Don't be fooled into thinking that all online auctions are the same. That's the word from Park Village Auctions' Director, Clive Lazarus, who explains the various types of online auctions in which buyers and sellers alike can participate.
PVA introduced online bidding to South Africa in 2011, revolutionising the way that auctions are conducted.
"Our system was the first to allow real-time bids and let all participants see who is bidding against them online and on the floor. Before then, bids were restricted to static bids which excluded buyers from the action while it was happening," says Lazarus who goes on to show how far the pioneers have come since.
Today, PVA has offers three types of online auction options designed to suit its clients' specific needs and objectives.
A webcast auction sees proceedings run "as per normal" except that all the attendees are online. A live webcast shows the auctioneer conducting sales in lot order. Online attendees bid against each other in real-time. Bids and sold prices are displayed on an on-screen dashboard throughout. The results are immediate—like its conventional counterpart the goods are sold on the fall hammer.
This type of auction is ideal when higher lockdown levels are imposed as the event is entirely virtual. Webcasts also lend themselves to situations where lead-time is limited as they can be arranged relatively fast.
Simulcasts auctions see an on-site and internet auction run concurrently. Screens on the floor display online activity, allowing bidders online and on the floor to compete against each other in real-time.
Lazarus advises that all of PVA's on-site auctions accommodate real-time remote bidding as well, and adds, "This allows greater global reach, yielding better results for our clients."
Simulcast auctions prove to be a suitable solution when venue capacity is restricted as it allows more bidders to bod on the floor and from anywhere in the world.
PVA favours the simulcast option when they host "multi-location auctions", where assets are located at more than one of their national branches.
Timed Online Auctions
Timed auctions allow bidders to view and place bids online, but the bids are not contested in real-time. Instead, the auction continues over a predetermined timeframe, for example, 24 or 48 hours. Bids can be placed on assets at any time before the auction closes, after which the highest bid on each item wins.
An example of which can be seen live on PVA's website, where an Earthmoving Equipment timed online auction will be underway until Tuesday the 19th of January, 2021.
The perk of a timed online auction is that it allows time for more considered bids.
"With the advent of social distancing and lockdown restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, our digital bidding solutions enables the business to continue with minimal disruption." Says Lazarus, who explains that clients (both buyers and sellers) adopted online auctions without hesitation last year.
When asked about on-site auctions, Lazarus says, "Where there are physical attendees at viewings or on auction day, we adhere to the strictest hygiene protocols before, during, and after. We limit the number of entrants; entry is subject to wearing a mask, sanitising and no-touch policy. We also keep meticulous records of all participants."
Lazarus believes that, while there is a place for online and on-site auctions, the future lies in online bidding and will become the standard if it has not over-taken physical auctions already.