As the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt traditional work practices, many business sectors are creatively adapting to online models to achieve their financial objectives. One area seeing massive growth is the online auction space.
The recent introduction of social distancing rules and a ban on auction gatherings and open homes has forced many auctioneers and businesses to consider online auctions and private sales instead.
For the majority of these businesses, online auctions are a foreign territory, fraught with unknowns. However, one outfit well-versed in the online auction marketplace is GraysOnline.
Grays had their first livestock auction in 1922 and moved to online auctions in 2000. If anyone could stake a claim as Australia’s King of online auctions it would be them. However, getting to number one has taken considerable investment in systems and research on customer behaviour according to GraysOnline CEO Chris Corbin.
Corbin suggests transitioning from a physical sale to a pure e-commerce marketplace isn’t something that can be done overnight.
“As an example, online auctions are about more than just streaming a live auction, they involve attracting interest, ensuring you have the ability to track and re-target customers, and managing complex bidding engines. In the online environment, bidding is a 24/7 business and needs to span longer periods and drive heightened engagement than the typical in-person auctions,” he says.
Then there are the logistics traditional auctions see people gathered to bid simultaneously on an item – whether that’s a house, a car, an artwork or a bottle of wine… From a live stream perspective; attempting to get all the registered bidders for an online sale with a reliable connection is unrealistic, especially if they’re expected to out-bid each other in real-time.
“There are lots of things to consider when moving to an e-commerce environment. I would caution anyone looking to go into this space to consider security, server load and customer data at the forefront of planning. Transitioning to pure online is not something that can be spun up quickly; Our platform has been decades in the making and has evolved into one of the countries leading e-commerce marketplaces,” Corbin added.
Averaging an impressive 4.5 million website visits per month, GraysOnline has ‘been there and done it’ when it comes to pure online e-commerce transactions.
With the ban for in-person auctions announced by the Prime Minister recently, hundreds of auctioneers around Australia scrambled to sell equipment, cars and homes with untested technology over the weekend. Unsurprisingly, the results were dismal. Corbin said vendors may have to tear up the rule book and devise a new playbook for online sales.
“People act differently online, so you can’t expect a copy and paste from traditional auctions to work. We have tweaked the model for over 20 years,” Corbin concluded.
Corben encourages equipment owners and manufacturers, car dealerships, boat owners and wineries struggling to trade in the current environment to reach out to Grays to become a vendor partner. GraysOnline’s platform includes over 2.9m registered customers/bidders, who can access all products 24/7 from the comfort of their homes.
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