The “Info Lot”
The “Info Lot” is the best way I have found to get important auction information to buyers who are bidding online. It is no secret that the majority of bidders never read the terms and conditions associated with an auction. Many buyers skip all the detail pages and go straight to the auction catalog.
This behavior is understandable when buyers are perusing multiple catalogs online looking for interesting items. There is no need to learn about the terms unless they find items they are interested in, by then it is too late. Additionally, most buyers experience a straight forward, event free transaction. Most terms and conditions deal with extenuating circumstances. When you shop online at sites such as Amazon or Zappos have you taken the time to read their terms and conditions?
Every auction has important auction information that can easily be overlooked. This can create issues for the buyer, seller and auctioneer. The relevant information I am referring to can include: checkout dates and time, pick-up location, shipping, and auction preview information. If you have ever had the call after the sale saying “I didn’t know that” you know what I am talking about.
You can get key information to online bidders by adding it directly to the auction catalog; I like to refer to it as the “Info Lot.” The Info Lot is a lot inserted into an auction catalog designed to provide a piece of information for bidders as they review the catalog. The Info Lot is like an announcement from a live auctioneer in between selling two items. An Info Lot should not receive bids and can easily be an “a” lot added in between two actual items.
Why create Info Lots?
1) Easy for the Buyer. By putting information in the actual auction catalog you can greatly increase the exposure for the details you don’t want buyers to miss. While we wish every bidder understood everything about every auction, we all know that is rarely the case. The Info Lot almost forces buyers to review the terms you deem necessary for them to review prior to bidding.
2) Save time and Money. The Info Lot reduces phone calls and e-mails regarding basic questions about the auction. Even if it is a buyer’s fault for failing to understand key terms, it still falls on the back of the auctioneer to solve the problem. Problem solving after an auction takes time away from other projects.
3) Drive prices higher. If you ship items, using an Info Lot is a great way to notify buyers that you provide shipping. This is the type of basic, but extremely important, information that bidders tend to learn via the Info Lot as opposed to reading the Terms and Conditions of an auction. Even if shipping info is buried in a lot, a large UPS logo will always get a bidders attention if they are interested in shipping.
4) Keep buyers informed. You can update the Info Lot as you add new items to your auctions, and buyers will remain informed. It’s never good to wait until completion to post your catalog online. As soon as you have lots ready you should make them public to the world. When you are building the catalog and adding items save the last lot in the catalog to mention more items will be added shortly. This way you get maximum exposure for the best items as well as informing buyers that more lots will be coming.
5) Grow your business. The Info Lot can include an option to opt into your e-mail list to get updates about a particular auction and every other auction you conduct. If you use a portal website like Proxibid or Bidspotter this can be a great way to add e-mail users to your list from their site (just check with your sales agent). If you use a white label site like Maxanet or NextLot it gives you one more chance to collect an email address even if you already have a place for that on your website.
6) Generate Interest. All auctioneers are competing for the same audience, and they take very little time to look at what we are selling unless they find something interesting. Some very savvy auctioneers post a video as an overview of the items they are selling as the first lot in their auction. It is amazing how many people will not review a 700 lot catalog but will watch a video of the auctioneer walking past all the items to be sold.
Info Lots can be used up to the auction day and then deleted from the catalog or left in throughout the entire auction. To me, using an Info Lot online is just like reminding bidders at a live auction about the important details of the sale during the auction in between items. Why not continue that good and efficient practice online? Info Lots keep buyers informed about important information even when they don’t take the time to look for it on the auction details page. Will you consider an Info Lot at your next auction with online bidding? Why or why not?
Here are links to the examples I used above:
(Note how they added a link to get to the second day of the same auction. Great idea)
(this catalog is full of additional information)
(Small auction but all the necessary info in covered within the auction catalog)
Thanks for reading! Have a great day.