Sign up today and save 1000s of items from landfill
An insider's guide on the top tips for becoming an expert at selling in online auctions
5 Mins

Top tips for selling at online auctions: part 1

Jacob Margiotta
Jacob Margiotta

If you haven’t sold through auction before and are unsure of how to get started, fear not - you’ve come to the right place.

Here at William George we have worked hard to remove the challenges and make it a simple and rewarding experience. 

Following our top tips for selling at auction will ensure you maximise your returns and remove the headaches. Get ready to sit back and enjoy the thrill of watching the bids roll in!

Let’s start with the basics – with no upfront fees and 0% seller commission you won’t find a better place to consign your items, so with that out of the way, how do you attract more of our loyal buyers to spend their hard earned cash on what you have to offer?

Lights, camera, AUCTION!

All of our auctions are online. Why is that so important? Well, firstly it means you can retain control of your items until you know they are safely paid for. There are no costs in transporting your goods to us, and you don’t have to pay for their storage or insurance in our possession. Good for your wallet, and good for the environment. It also means we can reach a global audience for you – and our buyers can bid from the comfort of their own home. 

In order to do so they will want to know exactly what they are getting. 

Our top tip for selling at auction is to approach your listing from the point of view of a potential buyer. 

Ask yourself “If I was interested in bidding on this item, what would I want to know?”

If you can honestly say when you have submitted your listing that you have answered that question then you are onto a winner, and the photos that really sell your item will be the jewel in the crown! Think of these images as your shop window. 

Quality and quantity of images is vital

When it comes to submitting photographs with your item, the sky’s the limit. We don’t place an upper limit on the number, and of course a listing for a classic car for example will demand more pictures than a stamp, but photos for auction lots are like pounds in the bank… the more the merrier! 

A picture might be worth a thousand words, but one on its own is unlikely to give bidders a clear vision of what they are looking for.

  • Think top, bottom, front, back, sides and any distinguishing marks or features.
  • Snap a variety of angles, in good light, with a plain background. 
  • Show off the best features and unique aspects of your pieces. If the item is particularly large or small, then take an image of it alongside other objects to give a sense of scale. 
  • Don’t be afraid to clearly show any imperfections to would-be bidders. Bidders value honesty and transparency over perfection.
  • For jewellery including watches and clothing for example, we prefer not to use pictures of items being worn or modelled so stay behind the camera where possible!
  • Use the photo as it is – adding filters or effects or altering the image creates a false impression and may leave buyers disappointed when they receive the item. 
  • 6MB is the file size limit for each photo you provide. This is plenty big enough to present a high-quality image for the listing. Be sure to check the file sizes before starting your upload process – it can be really frustrating to get to the photo upload and find you need to resize or retake your pictures!

Tell us about it!

Describing your items is key to your success.

Due to our market share, strong brand and vibrant marketing campaigns we attract a wide audience to come and look at the items you consign. 

Naturally that means a range of buyers from experienced collectors all the way through to more cautious first-time bidders. Any one of these visitors could become the proud new owner of the pieces you list! Your job at this point, is to give enough detail to ensure that bidders can make informed decisions.

Look at your descriptions through the eyes of the bidder - you know your item like no-one else, but the trick here is assuming that no-one will know anything unless you tell them! 

Short-changing bidders when it comes to your description will damage their confidence. If you’re lucky, they will enquire to find out the missing detail and you’ll get a second chance to win them round, but only if you answer promptly and clearly. 

  • Be honest and descriptive. Give measurements where they are relevant and details of the material, the metal, the colour, the provenance.
  • If it’s a vehicle tell us the mileage, the service history, the MOT expiry.
  • If it’s a diamond, provide detail on the cut, clarity, carat weight and colour – tell us about any previous appraisals and certification. 
  • If you’re selling a watch, tell us the bezel diameter, the model and serial numbers, the paperwork and servicing details, let us know any marks or scratches.
  • Bidders want facts rather than opinion. They will make up their own minds, so don’t embellish things. Hyperbole isn’t required. Keep it factual and concise.
  • Clear statements are best - leave the bidder in no doubt about what you are saying.
  • Give precise measurements and stay away from phrases like “possibly” or “may have been” – just stick to what you know for sure and can evidence.

For more information, visit our page for sellers or contact us and one of our account managers can help you get started.