How to Win an Online Auction
The basics of winning an online auction
Research the Retail Item (if available).
Before you even think about bidding research the item you are interested in. Check the prices and varieties available in physical stores and online. Check retail sites like http://pricegrabber.com for the cheapest brand-new price available
Research the auction item.
Search the auction site for current bids on the item. Read thru a few of the selections and make sure you understand the available options, types, and differences available. In the auction site search the completed auction (this might require click on ‘advanced search’ and checking the ‘completed auctions’ option. Most online auctions will allow you to view the last 30 or 60 days of completed auctions. Browse the successfully completed auctions to get a good idea for the price point. Don’t just focus on the highest or lowest. Look at the overall range and see if you can spot why any differences might exist.
Check the payment method for the auction site.
Most auction sites accept Paypal, but others accept different types of online currency. Most do not directly accept credit cards. Specific auction sales may accept personal checks or just money orders. Familiarize yourself with these options before you bid on any item so that you will be prepared when you win!
Set your Highest Winning Bid.
Before the auction starts, you must set your maximum bid in your own mind. Since you’ve researched the retail price and the previous auction prices you already have a great idea of what you’ll pay. NEVER bid above the retail price for an item. A mystery of online auctioning is that many; many times you will see an item sold higher then commonly available in stores or online retail. The maximum bid should be something you are comfortable paying and should fall somewhere within the previous winning bids on the auction site.
Check Shipping Prices.
As you find the listing you are interested in double-check the shipping price. If no shipping price is listed DO NOT bid on the item. Many times the listing will ask you for your zip code to give a customized shipping amount. Fill this information out to see what shipping will cost. This is one of the hidden fees of an auction and many times a place where buyers feel cheated. Don’t forget to watch for those ‘insurance required’ auctions as well. Often a seller will charge a required five to ten bucks extra for insurance. If the shipping price seems high – stay away!
Those buy-it-now auctions are nice but most often will result in the buyer paying more.
Be patient and bid on those 5 day or 7 day auctions. The result will often be a lower buying price.
Last Minute bid.
As long as you have the time available wait until the last 5 minutes of an auction. The online auction name for this is ‘sniping’. Often times you can find an off-peak auction time, sneak in during the last 5 minutes of the auction and grab the item for a steal.
Never lose your cool!
No Matter what you do – NEVER lose your cool and get carried away in the competitive spirit of the auction. You know the price you are willing to pay, you’ve researched the item, you’ve decided on the Maximum bid. Stick with it. It is fun to bid at an online auction and it is far too easy to get carried away when the clock is ticking down to see those words ‘you are the highest bidder!’ Keep in mind there will always be another item to buy.