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The auction industry is experiencing some major disruptions that could mean unique opportunities to grow your online auction business. And as a small business, you have a distinct advantage. Read on to learn more.

Legacy auction houses are changing their approach.

Some of the biggest names in the auction industry—such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s—have started doing things very differently. Auction houses are no longer relying on on-site evening events. They’re experimenting with hybrid in-person/virtual auctions at different times of day to make events more accessible to potential bidders around the world.

Major auction houses are putting new categories of items up for bid. Business trends have led Sotheby’s and Christie’s to shift their focus to more modern art from the 20th and 21st centuries. This is a major departure from their previous focus. And it may lead to some significant ripple effects throughout the art and auction worlds.

If these major industry names can make drastic breaks from tradition, so can you. Pay attention to what your customers want and any changes that are already underway so you can react quickly. Don’t be afraid to try something different.

Supply chain disruptions are driving up demand at online auctions.

Even with much of the COVID-19 pandemic behind us, many industries are still struggling. For example, supply chain issues create more demand than they can accommodate. Some people aren’t willing or able to wait for new stock to become available. As a result, they’re choosing to buy used items through an auction for the first time.

One example is the heavy equipment industry, where auction participation is incredibly high compared to recent years and bidders are paying a premium for machines. Experts say that “long lead times on new equipment and exceptionally high productivity in key industries” are the primary contributors to this unprecedented increase in auction activity for the heavy equipment industry.

Changes in supply and demand can mean big opportunities to grow your online auction business. Keep an eye on the news so you can stay informed about which industries are experiencing shortages or other shifts in demand. Your online auction business can help industry leaders capitalize on the state of the market, which means growth for both you and your clients.

Wealthy individuals are holding online auctions for their private collections.

The COVID-19 pandemic forcing so many events to go virtual. People are more comfortable than ever making purchases online—even big ones. Celebrities and collectors are taking advantage of this by skipping the public auctions and holding their own events. Neal Schon of the band, Journey, is auctioning off over 100 collectible musical instruments from his private collection—and he’s not the only one.

If you’ve traditionally worked with businesses and nonprofits, consider offering your online auction services to individuals. You could become the go-to auctioneer for wealthy collectors and public figures in your area and beyond.

Do your research to find collectors in your area. See who in your network could connect you with people who might be looking to sell valuable assets or special items. Think about how to finesse your branding and overall approach to create a luxury experience for your wealthier clients.

Your small online auction business has an advantage.

As you consider what all these trends and disruptions to the industry mean for you, keep in mind: You have an advantage. As a small online auction business, you have complete control over how you operate. So you can be far more nimble and adaptive than many big-name competitors.

Be creative, be alert, and be ready to act fast. With the right mindset, you can turn industry upsets into incredible opportunities.

You have the software and experience to provide an online auction platform for hire!

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