, while others sell a bit of just about everything.

Reputable auction sites require registration before you can bid. You’ll need to set up an account with your real name, email address, and usually some other identifying information. Many people prefer to use a separate email address solely for auction registration.

The auction itself is usually simple and straightforward. Each lot will have a predetermined time limit. During that period, participants try to outbid one another. The highest bid at the end of the auction’s time period wins the item. Typically, soon after the auction closes, the buyer and seller will communicate via email to arrange payment and delivery.

Many items have a reserve price, which is the minimum price they’ll accept. If the bidder doesn’t meet this reserve price, the auction will close without a winner.

Internet Auctions are typically divided into two categories:

In a business-to-person auction, the site has physical control over the merchandise offered for sale. Many businesses, such as overstock, liquidation, or wholesale businesses sell merchandise exclusively through auctions. In other cases, a business might be involved in liquidation, so they want to sell everything at once in an auction. As a buyer, you’ll pay the auction site directly.

In a person-to-person auction, the seller has control over the items, not the site. The site runs the auction and connects the two parties, but the buyer and seller deal with payment and shipping directly. One example is an online auction site like eBay.

Browse Before Diving-in Head First

Almost every online auction lets you view the merchandise database before the auction starts. You should take advantage of this information to research the items you plan to buy, especially for unique items such as artwork or high-end items such as vehicles.
Learn the approximate value of the item you plan to bid on. Also, familiarize yourself with any aspects of the item that might affect your purchasing decision. Unlike an in-person auction, an online auction gives you plenty of time to research the items from the comfort of your own home.

Additionally, you can view online auctions such as our weekly Car Auction without having to participate. Watching a live auction is an easy way to browse or learn what to expect without having to spend a dime. Ideally, you want to watch an auction from the same online auction house that you plan to use later, but any online auction will give you a solid idea of how they work in general.

Be Prepared to Act Fast

Another common stereotype about auctions is that they move fast – and that’s true! Probably the single most intimidating aspect about auctions, online or otherwise, is the flurry of quick bids.

Although most auctions last a few hours, the time spent bidding on certain items can fly by in as fast as 30 seconds. Use the auction catalog to learn the order the items will be presented, so you’re ready to bid when the item you want is up for sale.

Set a Budget – and Stick to It

Auctions are fast and fun. Whether you’re new to the world of online auctions, or you’re an experienced participant, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and spend more than you should.

Set a budget beforehand. You want two limits. First, set a limit on any specific items you’re planning to bid on. If you’re not careful, you can accidentally spend more on an item than it costs in the store!

Aside from setting limits on specific items, also set a spending limit on the entire auction. A large online auction can hold plenty of fun surprises, so you might find yourself bidding on items without any preparation. Set a total spending limit, so you don’t end up striking a severe blow to your budget.

Understand that Sales are Final

Probably the biggest difference between an online auction and a traditional shopping experience is the ability to return. Items bought through an auction have limited return options. You’re rarely allowed to return an item simply because you don’t like it.

Instead, you’ll only have rescission rights. If any aspect of the product is damaged or is significantly different than how the seller described it, then you’ll want to request a refund. After that time passes, however, the item is yours no matter what.

Online Auction Lingo

Generally, you’ll find most online auctions welcoming to beginners. After all, these sites wouldn’t be nearly as popular if they were filled with insider terms and a confusing structure. However, there are a few terms you might not be familiar with.

Hammer Price (Sale Price)

The Hammer Price is the final bid price. When the auctioneer bangs his gavel for the final time, closing bidding on an item, the price he calls out is the hammer price.

Buyer’s Premium

The Buyer’s Premium is a cost paid to the auction house by the winning bidder. It’s a percentage of the item’s total selling price. Details vary by the auction house, so be sure to check before bidding. A Buyer’s Premium can be fairly high for a big-ticket item, such as a vehicle.

Price Realized

This is the final price paid. It’s the final selling price plus the buyer’s premium plus the sale price.

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to see why auction sales grow in popularity year after year. They’re a fun, easy way to find deals on all sorts of items. Even better, you don’t have to leave your house to participate! Our complete guide to online auctions in Calgary has everything you need to know to bid, win, and save.

How to Sign up and Bid at Graham Auctions

Do you need some help getting started with our Online Auction? Well, you're in the right place. Signing up to bid for the auction is a quick, easy and free process! You can do so in a matter of seconds online through our Online Bidding Portal. There are thousands of weekly new yyc deals on modern furniture, electronics, home decor, wholesale liquidation products, vehicles and much more to be had in our weekly Public Auction.

Here's a short video to help you with the Online Auction process:

Our Online Auctions are easy to access from the comfort of your home on your desktop or mobile device. Registering to bid is simple and totally free!

