eBay users are accustomed to only two “standard” formats for sales on eBay: either the ‘regular’ auction which involves bidding and waiting; and the Buy It Now, which is an instant purchase. But there are three other formats that are less well known.
1. Live Auctions
Before eBay, the traditional auction included live bodies in chairs and an auctioneer up front (talking so fast he was frequently unintelligible). Any buyer can still participate in these live auctions via eBay. Live auctions are a hybrid – a buyer is ‘sort of’ present in a live setting yet is at home using an Internet connection.
The products for sale are usually expensive and unusual. There are such items as expensive and unique coins, Asian art, native American artifacts, incredible jewelry, costly furniture, memorabilia from major sports stars and even history. Today, for instance, there are documents signed by John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, James Madison and Ulysses Grant (he confides that he was strenuously opposed to the
“wicked” war with Mexico).
If you choose to participate in a live auction, be certain that you register first because you can’t just drop in on a whim.
2. Private Auctions
Private auctions are similar to the typical auction that we’re all familiar with except for one detail – the identities of the bidders are kept secret. Only the seller has access to the names.
Why would anyone create a private auction? It’s usually for one of three reasons:
* The item is quite expensive and buyers might be uncomfortable having others know they can afford such
merchandise. Their concern about their financial status is most likely misplaced because it is quite possible to distance yourself from eBay contact information, but much of selling is about perception.
* The buyers might be embarrassed by the nature of the merchandise.
* Some sellers habitually use private auctions to make it harder for their competition to snoop on them.
3. Restricted Access Auctions
This is usually for sales of “adult” items. The main purpose is to prevent children from seeing this kind of merchandise, and is similar to having covers on racy magazines at store checkouts.
To bid on these items, the buyer must:
* Be 18 years old
* Must have supplied credit card information to eBay.The theory is that no one under 18 can get a credit card and therefore cannot get into these sections.
* Agree that he is voluntarily accessing restricted access auctions
In addition, restricted auctions are excluded from the Featured pages. So if you are a seller using this format, your listing will be harder to find.
Even though they are less well known, these three formats for auctions on eBay still account for tens of millions of dollars in sales each year. If they suit your business model, you might consider them.