New Auction Center Increases Productivity for Auction Managers

AuctionAnything.com has officially launched the beta version of the new Auction Center. This is a significant update to our fully hosted online auction software and is specifically designed to help auction administrators further streamline their data entry and auction management tasks. As with the existing Image and Payment Centers, all content is organized using easy to navigate tabs. Each tabbed section now includes a “Video” button which provides direct access to AuctionAnything.com’s “How To” Video Series hosted on our YouTube channel. We invite you to subscribe to our channel and keep up-to-date with the latest system enhancements.

For an overview of the Auction Center, please view the following video.

In addition, all ten Auction Center videos are compiled into a playlist which may be accessed at:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMCrD7owpW8Gq3DJYeNbjHsu6I6OjF4wr

Auction Center Highlights

  • The Views tab provides immediate insight regarding how many listings are currently open or have recently closed within the last 14 days. Insight to the data is further broken down by mode (i.e. active or pending), listing type, bid status, options (e.g. Instant Purchase or Reserves) and other criteria. All counts are direct links to a list view of the associated items under the Search tab. This is a great place to see exactly what is happening in your auction.

    Auction Center - Views Tab

    Auction Center - Views Tab

  • The Totals tab delivers similar functionality to the Views tab. However, all listing information is summarized by year, month and day with the specific dates linking to the list of items under the Search tab. This area is perfect for comparing data from different timeframes.
  • The Prefs tab enables the administrator to set his/her listing preferences. These settings help make the new Create tab the ideal tool for quickly listing items. New listings may be entered faster than ever with remembered settings (e.g. type and category), a new rich text description editor (featuring templates) and drag-n-drop image selection. Listing an item couldn’t be easier.

    Auction Center - Create Tab

    Auction Center - Create Tab

  • The Search tab includes a host of criteria, broken down into logical sections, and provides a powerful search tool. The data display can be quickly tailored to meet the needs of any report and search results may be easily saved to the Reports section for fast access, and/or export, in the future. Search “tags” make modification to data queries a breeze. In addition, several bulk editing functions are provided. Last but not least, users may drill down into Member Details, to view and edit customer information, without leaving the page. This is the ultimate time saver!

    Auction Center - Search Tab

    Auction Center - Search Tab

  • The History tab allows bulk upload users to not only see and review items contained within a specific upload job, but also remove errant uploads if needed. Similar to the listing counts within the Views and Totals sections, all links provide immediate access to a list of items under the Search tab.

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Broadcast an Online Auction “On-air” with Electronic Boards

Overview

AuctionAnything.com has recently enhanced the Board Management utility associated with broadcasting online auctions. This advanced feature enables auction managers to quickly and easily group items onto designated boards and schedule them for “on air” display. The electronic board output may then be televised using a scan converter. The display will automatically update high bid amounts in yellow (and high bidders if applicable) as incoming bids are logged in the system.

What is a “board”?

An auction board typically contains 5 – 7 auction listings. The display consists of the following data components:

  • Board Title Display
  • Item Identifier (optional)
  • Item Title
  • Item Value
  • Item High Bid
  • Item High Bidder (optional)
  • Item Donor (optional)
Board Example with Donor Name

Board Example with Donor Name

Board Settings

The “on-air” display may be customized by setting the following options:

  • Select default background image or enter custom image
  • Choose number of items to display
  • Show/Hide item identifier (i.e. Lot Number or Product ID)
  • Display item Donor or High Bidder (optional)
  • Select font family
  • Set font sizes
Board Example with High Bidder

Board Example with High Bidder

Creating a Board

Adding items to a board is now “drag-n-drop” easy. Just use the new, auto-complete keyword search to locate items by Title, Product ID or Lot Number and drag them from the list to the highlighted board. Once an item is “boarded” it is removed from the available, open item list. Search matches may be sorted by Lot, Value or Closing date/time. There are also quick search buttons to locate all boarded/not boarded items. When searching boarded items the respective board is displayed for convenience. Total board values are also provided.

Please note that the Board Management feature is located within the new Auction Center under the “Boards” tab. Further information regarding the Auction Center will be posted soon.

