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Auctions And The Traffic Jam

Dec 22, 2007
Online auctions have become an online flea market and they are huge. Cars are available at auction online as well as jewelry, antiques and virtually every other commodity you can think of (including famous letters and artifacts). You can even bid on farm machinery in an online auction environment.

I've likened online auctions to a global garage sale and I still think that's a pretty good picture of what it's like. You simply use cyber cash instead of spare change and you wait for the delivery guy to show up with your treasures.

In a brick and mortar retail store you may have secondary shops where you can send overstock items or discontinued merchandise. In online retail you actually have a unique advantage over your brick and mortar counterpart. Why? Online retailers have a function called 'online auctions'. The vested interest for online auction sources like ebay is that they have built in fees that help make their business profitable.

You may ask why this is a benefit for online retail. To answer that question let's take a look at the brick and mortar business. The owner sells overstock product at a sizeable discount to a secondary supplier. There is NO marketing potential in selling extra product at a discount to someone who will not provide you with the ability to increase traffic to your own store. However, this is what most brick and mortar stores do to manage their overstock or discontinued merchandise. Interestingly even brick and mortar stores are discovering the value of online auctions as a marketing tool for their business.

Now to the online business opportunities - If you have overstock merchandise you can use online auctions to sell it. You simply set your minimum threshold for an acceptable bid and wait for bargain conscious consumers to arrive. The reason this method is different is that as a seller you can set your profile to include information about your online store and can even provide some sense of link to your online business.

So, to boil this down as simply as possible - brick and mortar stores give up marketing potential when they sell to overstock companies while their online counterparts look to online auctions to not only sell their excess merchandise, but also drive traffic back to their online store with the potential for additional purchases.

Online auctions provide a perfect opportunity to appeal to price conscious consumers and let them know that you care about keeping prices down for everyone.

The truth is you can sell some of your merchandise through an online auction even if it's not an overstock item and the reasons have everything to do with marketing your business. You don't even have to spend lots of time and money on auctioning a few items. Some businesses consider it a part of the cost of doing business because those few items can assist in getting non-traditional buyers to your online portal.

Auctions are a potential goldmine for savvy online business owners. Have you given it a try yet?
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