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►Mobile Bidding Considerations

July 7, 2015 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
photo of auction display

Auction Bidding is Enhanced by Displays

Today a client asked me

“Quick question – mobile bidding. Does it enhance an auction? Have you seen increased participation (read larger bids) utilizing mobile bidding?”

and I replied:

 Good question!

Typically mobile only makes sense when there are a lot of attendees, a lot of auction items (100+) and the silent auction revenue is $30,000+.

Pros:

IF people use it, they can set max bids and not have to either log back in or walk to a table – most mobile bidding systems can just continue to bid for them up to a set maximum.

Auction displays can take less space

Everyone can see all the auction items if they wish (on a device) without walking around

You can close the bidding later

Cons:

Typically costs $3000-$5000+

Either you have to pay for one of the mobile company’s staff to be on site (could add $1000), or you’re 100% responsible for any kinks or problems. Unless you have a savvy tech person, this could add significant stress.

It can be hard to get people to engage in mobile bidding for several reasons:

 ~Some require downloading an app, though some just have a web address people key in

~Some say mobile is less social, since people move around less and must spend time staring at their phones

~Requires either than people use their cell phone data plans (and battery life) or the club has a reliable wi-fi connection that’s open to everyone; some mobile systems rely on wi-fi and can get bogged down or crash

Results:

Whether or not mobile adds revenue above and beyond the cost of using the technology is a source of heated debate! Just a few weeks ago auctioneers from around the country shared mixed reviews in an online forum. When the technology works as promised,  is adopted by the attendees and gets used, certainly there are benefits to being able to shop from anywhere in the venue and not have to physically revisit a bid sheet.

On the other side, paper silent auctions have worked for decades by generating that person-to-person, last-minute competitive bidding atmosphere, especially when your professional auctioneer is making announcements and making the auction closings fun for everyone in the room.

What mobile definitely does is eliminate the need to clerk, record, tally or key in silent auction purchases once bidding closes, and for some groups, that fact alone makes the technology worth several thousand dollars, just to eliminate checkout!

 There are 10-12 major mobile bidding companies nationwide, all scrambling for footing and market share. All have demos you can do or samples you can view.

Industry software leader Greater Giving has great educational info with just about everything you need to know about mobile here.

Because of the many pros and cons (and how those affect your overall revenue/schedule/logistics), it’s something you should ask your professional auctioneer about as early as possible.

Like this great client of mine did! Thanks for the question, Sara 🙂

Categories: Better Buyers, Consulting, Event Logistics, Silent auctions, Technology - Tag: , , , , , , , ,

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