Let us guide you through the process in 5 simple steps:

Step 1: Find the "Bid Now!" Button to Access Our Auction Catalog

Click the "Bid Now" button at the top right corner of our menu. From there, you'll be redirected to our online bidding page.

Step 2: Select the Date and Type of Auction to View Available Products

Select the Upcoming Auction you wish to participate as a bidder, then find the green "Bidding Open" button under your desired date and Auction type.

Step 3: Sign-in / Register to Bid

Click "Register to Bid" under the auction information OR choose an item you'd like to bid on. A pop-up window will prompt you to sign up as a New Bidder (or Log On if you're a repeat customer.)

For first-time bidders — select the gray "New Bidder? Click Here" option.

You'll then be asked to input your email address and then confirm it. (From there, we'll verify that your email address is new to our system, to avoid duplicate accounts.)

Fill out the required fields with your contact and credit card information to complete your registration process.

Step 4: Bidding in the Auction

Once you're logged in, scroll through the Online Auction inventory. (In an average sale there are 10+ pages of products!) When you find an item you're interested in, go ahead and click the "Bid" button.

In the pop-up window, enter the amount you'd like to bid — then click "Confirm Bid".

Step 5: Enjoy the Online Auction, and Find Some Awesome Deals!

That's it! Keep an eye on your inbox after the auction ends — we'll email you letting you know whether your bids in the auction were successful. (Don't notice an email? Be sure to check your spam folder just in case)

If you found some value in this post – We'd recommend taking a look at our Guide to Online Auctions or our look at the Top Auction Sites in Canada.

If you run into issues, please call us directly at 403-777-9393 or contact our support email at info@grahamauctions.com. We're always happy to hear from our customers, and we'll get you set up in no time.

Thanks for readingSee you sale day!

Part #1 - How To Get More Money For Your Vehicle at an Auction

Jump to Part #2

Selling your vehicle can be stressful, annoying and, in many instances, flat out exhausting. You never know who to trust, and often you aren’t getting full market value for it because you'll likely have a stranger from Kijiji or used car trade-in appraiser trying to grind you down in price.

Have you ever considered selling your vehicle via auction? It's a quick and easy way to sell your car fast. By selling through a Public Auction sale, you’re exposing your vehicle to a competitive buying environment. We handle the negotiations based on the price and vehicle info you provide to us — while you sit back and wait for it to sell.

Here are some things we can recommend from our 20+ years in the Car Auction business that may help you get the best value for your vehicle at an auction!

Step #1: Service and Maintenance

You’ll want to go through the necessary service process on your vehicle before you sell. It goes a long way to do this beforehand to ensure we won’t have to declare any minor issues.

Checking all of these boxes is a quick + simple way to be sure your car doesn’t have any minor issues, which in turn will help you get the best value for your vehicle at a car auction! It’s all about the first impression with potential buyers. If the party interested in your vehicle signs out the keys from our secure office location, but goes to view the vehicle only to see that there are dashboard lights on indicating an issue, they'll immediately begin to wonder if there are other issues. If at first glance your vehicle looks like it hasn't been washed or cared for in months, they might assume that the vehicle was not well cared for.

Making sure the vehicle dashboard is free of warning lights is not only impactful, it's usually a fairly easy fix!

Example #1 - Something as small a TPMS light can steer a potential buyer away. This means the tire pressure monitoring system needs attention, which may cause a prospective buyer to assume the worst. However, this is an easy fix. Any auto parts store in Calgary will have a code reader in-store that you can use for free to get those lights cleared or get information on how to fix them.

Example #2 - If you have a hole in your tire, patch kits are widely available and inexpensive. Making sure your tires are in good condition and ensure they are holding air are essential factors that will help sell your car fast.

Mercedes-Benz GLS - Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz GLS - Mercedes-Benz

Step #2: Vehicle Cleanliness

As we've mentioned above — first impressions are everything when it comes to selling your car. From our 25 years of experience in the Car Auction industry, people tend to lean towards the vehicle with a clean, polished interior over the one with coffee stains all over the center console and fast food wrappers in the back seat.

Here’s a short checklist of things to keep in mind:

  • Wipe the dashboard, center console, mirrors and the rest of the interior to rid of any dust, stains or debris
  • Dispose of any garbage or personal items
  • Vacuum the carpets + seats
  • Purchase an air freshener to leave in the vehicle. From our experience — more common, recognizable scents tend to be more popular with buyers.

Step #3: Vehicle Book-In + Declarations

When your vehicle is going through the book-in process, it’s essential that you are fully transparent and declare all issues with the car.

