What will 2014 be like for your business? It could be your best year ever as an auctioneer. Great auction careers don’t happen by accident, they take hard work, flexibility, and a little luck. Here are five things to watch out for in the auction industry this year:
Cloud based tools. Busy auctioneers understand the value of time. Using the internet, you can safely store information in the “cloud” and be able to retrieve it from different locations. You can work efficiently outside of the office; plus, your team always has up-to-date information. Maintaining your own servers can be expensive and require technical expertise you don’t possess. If your critical auction business like results and buyers are only stored on a server in your office you are falling behind and likely using outdated technology.
Internet Marketing. An auction is only as good as the marketing. Forget SEO, yes I said it. Forget it. 95% of auction companies struggle to keep their auction calendars current on their website or worse they use a free pug in and give any benefits of SEO to a different company entirely. Stop worrying about how Google spiders your website and focus on what is most important: CONTENT. You need to be up-to-date with new content as often as possible. Photos sell items, so get as many images on your website as possible. People search online. Make your content compelling.
Mobile Marketing. Smartphone growth will continue to explode in 2014. Tablets are on fire. While they may not replace he traditional computer they do offer marketing potential and potential pitfalls. Check your website on a smartphone, a tablet, and a wide screen monitor. Each device has a different size screen. Your website needs to look professional on each of those screens. Buyers often look for auction address and other information from their phones, make sure it is accessible and easy to load. If you allow online bidding make sure it can be done from a mobile device.
Open Mind: Technology is changing fast. Tablets and smartphones will have a real impact on live and online auctions. Real time photo displays and rapid inventory entry are already being used by cutting edge auction companies. Imagine signing a contract and leaving that auction site with the auction already listed online. Now stop imagining and start doing it. The technology is in the marketplace. Many auctioneers are happy with their outdated technology, especially clerking software. There are better systems in the market today. RF radios are outdated and expensive, clerking should be wireless. Don’t be afraid to look at better technology, you might love what you find.
More Competition: Competition is coming. Not only are there more “online auctioneers” entering the space who do not invest the resources to be live auctioneers or build a business, there are external forces putting pressure on the auction industry. Anyone from a used car dealer to an antique shop owner can be an online auctioneer. Most online bidding platforms will take anyone willing to pay their commissions. If third party competition wasn’t bad enough, EBay and Craigslist allow sellers different outlets to liquidate items without the use of auctioneers. Competition is going to get fierce in 2014 and beyond. Having a strategy to be more productive and keep an open mind is critical.
The year of the Item: 2014 is the year of the auction item. There is a shift in the buying public from attending auctions to buying items. Gone are the days of 500 people milling about on a Saturday afternoon to attend an auction. Many of today’s younger buyers know what they want, and they what to buy it on their schedule. Like it or not, the successful auctioneer will adapt to meet the needs of the buyers. Marketing should focus on the items, not the event. Photos and quality descriptions become even more important when marketing online. What was once considered rare can be found by the dozens on the internet. We need to make sure the item we have to sell is the one those bidders covet for their collection.
I hope these tips and ideas help everyone prosper in the new year. Good luck in 2014.