» Select Another Category of Reviews

How to Choose the Right US Online Auction Site

US Online Auction Sites image


Your friends just called, they’re nearly here. The spare room’s ready, right? All the clutter’s been moved up into the attic, or under the stairs? You know you’ve not used that exercise bike in years, and that picture you bought on holiday never made it onto the wall. How about that set of plates, do you ever intend to use them? You could throw it all in the skip, sure, or give it away to a charity – that would be nice – but had you considered selling it? We know, we know, it’s a pain to set up a sale, advertising it and then hoping people will turn up. And for all that effort you might not really make enough to make it worth your while. Alternatively, you could sell your unwanted items from the comfort of your armchair, via online auction sites.


Selling and Buying via Online Auction Sites

All you need to do is sign up, add a picture of your item with a few details, and let the bidding begin. The great thing about selling your unwanted items online is that you also get people competing against each other, pushing up the price.

Once it’s sold you simply wrap it up and post it to the winner. It couldn’t get much easier. In fact, people now earn their living by doing just this, buying and reselling items for a profit, without the hassle of having to visit auction rooms and pay out massive fees.

That’s not the end of the possibilities for online auctioning websites either. Imagine you need a new TV, or your kids just moved house and don’t have a decent set of cooking pots. Or maybe your car’s just given up and you need a replacement. You can buy all of this and more online, sometimes getting a great bargain by bidding.

“How can this happen?!”, we hear you cry. Well, the big difference is that you’re cutting out a middle man, there’s no need for someone to place an advert or provide a quotation or even to lead a sales room in a live auction. Some of the sites we’ve reviewed even go direct to the manufacturer to bring you savings on new items, whilst others offer you the opportunity to bid on top items for just a few cents or dollars.


Why Have Online Auction Sites Grown in Popularity?

It's no surprise that online auctioning has become a massive industry, as it’s so easy to use that anyone can do it. According to recent research, by one of the largest providers of industry information in the USA, IBISWorld, "The E-Commerce and Online Auctions industry has experienced a decade of growth as more and more Americans have become accustomed to making purchases online...As cash-strapped consumers searched online for deals and engaged in comparison shopping, the percentage of services conducted online grew steadily. Over the past five years, industry revenue has grown an annualized 10.3% to $297.9 billion in 2014, with an increase of 4.3% expected in 2014 alone." (See: E-Commerce & Online Auctions Market Research Report | NAICS 45411a | Sep 2014).


What important factors have we considered in our reviews?

We’ve checked out the best of the online auction websites available today in an effort to offer you the insight you’ll need to decide which sites might work for you. Whilst some offer more customers to bid on your items, others will provide more design features to help create a unique online store. Some websites specialize in items such as vehicles or artwork, whilst others are open to all sorts.

There are a few things to take into consideration as you read our reviews, though, so let us guide you through our reviews so you know how we’ve come to the various conclusions we’ve made:

  • Market Reach takes a few important factors into consideration. The first is “how many people use the site?” This is important because, if you’re trying to sell an item, you want plenty of people to view it and bid on it, raising the price. It also considers the range of items on sale, and whether the website is going to be useful to all kinds of sellers. Finally, we check whether or not the site functions all over the US. Some sites, such as vehicle auction websites, only offer services in specific areas, limiting the number of people that are likely to use it. 
  • Selling features are all the gizmos and options open to anyone who wishes to sell goods online. If you are just selling one or two items, this might not be hugely important, unless you wish to set a minimum sales price (so you don’t lose money on the value of the item) or want to offer an option for customers to “buy now” and skip the auction altogether. If you plan on making more of a career from sales, or you have a lot to sell, you may wish to set up a shop. Some sites will let you advertise your items or customize your store front to lure in customers. If these features might be beneficial to you, check our list of features provided in each review, and have a read of the editor’s verdict to find out what’s on offer.
  • Buying features are there to help make purchasing items easier. We think about the site’s use of bidding options (such as automatic bidding on your behalf, so you can go away and then come back later to see if you’ve won), mobile applications, the ability to leave feedback on sellers and more. There is also a great benefit to having a range of buying features even if you only intend to sell items: a site with decent buying features will be easier to use, and therefore potential customers will be more likely to go through with a sale, improving your profits.
  • Security and protection are important to consider because you want to make sure you’ll receive what you’ve ordered, or get paid what you’ve been promised. Most websites offer some kind of policy regarding what happens if something goes wrong, whilst those which offer services such as PayPal provide another level of sales protection. A few sites offer guarantees on the items sold through them, and you can even get manufacturers’ warranties included with some new items.
  • Value for money is really vital to online auction websites, because everyone is there to: a) make money or b) find a deal. Most of the sites we’ve looked at will charge a small fee (usually a percentage of your profits) if you’re selling an item through them. Others will require that you buy tokens to make bids, which means you’ve spent money before you’ve won an item. Each system has its benefits and drawbacks, which we discuss in the editors verdict on each review. Whilst a higher percentage take from your profit might seem bad, sometimes it’s actually not all that much of a big issue as you might make more money from competing bidders, and so the overall profit is greater.


The Bottom Line

There are a lot of caveats and differences between these online auctioning websites, so do take a good look around our reviews to help you to decide which of them to use. Whether you want to sell an old car, buy a new hat or simply trade books with others, there’s bound to be something here for everyone. Going once, going twice, SOLD!