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A list of dos and don'ts for selling in online auctions, from the UK's leading online auction house.
4 Mins

Selling at auction: Dos and Don'ts

Jess Gibson
Jess Gibson

Auctions can be a hugely exciting endeavour, whether you’re buying for the first or twentieth time, are an experienced seller, or a relative newbie in the game. The sheer excitement of peddling your wares on such a unique and professional platform can cause you to miss out on a few crucial steps or make rash decisions that, in the end, can prove detrimental to your end goals.

Selling at online auctions comes replete with a vast range of benefits for sellers from all walks of life: help to refresh your business to remain viable in an increasingly digital age; let you accumulate some extra cash to help declutter and downsize your home to fund those retirement travel dreams; earn you a substantial and varied audience to whom you can market and sell your goods (whilst reducing the costs often associated with other platforms for selling); or simply to supplement your home’s existing income.

If you want to be successful, regardless of your reason for selling, there are a number of things you need to bear in mind, so that you avoid making any mistakes and maximise selling potential.

So, here at William George, we’ve put together a list of ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ for you to consider when selling via online auctions…


  • Choose a reputable auction house! Do your research – what sorts of items and categories do they cater for? How trustworthy are they (check out their Trustpilot reviews)? What percentage of your revenue do they charge? What is their relationship with the sellers like?
  • At William George, we’re proud to say that we are well-known for our close connection with the sellers on our platform, with dedicated account managers available to help with the selling process if you need it. Not only this, but we also boast 0% seller commission and free listing in collective sales, meaning that you get all the profits from your sales and can avoid the expenses often associated with selling via online auctions – great news, huh?
  • Consider the best ways of describing and marketing your wares carefully, deciding exactly what it is that your potential customers and audience are looking for, and catering towards it effectively.
  • Be honest and upfront about the condition and origin of items, providing adequate detail and images that display any damage, whilst informing potential buyers of the lot’s origin – if the items are from your own personal collection, or are being resold from pallets of retail returns. Transparency is highly valued by all buyers, and thus your processes need to be secure and trackable.
  • Check your spelling and descriptions closely, as any errors can damage perception and prevent your items being located amongst the plethora of others available, leading to a loss of sales.
  • Research the value of the items you’re selling - look up the sale price of items that are similar to yours, or consult an expert if applicable to help appraise the value.


  • Place your items for sale across multiple platforms. If you’ve already listed them on an online auction, you’ve committed to their availability on said platform, and would be breaching the agreement made when initially registering your lots.
  • Assume that one simple image and line of text is going to be enough to tempt buyers; dazzling descriptions and multiple photographs accompanying the listing are much more likely to draw in potential buyers.
  • Worry about the level of work involved! At William George, we make the entire process simple, easy-to-understand, and enjoyable. We handle the marketing, sending out e-mails featuring our upcoming and live auctions to our extensive audience and utilising social media to promote them to the right demographic, meaning that you don’t need an in-depth understanding of the internet or website-building process, and can avoid the work and financial investment necessary to sell using other channels.
  • Feel the need to list all your items at once if you have a large amount of stock; you want to encourage repeat purchases, whether or not you intend to build a business, make a little bit of extra money, or simply sell some of your unwanted items and collections to make room at home. Selling in batches instead demonstrates that you’re reliable, in terms of both regularity and trustworthiness and you could gain a loyal following.

If you want to develop a more formal business via online auctions, relinquish some of the pressure that a more digitised age has caused your existing business, rehome your collections, or find a suitable home for handmade items, this list should have you fully prepared.

So, why not take a look at our Seller Hub, and see just how we can help you get started?