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Are you new to online auctions and want to know how they work? An online auction is an auction held over the internet. Here's a free guide to learn more.
4 Mins

How Do Online Auctions Work?

Lewis Findley
Lewis Findley

What is An Online Auction?

Have you ever wondered what an online auction is? Perhaps you want to get involved but have some questions?

An online auction is an an auction conducted over the internet. Once registered, online bidders can place bids on items included in the auction's catalogue which are called lots.

There are many different types of online auctions such as a reverse auction, English auction, first-price auction, Dutch auction and more.

In this guide, you'll learn about online auctions and how they work, how to get involved and what you need to look out for.

How Does an Online Auction Work?

How does an online auction work?

To know how an online auction works, it's necessary to know what type of auction you're in!

At William George, we provide timed-online auctions where the auction is held for a certain period of time e.g. two weeks.

Over the course of the auction, bidders can place bids on lots and be informed if they are the highest bidder via email.

But, what is a lot?

In their most basic form, a lot will contain a description, image(s) and an opening price. 

At the end of the bidding period, if a bid has met the reserve, or selling price, the lot is considered sold.

Advantages of Online Auctions

Benefits of online auctions

Due to the flexibility of online auctions, it's created advantages for online bidders. Examples include:

  • Better Deals.
  • Variety.
  • No need to physically attend the auction. 

Online auctions are increasing in popularity and this is attracting new sellers and bidders.

With this increased popularity, online auctions are becoming a fantastic alternative to traditional channels, as they offer bidders something different. 

How Do I Register For An Online Auction?

How do I register for an auction?

To register for an online auction, you will need to create an account on that particular platform.

For example, at William George, you can find us on The Saleroom, I-Bidder, BidSpotter and our own website.

To create an account, you'll be prompted to enter personal details such as:

  • Name.
  • Address.
  • Card details.

Once the account is made, you'll be able to register for an online auction.

When you have been approved, you'll be able to bid once the auction starts. 

How does bidding work at an auction?

How does bidding work at an auction?

To bid in an online auction, you'll need to be registered and approved.

If you're unapproved for an auction, you'll need to contact the platform or the auction house to understand what the problem is. 

To ensure bidders have the best experience possible, lots can have increments applied to them. The goal of this is to avoid erratic bidding situations.

For example, once a current bid reaches £100, the increment may go from £10 to £50 or even £100. That is to say, the next minimum bid could be £150 or £200.

This means bidders can only increase their bid in multiples of the new increment.

How to Win an Online Auction

How to Win an Online Auction

To win an auction, you will need to achieve the reserve or your leading bid is accepted by the seller. 

Once a lot has been won, you may need to wait for the auction to finish before you are informed of the post-auction process.

Note - this process can vary from auction house to auction house.

You'll find information about winning lots in the auction details or if you contact the auction house directly.

Online Auction Payment Options

Online Auction Payment Options

If you win a lot in auction, you'll be invoiced for payment. 

What you may find on this invoice are fees such as a buyer's premium. 

A buyer's premium is a percentage of the hammer price which is applied to the final sale price.

For example, if a lot sold for £100 but the auction had a buyer's premium of 15% then 15% of the final sale price is added. In this case the price would be £115.

Tips For Bidding in Online Auctions

Tips For Bidding in Online Auctions

During an online auction, you can experience every emotion as you patiently wait for your winning bid to land that hidden gem. 

However, there are important things that you need to take into account which can have a dramatic affect on your auction experience.

Final Words

Online auctions are a fantastic alternative to buying online and it only starts with one click!

At William George, you can find a wealth of items which includes bathroom, jewellery, cars, antiques, art and more!

To see how an online auction looks, click the button below to see some of the catalogues we have.

You don't need to register to view the lots. However, if you do want to get involved then we'd love to have you!

Is it time you started your online auction experience?