Silent Auction Tips

3 Misconceptions of Mobile Bidding Technology

Common misconceptions of running a silent auction using mobile bidding technology.
Common misconceptions of running a silent auction using mobile bidding technology.

We talk with a lot of auction hosts evaluating technology options. It is a hard process for them as they have to balance their desires to improve the experience for bidders against the desires of their management and board. We can sympathize. After all, we are involved with our own non-profits and actively run auctions for them.

To help out, we want to point out some common misconceptions that we hear regularly from organizations evaluating mobile bidding technology. For now, we will stick to misconceptions about all mobile technology and won't get into the differences between our solution and others. That we will leave for another blog post (or you can call us and we can discuss).

Misconceptions of mobile bidding silent auctions

#1 - Mobile bidding is not worth the cost

First, do not think about mobile bidding as merely a cost to your organization. Sure, there is a cost to use a mobile bidding service, just like there is a cost for your venue or your caterer. However, you need to understand mobile technology, unlike your caterer, can help you drive revenue; and, we consistently see the benefits of mobile technology outweighing any costs:

  • Maximize time for people to bid. With Handbid, people can bid from anywhere at any time your auction is open. You can open your auction before you have an event to allow people more time to bid. In addition, mobile bidding can keep bidders engaged throughout the event whether they be in line at the bar or seated for dinner. Our technology will instantly remind them when they have been outbid.
  • Maximize reach to all bidders. Another benefit of Handbid is that bidders can participate from anywhere. This is impossible to do with paper bid sheets. Bidders who can not make it to your event or those that must leave early before the baby sitter's curfew arrives can all remain engaged in your auction!
  • You and your Bidders will have real-time up to date information at their finger tips. They will know which items have no bids or the price of any item instantly. In addition, auction hosts will have the same information. You will be able to quickly identify items that are very popular as well as those that may need a bit of promotion (or an adjustment of price).
  • No more mistakes! Handbid accurately tracks all bids, items, invoices, and payments. No need to try and interpret someone's hand writing or suffer an error when tabulating paper bid sheets. Handbid generates invoices within seconds after an auction and can accurately process and track payments. No more headaches at checkout trying to tabulate items, determine tax, and insure that everything is accurate. It is all done for you with Handbid.

#2 - Mobile bidding is only for the younger crowd and our auction caters to older people

Not so fast. Smartphone adoption in adults 55+ growing faster than any other segment! 42% of adults in this group own a smartphone as of mid-2013, and this number was double the year before. In addition, tablet use amongst seniors is even higher!

When we built Handbid, we expected to hear this argument. So, during our development phase, we involved a number of seniors in our usability testing. Some of them had smartphones and some of them did not; but, none of them had a problem using our iPad kiosk app.

To get personal for a second..... one of those testers was my Mother In-Law. I know what you are thinking… she is related to Handbid so she had to like it. Well, you don't know my mother-in-law that well! First, she is a technophobe (often asking someone else to turn on her digital oven to the right temp); and second, she is very outspoken. She was Handbid's biggest critic during these early phases; but, we were bound to work with her through this process and get it right. In the end, she was impressed, is still impressed, and so are her friends.

We get nothing but compliments on the ease of use of our interface. I am sure you will agree.  Check out this video left by one older couple at the end of a Handbid auction:  Handbid Review

#3 - Our auction is too small

This belief often accompanies the first misconception because folks determine that their auction will not raise enough to cover the costs of the bidding service. What we find is that auction success is driven more off of the quality of the items in terms of the quantity. It is ok to have just a few items provided they are things that the bidders want.

Remember, auctions work when more than one person wants a particular item. Otherwise, if its a 1:1 relationship between # of bidders and # of items, then it results in a typical retail transaction.

We don't discourage anyone from using Handbid based on the number of items in their auction, but we do recommend that smaller auctions have "good stuff”. We have seen amazing auctions that have benefitted from Handbid that had just a few (popular items). In fact, in most circumstances, less is more in terms of item quantity. Don't overwhelm your bidders will too much choice.

When it doesn't make sense for mobile bidding technology

So is there a situation where it does not make sense to use technology? The short answer is yes....sometimes it doesn't make sense. For every client, we help you evaluate your situation and determine if Handbid is the right choice. In the past, we have recommended against our service if we don't feel the experience will be good for bidders and hosts. It is not in our best interest (or yours) for you to use Handbid where it doesn't make sense.

We will help you figure that out. Our evaluation includes the format and nature of your event as well as logistics that include venue, network, timing,etc. Please contact us at and we can help you evaluate Handbid for your auction.