The power of R1 auctions


Currently, there are almost 15,000 items on bidorbuy auctions with a R1 start, popularly called Crazy Auctions.

Unsurprisingly, the most populated R1 sections are Stamps and Coins & Notes, with 2668 and 1786 items respectively. The Jewellery & Watches category, which boasts 1920 “crazy R1” listings, is not far behind. Antiques & Collectables  follow with 1151 listings.

With almost one thousand R1 listings, also well represented is the Garden, Outdoor Living & Pets category. The majority of listings here are seeds of every kind imaginable, from flowering plants and bonsai trees to edible crops, though other garden and outdoor goodies are also offered. Solar lights, sold either in sets or individually, seem to be a popular R1-auction item.

Other well-populated R1 auction listings are to be found in Electronics (878), Computers & Networking (578) and Cell Phones & PDAs (529).

(The numbers were correct when we checked, but fluctuate continually.)

Many of the items currently featured in the bidorbuy “crazy auctions” are at the opening R1 (or less). However, some have left their humble starting point far behind.

Thus, the iPhone 5 that began its trek from R1 is now at R8800; the sterling silver pitcher stands at R9021; and this diamond engagement ring at R5600. All three have room for growth, with auctions closing on 14, 18 and 19 November respectively.

Bid amount-wise, the record-holders of the moment in the current round of “crazy auctions” are coins (as if there was any doubt about that).

A 2012 Walter and Albertina Sisulu Protea Prestige Set (closing 11 November) currently stands at R20,000; a 2007 Mandela and de Klerk Gold Proof Set of five coins (closing on 25 November) is at R36,500; and a 2012 5oz Gold ANC Centenary Nelson Mandela medallion (closing 8 November) has reached R85,100.

And now for the all-pertinent question: why do some bidorbuy sellers risk it all and put their wares on R1 auctions? Remember, there is no reserve price on R1 auctions and, according to bidorbuy rulers, the seller has to let the item go to the highest bidder, no matter what the amount happens to be at the end of the auction. Plus, the seller is not allowed to inflate the shipping fees (not on R1 auction listings, or on any other items offered on bidorbuy).

Some of the items being sold on R1 auctions can be end-of life items. Others are bestsellers. In any case, the R1 listings can help sellers sell more, sometimes at a higher price too (after all, bidders have been known to get carried away).

Even more importantly, R1 auctions can help sellers increase their visibility on bidorbuy and gain new customers, because a peek into a highly visible R1 listing can lead the prospective buyer to check out other offers from the same seller.

Of course, that kind of strategy works over a longer period of time and over a bigger number of items sold. So, it’s probably a good idea for sellers to plan, time and promote their R1 auctions, always keeping an eye on the bottom line.

Oh, and yes, you’ll get good advice about R1 auctions and many other finer points of selling on bidorbuy when you attend our Selling Seminar.