Common problems that you’ll want to provide additional information on to avoid an unsuccessful vehicle transaction include:

  • Motor Issues
  • Address any illuminated engine lights
  • Rear-end
  • Out of Province
  • Vehicle Status

During this process, our industry-savvy staff members will happily work with you and decide what the best option is to go about processing and to sell your vehicle. If you're new to the whole process or haven't been able to find what you're looking for so far, we'd recommend taking a look at our roundup of the most reputable Canadian auction sites where you can choose amongst various online auction sites to help you find a solution that's a fit for you.

Part #2 - How To Sell Your Vehicle At Graham Auctions

Step #1: Bring your automobile to our secure storage facility

Graham Auctions is located at 84th St NE just off McKnight Blvd & Stoney Trail. You can access us off McKnight by taking the gravel road, OR you can take the Trans-Canada Hwy/16th Ave to 100th St NE, then get onto 32 Ave/Township Road 250 & right onto 84th St.

Need more help? ➡️ Directions to Graham Auctions

Step #2: Book your vehicle in for auction at our Main Office

Selling your car with Graham Auctions is fast & easy. We also accommodate contactless drop-off in Calgary to help keep the entire safe for everyone.. We also accommodate contactless drop-off in Calgary to help keep the entire safe for everyone.. We’ll collect some information including the year, make, model & mileage. If there are any known issues with the engine or transmission it is the owner’s responsibility to make that declaration during the book-in process.

Here's what you can expect:

  • Provide your vehicle info
  • Have an Auctioneer or staff member help you with pricing your vehicle
  • Kick back — Let us do the leg work to sell your car fast through our weekly auto auction

We have an industry-savvy & knowledgeable staff to assist you in pricing your vehicle, but if you’d like some other resources, we also offer the Canadian Black Value Book. Finally, we run Carfax reports on every vehicle to provide us with the full history of every vehicle in our car & repo lot. This ensures the protection of both the buyer & seller. That’s it! We’ll immediately get it up onto our website available for pre-bidding, get the word out everywhere about our vehicle sale that week and put it through our live car sale the following Saturday.

Step #3: Get Paid

Lay back and get the best return on your vehicle while letting us do all the work. We’ll contact you immediately regarding any reasonable bids lower than your set reserve price. With a successful sale of your vehicle, it’s now time to collect your cheque and get paid! Payment through our weekly auto auctions will be ready and waiting for you the following Thursday after the vehicle sale. That's it!

Do you know anyone looking to buy or sell a car? Let them know about the best car auction in Calgary! (Feel free to use the share buttons on this page to save yourself some time!)

Please Note: There is no run fee to sell your vehicle, however, we do charge a 10% commission. If we don’t have any offers after 2-3 weeks running through our Online Car Auction, we’ll recommend that you either lower the reserve price or to come and pick up your vehicle.

If you found value in any of the information you see here – you might want to consider checking out these online auction tips!

Thanks for readingSee you sale day!

Graham Auctions is located at 4321 84th St NE, Calgary, Alberta Canada. For those who prefer good old fashioned written directions, you're in the right place.

Where to find Graham Auctions in Calgary, Alberta

  1. Get onto 16th Ave / Trans Canada Highway toward 16 Avenue North W/16 Avenue North East
  2. Take the AB-201 N/Stoney Trail exit
  3. Use the right lane to take exit 74 for McKnight Blvd.
  4. Keep right, follow signs for McKnight Boulevard E
  5. Continue onto Township Rd 250
  6. Turn right onto 84 St NE
  7. Arrive at location: 4321 84 St NE

Alternate Routes

Directions from Airdrie

  1. Get onto AB-2 S
  2. Continue on AB-2 S. Take Stoney Trail NE/AB-201 E to McKnight Blvd NE E in Calgary. Take exit 74 from Stoney Trail NE/AB-201 E
  3. Take exit 271 to merge onto Stoney Trail NE/AB-201 E
  4. Take exit 74 for McKnight Boulevard E
  5. Turn left onto McKnight Blvd NE E
  6. Continue onto Township Rd 250
  7. Turn right onto 84 St NE
  8. Arrive at location: 4321 84 St NE

Directions from Chestermere, Strathmore etc.

  1. Take the Trans-Canada Hwy/AB-1 W to 32 Ave NE/Twp Rd 245 in Rocky View County
  2. Continue on 32 Ave NE/Twp Rd 245. Drive to 84 St NE in Calgary
  3. Turn left onto 32 Ave NE/Twp Rd 245
  4. Turn right onto 84 St NE
  5. Arrive at location: 4321 84 St NE
Still Having Trouble?

Need more assistance finding Graham Auctions? Feel free to give us a callOutside Regular Business Hours please see Frequently Asked Questions about the Auction.