By Robin Liu, June 2015 – Founder of DownsizeSale.com.
Mar 25th, 2016
A few days ago, a real estate auctioneer Bill from Toronto contacted me and asked me for a solution to integrate online auction with ballroom auction.
He was going to conduct a ballroom auction to sell 20 pieces of land spreading around the city he business is located in. He was also planning to list these 20 pieces of land on my auction platform bidwin.org for online auction. The online bidding will start 14 days prior to ballroom auction date, and will end with the hammer down in the ballroom. Ballroom people will bid on one property at a time. For each property, once the ballroom bidding starts, there will be bids coming from both online and ballroom people. The integrated system should enable the online bidders and ballroom bidders to interact as if they are all in one ballroom auction, that is to say:
1, Once the ballroom bidding starts, all the time the auctioneer must be able to see and know the winning bid from the online bidders, so that he always knows the next price to call out to the ballroom audience.
2, the online bidding must be transparent to the ballroom audience, that is to say, all the time the ballroom audience must be able to see the winning bid from the online bidders.
3, the integrated system must immediately transfer every bid from ballroom into online auction system so that every online bidder can know the new winning bid. The online bidders can not see the ballroom. All they can see is the current price(the winning bid) on the webpage on their bidding devices such as desktop computers, tablets and smart phones. The integrated system must make the ballroom bidding transparent to online bidders as well.
4, once the ballroom bidding starts, the closing time for online auction should be change to Indefinite. Auction is announced as closed when the winning bid standing unchallenged for 3 minutes. The auctioneer’s final three calls before hammer down should also be broadcasted over internet to all online bidders.
Let us first clearly understand what is a ballroom auction and what is an online auction.
What is a Ballroom Auction?
A ballroom auction, also called the live on-site auction, is usually conducted in a meeting facility or a room such as a hotel convention or indoor location. The auctioneer stands before the audience and onlookers and calls out the bids and asks for higher bids on the property being sold.
What is an Online Auction?
Online auctions are conducted over internet. There are no on-site bidders and on-site auctioneer. Online auction bidders compete on a service or product and submit their bids online or over internet. Online auction has specific timelines(opening and closing dates). Where online auction differs from the webcast auction is that while it is held on the Internet, it is not a live auction. There are no live bidders and no live auctioneer.
I should say that my auction platform bidwin.org is designed to work for this scenario, and my complete solutions for it is:
1, in the auction platform bidwin.org, create an account called “Ballroom-Bidder”. This account will be shared by all ballroom bidders. Every bid from the ballroom audience will be submitted to the auction platform under Ballroom-Bidder account.
2, in the auction platform, set up the online auction for the property to be sold. The start date of the online auction should be a date 3 to 14 days before the ballroom auction event. The closing time of the online auction should be half hour after the start time of the ballroom auction event. The start date and time of the ballroom auction should also be announced on the bidding webpage, so that every online bidder knows that they will be also competing with ballroom bidders and when that will happen.
3, on ballroom auction date, in the ballroom, get a laptop computer, projector and Internet access ready. Connect the laptop to the projector using a VGA cable and project the computer screen onto a white wall. The white wall should be in the front of the ballroom so that the audience and the auctioneer can conveniently watch it.
4, have an assistant sitting beside of the laptop. The assistant logs in auction platform bidwin.org as user “Ballroom-Bidder”, and navigates to the bidding page of the property to be sold.
5, When the auctioneer announces the start of the ballroom auction of that property, the assistant clicks on a button “Ballroom Bidding Now Starts” on the bidding page. Once that button is clicked, the closing time for online auction is changed to Indefinite, and auction will be announced as closed whenever the winning bid standing unchallenged for 3 minutes.
6, whenever there is a new bid coming from the ballroom audience, the assistant inputs that bid into auction platform, that is to say, every new bid from the ballroom audience will be submitted to bidwin.org auction platform for the same user account “On-Site Bidder”. Assistant should use a sheet of paper to write down the bidder’s bidder # and his price for tracking of on site bidding.
7, auction will be announced as closed whenever the winning bid standing unchallenged for 3 minutes.
Robin Liu is the founder and CEO of downsizesale.com, an estate sales and downsizing sales service provider in Canada.