To see the new Board Management console in action please view the associated “How To” video below. Happy auctioning!

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All Aboard! Let Your Auction Sponsorship Sail.

It’s only natural to get caught up in the activities associated with collecting donations for your online auction fundraising event. After all, there are calls to make, e-mails to process, products and gift certificates to collect, and listing descriptions to write. However, don’t forget that your AuctionAnything.com software contains sponsorship capabilities too. Integrating paid sponsorships into your online auction can produce an additional revenue stream.

Your donors present terrific sponsorship opportunities, so make sure you let them know that you can deliver additional visibility during your online auction in the form of sponsorships. Here are some options the Sponsor Management feature provides:

Sponsors Page

A “Sponsors” link can be displayed in the main navigation menu of the auction web site which links to a pre-formatted Sponsors page. The Sponsors page may contain as many write-ups as you wish to display. The page is automatically created based on the sponsor information (i.e. images, links and descriptions) provided in the management console.

Header Sponsors

For ultimate sponsor visibility, add sponsor logos, or custom images, to the header section of the auction site using the header sponsors option. For example, our Sample Auction Web Site utilizes 300px by 100px graphics in the site header to demonstrate this feature. The rotation order and viewing duration may be easily set as desired.

Header Sponsor Example

Header Sponsor Example

Category Sponsors

More targeted sponsorship opportunities exist by offering Category Sponsors. Display a sponsor’s logo, or “call to action” graphic, at the top of each category search. In addition, the same display can be delivered to the top of the bid form for items in the respective category. Multiple category sponsors may be displayed depending on the size of the associated graphics. For details on how to manage Category Sponsors, please see the “AuctionAnything.com – Online Auction Category Sponsors” video tutorial on our YouTube channel.

Other Uses

If “traditional” sponsorships don’t fit your online auction model, consider leveraging this handy utility to provide additional exposure for:

  • Your Facebook page
  • A “Featured” item
  • Complementary services
  • A Special Event or Promotion

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Deliver Online Auction Items Anywhere

So we hear you’re looking for another way to increase awareness of your online auction web site. Well, how about trying out the new, scrollable, auction item widget? It’s a great way to deliver attractive, auction content to external, or third party, web pages. Here’s a quick sample of the widget in action using a live feed of auction data from our friends at iGavelAuctions.com.


 

So, What Exactly is a Widget?

Widgets, also known as web widgets, are handy little pieces of code which can be used (i.e. embedded) just about anywhere you have the ability to create or update web content. You see them everywhere, from Google ads to Facebook Like buttons. They deliver “pre-packaged” content which is already formatted and ready to be displayed wherever you wish to put them.

 

Keep It Simple Stewart!

The beauty of the widget is its simplicity. As you can see in the “How to” video below, a widget can be created and implemented in minutes with just a few easy steps:

  1. Customize the widget and generate code with a few clicks.
  2. Copy and paste the code where you want the content to show (e.g. a blog).
  3. Save the changes to your new page.

 

But Where?

Anyone who wishes to help promote your auction web site can incorporate the widget code within their own web presence. It’s up to you where you permit your widget to be used. Some common places to use the auction widget include:

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Promote Your Online Auction with Twitter

If you’re not using Twitter to help market and promote interest in your online auction web site it’s time to start. Yes, as in today. If you’re thinking I don’t Tweet, want to Tweet, have time to Tweet or even know what a Tweet is – don’t Tweet it. I mean “don’t sweat it”. The Twitter concept is simple and used by millions. Share content important to you and useful to others (in 140 characters or less of course), and those interested in what you have to say can “follow” you to stay informed and/or pass that information on to their followers by “retweeting”. And you can do the same.

Twitter and Your Auction Software

If you’re not convinced you should be tweeting about your online auction, and you should be, you can still benefit from Twitter without doing anything. All AuctionAnything.com auction software packages come set-up to leverage the power of Twitter. Visitors using Twitter can click the “Tweet” button on any item page (i.e. bid form) and quickly share with their followers. The item title and associated page link are automatically added to the Tweet so people can easily spread the word when they see something they like or think their followers may like. Just think, donors for your online fundraiser, consignors selling on your commercial liquidation auction, or anyone just interested in sharing can help gain exposure for your online auction – instantly.

