Online auctions compliment live room auctions, they won’t replace them.
As a provider of online auction technology, it might seem strange that we would seek to compliment live room auctions, rather than replace them. But that is just what we do.
Step onto a tube in London and you will see countless commuters, minding their own business, in a desperate attempt to avoid all human contact, eye or otherwise (a London thing). Look closely and you’ll see bankers reading kindles, hipsters reading paperbacks, mothers playing on iPads, children playing with toy cars. The world has not been replaced by technology. It has been improved by it.
In the same way, I believe that online auctions will boost live room auctions, by making people more aware and less afraid of the method of sale.
There will always be a place for the human, face to face element that the live room brings. The live room auction is not just a place to buy properties. It is a place to network, to socialise and to exchange industry information. The property sector has always been a personal one and we believe that tradition should be upheld.
Online auctions compliment this tradition and give auction houses an alternative way to sell properties and retain instructions. Properties that are not sold in the room can be published online, providing vendors with a alternative way to sell their property after the event. Vendors who miss a catalogue closing date now don’t need to wait for the next room auction or move to a competitor; instead they have the flexibility to list through an online auction and set their own auction period.
Vendors who might not want the publicity of a live room auction could use an online auction as a less personal way to sell their property.
From a buyer’s perspective, online auctions are a convenient way to purchase a property, without the hassle of having to travel to the room or the bureaucracy of proxy bidding.
Online auctions might also be used as a stepping stone for new buyers into the auction world, who might feel intimidated by the intensity of the live room. Buying online is no longer an uncomfortable experience. Consumers spend thousands online, whether on flights, cars or food and because of this, there is familiarity with the process. New online property businesses, such as property crowdfunding or online estate agents will only make buyers more at ease to buy property online.
Mobile internet access has now overtaken fixed access (through a laptop or desktop). Most buyers now have access to mobile internet, which means they can place a bid online, from anywhere. For auction houses, the pool of potential buyers is growing.
As buyers become more tech savvy, there will be a need for auction houses to respond. Auction houses can enhance their reputations by demonstrating innovation and creativity, by creating new and flexible ways to reach out to more customers, without losing the traditions and values that are enshrined in the heart of the auction sector.