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Online Auctions Become More Competitive

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Online auctions were supposed to change the way people shop. Technology enabled dynamic pricing would create an efficient way for demand to meet supply by reducing transaction costs (such as setting up a physical auction site) while increasing the pool of potential bidders. Sounds logical but the irony of economics is the assumption that humans act in a rational manner.

Founded in 1995, eBay is regarded as the first and most dominant mass online auction site. But even for eBay, online auctions declined steadily for the past 10 years. A recent Stanford University paper, “Sales Mechanisms in Online Markets: What Happened to Internet Auctions?” analyzes the decline of auction share from January 2003 to January 2011. During that time, eBay’s revenue from daily listings activity declined from more than 90 percent of total revenue to less than 50 percent. As a percentage of all listings the fall off of auction listings was even more dramatic, falling from nearly 95 percent of all listings to less than 30 percent. This reflected the overall industry trend of online fixed pricing commerce growing rapidly and online auctions declining.

Flash Sales

The dominance of fixed or posted pricing became more pronounced with the advent of “flash sales sites.” The top U.S. flash sales merchants, including Gilt Groupe, Rue La La and HauteLook generated more than $2 billion in 2012 sales and total retail e-commerce reached $186.2 billion in the United States in 2012. These sites offer more transparency and predictability. As a member of the site you were informed when a sale would occur, what was on sale and how long the sale would last. The transparency of the pricing is crucial because the clearance price for the luxury label items is why you buy from these sites. I have used flash sites as both a member making purchases and as a vendor selling product.

So what’s next?

E-commerce and the online auctions industry is very fragmented. The industry research firm IBISWorld reports that small companies make up over 75 percent of the market. The two largest players ( and eBay) are expected to account for about 11.4 percent of industry revenue in 2012, with no other company holding more than 5 percent market share. So the barriers to entry are low but this also makes achieving scale more difficult.

A twist to competitive bidding

I was told by a friend to try out a new auction site called Bizulu. (I co-own a women’s apparel brand called 51inc and we listed several pieces on Bizulu) What sets Bizulu apart is their use of “gamification” in their auctions. Gamification is the use of game mechanics and game design techniques in non-game contexts. I had not realized how pervasive gamification is. According to Gartner by 2014 70 percent of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one “gamified” application.

They do this in two ways:

1. Their flash sales only last five minutes
2. There is an element of strategy or gamesmanship as one bidder can “blitz” another bidder

When I interviewed Brendan Smith, the founder, he told me that he and his coworkers observed more than 800 auctions over a five month period and they noticed that 80 percent of the “action” occurred in the last 5-10 minutes. Also, a five-minute auction allows time constrained people to participate and see the result. I imagine that’s as close as one can get to immediate gratification participating in an auction. Bidders have to be ‘present’ the full five minutes which reduces sniping (the practice of placing winning bids at the last second).

The “blitz” is an amount that can be used to reduce the amount of a competing bid. A bidder is given 5 percent of your bid to use as a blitz. For example if I bid $100, I would then have $5 worth of blitzes available, if I increased the bid by $50 I would have an additional $2.50 to “blitz” a competitor.

The auction feels like you are playing a hand of poker with elements of strategy without the exploitative practices of pay-per-bid auctions.

Clearly social gaming is influencing not only consumer behaviour but increasingly purchasing. What sites like Bizulu show is that an engaging and entertaining auction process is nearly as important as the auction’s winning bid.

Turkey Time in Texas

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Featured Auctions

Northside ISD San Antonio TX – Selling: Weight Equipment, Cafeteria Equipment, Metal & Wood Shop Equipment, Furniture, & More – 12% B.P.

New Caney ISD TX – Selling: JLG Scissor Lift, School Bus, Auto Shop Equipment, Matal Band Saw, Backhoe/Trencher, AV, Cafeteria Equip., Appliances, Janitorial Equip., Furniture, Fume Hoods, Lockers, & More – 13% B.P

Spring Branch ISD Houston TX – Selling: Lawn Equip., Cafeteria Equip., Club Car Utility Cart, Weight Equip., Child’s Furniture, Metal Shop Equip., Appliances, Janitorial Equip., Musical Instruments, Maint. Equip., Electronics, Lg. Qty. Student & Office Furniture, & More 13% B.P.

Calhoun County ISD TX- Selling: School Buses, TVs, AV, Scoreboards, Office Chairs – 13% B.P.

Aransas County ISD TX – Selling: Crown Victoria, School Buses, Chevy S10 Pickup, EZ GO Golf Cart, A/C Equipment, Cafeteria Equipment, Pianos, Computer Equipment, Electronics, Kilns, Lab Equipment, Furniture, & More – 13% B.P


If you do not Inovate you evaporate

Why Online Auctions are better then Bidding at a live auction.

  • Online auctions give you the capability to bid from anywhere in the world.
  • When purchasing from an online auction you have the capability to place a Max bid and walk away from your computer.
  • With a live auction you have to drive to the location stand around for hours to wait on your lot to finally come up so you can bid. Onlinepros gives you 10 days to bid until the day your items starts closing. Pay attention to each item closing and date all items close at a different time.
  • Online auctions make paying for your items quick and efficient. On Onlinepros all invoices are sent to the My Invoices on the Bidder Area at 5pm after the auction closes. With our new Credit card system all you have to do is click on pay online and press pay now. How quick and easy is that!!
  • We allow up to three days to remove your items.  Live auctions all you get is one day.

At Onlinepros we dedicate our time to being the best #Texas #online company around. We appreciate our customers and try to keep our system with the most current software available for your online #bidding needs.

Written by Veronica Weaver

Scary savings and deals

Featured auctions

Dilley ISD : Selling – Chevrolet pick up truck, 2005 Chevrolet Impala, Dodge Magnum V6 pick up truck, John Deere Tractor, Barely used A/c and Furnace and more closing Monday November 3, 2014 auction near San Antonio Texas

Three Rivers ISD: Selling- 1991 International School bus, International Ward School Bus, Blue bird van mini bus, International carpenter crown school bus with wheelchair lift, Wells Cargo Utility Trailer and a Silverado Service truck. Near San Antonio Tx auction Closing Monday November 3, 2014

Galena Park ISD: Selling – 1999 1/2 tom pick up truck Dodge Ram, 1995 International School Bus, used box fan, Groen smart steam Boilerless steamer, Delta Shop master, and more Houston Tx auction closing Friday November 7, 2014

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Houston Texas online Auctioneers

Spurger ISD is a comfortable community nestled in the outskirts of Beaumont Texas. Spurger is a new client with the website. We encourage all our buyers to take a look at the variety of items that are offered by online auction. They are selling used buses, air compressor, sewing machines, student chairs, Av equipment, used tractor implements and more.


Go online to bid today!!