Add a Hashtag

Want to see who’s talking about your auction items? A convenient way to “categorize” Tweets generated by different people is to add a Hashtag to your auction’s Twitter settings. Well, what’s a Hashtag you ask? As described on Hashtags.org, a Hashtag is used “to create a thread of conversations around a specific theme or topic”. In the example above, the Hashtag #MyAuctTag appears in the Tweet automatically. So without even having a Twitter account you can search Twitter to see when there are Tweets containing your designated Hashtag. To learn more about selecting a good Hashtag, check out How to Start a Twitter Hashtag.

Come to Mention It You Need Followers

Now it’s time to take the next step. You’ve already read about how your online auction bidding software can benefit from Twitter without your direct participation. However, it’s important you have a Twitter account and take an active part in marketing your online auction. If you don’t have one yet, take a few minutes and set-up a Twitter account. Don’t wait – just do it right now and get it over with! Make sure to select a Username which best represents your organization and add your logo too.

Once you have an account, enter your Twitter username in the auction system under the Marketing Center. Your Twitter “handle” will automatically be added to Tweets from the bid form (see @AuctionAnything in the screenshot) along with any Hashtag you’ve supplied. In Twitterville, reference to your Username in a Tweet is known as a “mention” and they’ll help get you noticed. You can also track mentions under the @Connect section of Twitter.com.

With your Twitter Username enabled, the auction site offers yet another useful option. The “Follow” button will now show up under the main navigational menu. You can set this button to show on just the home page or all pages, and even display the number of Followers you have if desired. Your site visitors are now just a click away from following you on Twitter. However, it’s up to you to make it worthwhile for them to tag along. So make sure to Tweet and join in on the conversation.

Tweet Tips To sTart

Now that you’ve set-up a Twitter account, entered your Twitter information in the auction system and conquered your fear of tweeting here are a few ideas to get you started.

First, you’ll want to make sure your auction members know you’ll be using Twitter. If you send out a marketing e-mail ask them to follow you. You can even offer an incentive. For instance, pick one of your followers and provide free shipping with their first order, or provide a discount. Twitter-only offers can be very effective.

Next, be consistent when Tweeting. Establish a realistic schedule which keeps your followers informed about what’s going on with your auction without being too overbearing. Remember, quality is better than quantity and users like consistency. For example, make sure to announce the following highlights if you run an event-based auction or periodic sales.

    • Early Registration Promotion
    • Auction Opening Date/Time
    • Deal of the Day (i.e. item starting and closing the same day)
    • Special Offers (e.g. a limited number of tickets for an event)
    • Unique or High Profile Items
    • Auction Closing Date/Time
    • Pick-up and Pay Schedule and Instructions

Stay connected by not only pushing out information, but asking and answering questions. Don’t be afraid to interact and converse with your followers and show them you’re about more than just marketing your company or promoting your event. Tweet about interesting stories, or resources, you come across in your industry. Or, pull your donors into the conversation when discussing your fundraising event.

Lastly, jump in with both feet and fear not. Although social media can be somewhat intimidating you need to start somewhere. When it comes time to market your business, or auction fundraiser, don’t be fearful of saying the wrong thing. Just be yourself.

Until We Tweet Again

Make today the day you embrace Twitter as part of your online auction marketing strategy. It’s one of the easiest, and most fun ways to communicate and stay engaged with your customers. Maybe best of all, it’s only 140 characters at a time. So, go forth and Tweet up your auction business and be patient while you build a following. “Good things take time”, and building your brand using Twitter can be a good thing.

References

Check out the Twitter Glossary and Best Practices pages for more information.

Don’t Forget to Follow AuctionAnything!

We invite you to follow us on Twitter @AuctionAnything. We’ll keep you abreast of important news by Tweeting when we post to our blog (www.AuctionAnything.com/blog), upload a new, “how to” video or just want to share some good information.

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