Auction Tips

Silent Auction Tips from the Trenches: Tip 7 - Use Technology

Why you should use technology at your silent auction
Why you should use technology at your silent auction

Over the past several weeks we have covered Silent Auction Tips ranging from how you setup your auction area, handle issues at your auction event , to how you describe your silent auction items. If you have not reviewed all of these tips, we suggest you go back and read through them starting with Tip 1, Treat your Auction like a Business.

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Using technology for your silent auction

Surprised? You shouldn't be. You don't seriously think we would write an entire Silent Auction Tips series and NOT discuss the benefits of mobile bidding! After all, mobile bidding makes so many of the other tips possible! So let's dive in...


First, mobile bidding has proven time and again to have a positive financial impact in silent auctions. In fact, our data shows that mobile bidding typically increases auction revenue by 30% or more over paper bidding.

The amount of increase really depends on the nature of your auction and how you set it up. We offer a ton of advice on how to maximize your revenue opportunity with Handbid.

So how does it increase revenue? Well - your bidders can bid from anywhere, even before the day of your event (called Pre-bidding). By allowing your bidders to stay connected to the auction, you are allowing your auction revenue to increase while bidders are physically separated from bid sheets. This revenue lift almost always pays for the software and more! Certainly, something your venue, your caterer or your band can't do! But the benefits of mobile bidding are not just related to the financial lift.


Adding mobile bidding into your auction also reduces bidder frustration by virtually eliminating check-out lines; and if you are prepared in advance, it can do the same for check-in. Streamline check-in by having bidders pre-register on their mobile devices. Those that are pre-registered can breeze past the registration line, grab their paddles and name tag (please, no name tags!) and head right to the party. Those not yet registered can either do it themselves when they arrive or pass through a simple registration station manned by your well trained and highly capable volunteers!

When we ask our customers what drove them to consider mobile bidding, we get a number of reasons. The most common is a desire to eliminate the dreaded checkout line. You may have experienced this as an auction manager or a bidder at an event. The silent auction ends and you are ready to leave. But instead, you have to wait in a long line to pick up and pay for items that you were not super crazy about bidding on in the first place. You just want to pay and leave. As an auction manager, you are in a mad scramble to pull bid sheets, tabulate invoices and get people paid up. Your calculator just can't operate fast enough. Guests are grumbling and your volunteers are crumbling (did you like that?).

With Handbid mobile bidding, the auction closes, invoices are processed and winning bidders are automatically notified. Bidders can pay their invoices on their phone via credit card or apple pay! This significantly reduces the manual labor required of event staff and the amount of "standing and waiting” time necessary for any guest. The system itself is also more accurate than paper processing, reducing the potential for human error in calculating amounts owed, determining item winners, etc. This feature also reduces the stress associated with winners believing they need to "run to the checkout line” as soon as it opens.

Before I worked at Handbid I volunteered at many auction events. At the time our biggest issue was people leaving before the event was over to "stand in line to check out” (you know, avoid the mad rush). Now with Handbid powering the event I see the opposite: people pay on their phone and then continue to "hang out” longer. Why? They know what they have won and they have paid their bill. They will just pick up their stuff on the way out. Aahhh… so much nicer.


Finally, your guests will LOVE the experience of mobile bidding on Handbid. Mobile bidding is interactive, engaging and fun.. At Handbid we have "gamified” the entire experience. With winning and outbid notifications incorporated into the system, we hear time and again how much FUN the bidding experience on Handbid really is. Some of our most heard quotes include: "I just had to beat whoever was bidding against me,” "It wasn't about the money anymore, it was all about winning,” "My budget flew right out the window once I started playing to win,” "It was so easy to find and bid, I can't wait for my next auction!”.

And trust us, your guests are not too old for mobile bidding! We know from experience that you will be surprised how many people will download and use our app. And if someone chooses not to use the app on their phone, no problem! At Handbid we also offer bidding on iPads and online smartphones not required!

Ok so that wraps up our 7 Tips to a Better Silent Auction. We hope you have enjoyed this blog series.