Over Reliance on Auction Aggregators
Too many Auctioneers have spent the past 3-5 years building up their online business by using third party traffic aggregators or bidding marketplaces. This strategy has a nasty side effect in that it comes at a cost of to their own online brand and data collection tactics. Whilst these channels may have provided rich pickings in terms of new, geographically richer customers (ergo profit…), there are significant risks ahead. Auctioneers that don’t have a fully functional web site, with the quality brand independence to attract potential vendors – and build quality data lists – will regret it. Aggregators offering simple cookie cutter white labelling for the Auctioneers core web presence are a false saving.
It is vitally important that Auctioneers understand that their own brand independence is key to survival. A balanced approach to online presence is best practice, and our key clients understand this. They use a number of aggregated channels and marketplaces to their mutual advantage. They learn what works from each partnership. They know that having a powerful up to date fully branded web presence in their own right; one that is automated and user friendly allows them to react quickly to any changes in the market without causing any damage to their core brand.
Most importantly they they can measure their results independently.
Online Branding in the Auction Industry is ‘Behind the Curve’.
It’s a fact that online business is moving faster than ever. Over the past 10 years some of the biggest names in digital have come and gone. Who remembers Napster, Friends Reunited and MySpace? The large digital brands are trying to acquire and consolidate. In the Auction industry some of the larger players are already putting their charges up for small to mid size Auctioneers as they seek to dominate by claiming they own the buyer market. Auction Houses need to be agile enough to choose the 3rd party platforms that work best for them, to build their own data lists, and to switch quickly if required.
Add to this that in 2016 Google formally announced a move to a ‘mobile first’ weighting for search rankings. The majority of emails are now also opened on a mobile device first. However, when we visit Auctioneers web sites in the UK, Europe and the USA a huge proportion of the web sites are not mobile responsive; and in many cases the branding is not in keeping with their classical offline branding! Online consumers will run a mile when they see out of date poorly maintained web sites. Yet another key risk to Auction Houses that ignore their own online brand presence…
Unfortunately, a lot of the web sites used by Auctioneers are no longer fit for purpose. They probably cost a lot of money when they were first constructed. They often don’t display auction catalogues gracefully, photos are small, and very few allow users to create accounts and leave commission bids online. They just don’t offer users an experience in keeping with their expectations on a modern and maturing internet.
‘It’s 2017 and most Auctioneers can’t deliver a simple ecommerce solution for bidding to their clients – this is unsustainable’.
What Should Auctioneers be doing in 2017 to Take Back Control?
Auctioneers need brand independence to survive – it was our headline; and we firmly believe this is the message for 2017. It doesn’t have to be expensive, you don’t need to change established back office systems. Your brand can make the paradigm shift to a fully mobile responsive web architecture that is totally user friendly with tools like Auction Marketer Lite and Classic.
Our entire Auction Management system has been designed to give control back to smaller and medium sized Auctioneers that have been over reliant on the ‘market makers’. Auctioneers that understand the importance of developing brand independence, with one eye looking over the horizon, using agile online tools to take advantage of 3rd party technologies on their own terms will be the winners in the future.