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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.