From Beanie Babies to large pieces of industrial equipment, if there is a product that can be bought and sold, there is probably an auction site selling it. Auction items may be brand-new or showing signs of wear - the common denominator is motivated sellers and interested buyers. But why should Web businesspeople like you use the Web as an additional sales channel? The reasons vary from simply moving excess inventory to inexpensively test-marketing a new product to streamlining your entire sales process. Here are just a few reasons why online auctions merit your consideration.

  1. Get Rid of Excess Inventory
    You ordered a gross of Bruce Springsteen T-shirts to sell at a local concert. The concert sold out, the T-shirts didn't. How can you recoup your investment? Online auctions offer the perfect medium. There are many more fans of "the Boss" in cyberspace than in your neighborhood, so why not list your shirts in an online auction? Depending on where you list, you'll at least make some of your money back; who knows, if your message and presentation are good enough, you may even turn a profit. Internet auctions can also be a great solution for moving older product models and dated styles.
  2. Sell Specialty Items
    You own a specialty store that sells hot sauce and other fiery gourmet ingredients, but you have many slow days, and the rent still comes due! Use the Web's wide reach to find a worldwide market for your specialty products. Some businesses are so successful selling items at auction that they end up having to get more storage space for more inventory. Auctions are the perfect way to augment slow sales of niche products.
  3. Expand Your Reach
    There are already hundreds of millions of Internet users, with many millions more coming online each year. The Web provides the opportunity for you to grow your local or regional client base for your goods and services into a worldwide clientele. If you can ship it, you can sell it at auction.
  4. Test-Market New Products
    You'd like to try selling some products online, but you want to test the waters before investing in an e-commerce storefront. An online auction provides the perfect testing ground. List your products on a variety of auctions and see how successful you are. This is also an excellent way to test product pricing. Perhaps you just developed a great software utility but you're unsure what users will pay for it. You can get a quick-and-dirty read on your optimal price point by picking five technology-oriented auctions and listing your product on each auction with a different price point. Then calculate the average selling price from all five auctions, and you have a good starting price for your new product.
  5. Increase Sales with a New Channel
    Business owners often sell products in auctions simply to increase sales by adding another channel. Some of the bigger online auction sites draw huge audiences every day. EBay, for example, logs some $7 million in sales per day. One approach is to simultaneously list your products at multiple auction sites. Even if you sell only one product a day at each auction site, your product sales will increase dramatically if you're listed on dozens of sites. Also, this low-cost distribution channel enables you to offer the same goods to more people at a lower price, translating into higher sales volume and additional revenue for you.
  6. Take Advantage of Web Cost-Effectiveness
    Selling over the Internet is much more cost-effective than traditional sales methods, which require significant overhead for salespeople, catalogs, retail store space, leases, personnel taxes, health insurance, and more. Factor in your low overhead and then set the minimum bid. Your profit is locked in.
  7. Make Sales 24 x 7
    Bidders have the opportunity to participate in your auctions 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year, regardless of where they're located. Time and distance become irrelevant.

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Published on: Apr 13, 2000