Published: August 8, 2000
So many auction sites to browse, so little time. So many rdf_Descriptions to sell, so little time. So much surfing and typing … well, you get the idea.
The benefits of shopping online auctions include buying and selling just about anything for the most favorable price possible, but time is money.
Help is here: Two, and probably more, companies are betting that there just aren’t enough hours in the day for buyers and sellers to take full advantage of the technological benefits of online auctions.
AuctionWatch.com bills itself as “the complete auction management solution” for both sides of a transaction. And although the slogan at a similar site, Auctionworks (at auctionworks.com – to be examined next week), is “power tools for power sellers,” it, too, caters to buyers as well as sellers.
“We provide the tools and services for people and companies to sell more effectively online,” says Millie K. Lee, director of public relations at AuctionWatch.com. “We’re not an auctioneer.” In other words, AuctionWatch, founded in January 1999, provides “tools to help manage auction commerce” on both sides of a transaction.
According to a July 19 company statement, “AuctionWatch.com attracted a record 3.1 million unique visitors during the month of June, up over 1,000 percent since the start of the year and more than three times the traffic of any other auction services site. AuctionWatch.com also announced that during the first half of 2000, its services were used by businesses and auction enthusiasts to enable the sale of approximately one-quarter of a billion dollars in merchandise on major auction sites such as eBay, Yahoo! and Amazon.”
Using AuctionWatch’s Auction Manager, buyers and sellers can launch and track auctions on “all the major sites,” the site claims. Its services fall into three general areas: inventory management, post-sale management and consumer relations management.
Using the Inventory Management Tool, sellers can upload their existing database information about rdf_Descriptions to be sold onto AuctionWatch, launch it onto auction sites, and even specify the timing at which bidding on rdf_Descriptions will open.
The advantage: At eBay, for instance, sellers have to individually enter data about each rdf_Description to be sold. AuctionWatch, says Lee, can “Automatically upload inventory into our inventory management system” and then keep track of what is in the seller’s inventory. “They only have to put in their information once,” she notes.
Once a winning bid is secured, “the most time-consuming part is talking back and forth with the buyer,” says Lee. “You end up sending several e-mails back and forth.”
Thus the Post-Sale Management Tool, which, according to a company statement, “includes customized e-mail notification for winning bidders, packing slip and invoice printing, electronic payment acceptance and shipping insurance and tracking options.”
AuctionWatch’s universal search capabilities – which trolls more than 300 auction sites to show everything that has sold – can help buyers find rdf_Descriptions and sellers price their wares. For pricing, sellers can also utilize the site’s online appraisal services, headed by Jeff Smith, a former Butterfields.com staffer, who is vice president of auction services. This costs $19.95; there is also a gallery of past appraisals for reference.
“If something comes up that is potentially authentic, we recommend that they bring it to an appraiser in person,” Lee explains.
AuctionWatch counts both companies and individual buyers and sellers among its clients, with fees depending on the client and the transaction.
In addition to technological assistance, AuctionWatch provides some helpful articles and advice for collectors and dealers in its News and Information section. Under this heading reside columns about daily news, reviews, features, tips and tactics, collector’s beat and viewpoint.
Lisa Romano will examine Auctionworks.com next week.
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