Many new bidders win one or two auctions soon after they register at iBid only to find their confidence shattered a few weeks later when they lose auction after auction, unable to win even a $10.00 gift card. Perhaps at this point, the bidder wonders do they have the correct bidding strategy? That’s when people start second-guessing. Some may even wonder, Are Online Auctions a scam? If you’re bidding at iBid, the answer to that question is, “No.”
Old-timers will say that consistent winning is possible. But like any skill or sport, you have to invest time and effort to learn the secrets of success and then incorporate those strategies with tricks that work for you. But all successful bidders know that hard work – not Lady Luck – is what separates mostly winners from mostly binners at iBid.com.
Here are some strategies to help you get past your slump, master the art of the hunt, and start winning big.
Watch Before You Play
Winning at the beginner level feels easy compared to landing that 55” 3D flat-screen TV or a MacBook Pro laptop, especially if there’s a sale on computers that weekend. Loading up your automated bidder Saturday morning hoping to win the same computer that 500 other bidders have their eyes on is a strategy – one doomed for disaster. When you’re going for items with a retail value of $1,000 or more, you’re playing in a new league.
Some people have been winning big-ticket items for months or years. They can predict with accuracy how new bidders will behave before the auction value of any item reaches one dollar. Taking your bidding skills to the next level can be a challenge, but if you take the time to watch how the pros do it, you’ll soon beat them at their game. iBid offers a wealth of tools that smart bidders use to track everything from the days that certain items go for the lowest price to how close to their limits any given bidder is at any time. Smart bidders will do more than realize that information is available; they’ll use it to find the best and worst days and times to bid; when that hidden gem will come up for an auction; and when they should fold and walk away from an auction that likely they won’t win. Smart bidders are patient. They know to save their bids for a better auction on a better day.
If you’re serious about becoming a consistent iBid winner, you’ll begin tracking everything that takes place and then bid only when your chances of winning are good to excellent. Whether you create a sophisticated spreadsheet to manage your data or jot the information in a notebook using a pencil or pen, keep track of trends, probabilities, and bidders. Make a note of which bidders don’t stop bidding until they’ve won (even if they’ve lost money); who’s a known jumper; and who’s all talk and no action. Also keep track of the value of any items you’re bidding on, how much you paid for your bids, which items you’re interested in winning; and which auctions you feel most likely to win based on intellectual information and what your gut says.
Know Your Competition
Keep your friends close and your competition closer. Other bidders are the only barrier standing between you and your dream wins. How easy it would be to win that auction if only those other bidders went away! Likely that won’t happen unless you’re bidding when everyone else has to show up for Christmas dinner or fireworks on the Fourth of July.
So how can you tell the difference between someone who uses their bio to present himself as a win-no-matter-what-the-cost tough guy but in reality drops out after spending a few bids and the bidder who’s serious about being in it to bin or win it? Sometimes it’s not the retired Army colonel to watch out for; it’s Granny knitting those scarves and mittens who’s walking away with the television sets, computers, and anything else she wants. The key to knowing your competition is tracking. Instead of closing your eyes and jumping into any big auction just to prove you can win big too, take your time – a few days or even weeks—profile other bidders. You can become the one who understands and accurately predicts bidders’ behaviors if you’re willing to do the work and invest the time by watching two weeks of auctions. People (for the most part) are creatures of habit. If someone behaves one way in one or two auctions, you can predict that they’ll behave that way most of the time, so keep written records that you can easily access.
Do bidders place one bid in each of twenty auctions, spreading their energy and money around? Or do they get in one auction and stay in it until they win it? Are they timid, placing three or four bids and then scramming when they don’t win? Learn who’s committed to jumping as a strategy and the bidders who jump into auctions late in the game (when the game should be over) hoping for an easy win but watch long enough to know how long they’ll bid after they jump. Learn who the pro bidders are while you’re on your way to becoming one. Keep in mind that just because someone has 0 of 3 wins in the over $200 category doesn’t mean they’re not pros.
Check the date they joined iBid. That bidder may be so good that he or she reaches the monthly dollar-value limit two days into the month and from then on can win only one high-buck item every week. The only way to know your competition is by studying them and making detailed notes. Then when you’re ready to get in the game, use your tracking information to your advantage. Know when it makes sense to stay in an auction, when it’s best to walk away and when it’s better to run.
Bidding Strategy: Timing Is Everything
When choosing a bidding strategy, remember this: successful bidders know that what you bid on can be less important than when you bid. Studying auctions and information provided by iBid requires a substantial investment of time, but it will pay off in winnings. Track the auctions and keep a record of how many people bid on certain days or at certain times of the day (remember bidders live in different time zones). Are there days when everything seems to go for a few dollars and other days when nobody gets a deal on any items – or at least it looks that way? Use the site’s log of tracked wins to locate the specific products you want. Are some days better for bidding on a home theatre or DSLR camera than others? Enter that information in your spreadsheet or notebook.
Timing is everything when it comes to bidding strategy.
Now! Some days might have less competition than others, and the promotions might affect the auctions as well!
Also, studies have shown that Friday through Monday is typically days when people begin things: projects, creations, or bidding on an item. Tuesday through Thursday are days when people tend to wrap up what they’re doing. The interpretation of that study means, don’t start bidding Friday through Monday; Tuesday through early Thursday are better days to begin bidding in auctions. But that doesn’t mean bid on a Saturday. The smart bidder knows that few rules, strategies or suggestions work all the time. One more timing tip: I learned the hard way that big-ticket auctions can take up to ten days from the opening bid to closing price.
Unless you’ve got a week or more to devote to an auction, don’t start bidding on a $2,000 item. It will annoy you and bidding is meant to be fun. Desperation and trying to rush an auction will only cost you money. By now, you should be catching on to the most important behavior that winners have in common: old-fashioned patience. If an item comes around once, likely it will come up for auction twenty more times. Waiting for the right timing can make the difference between winning and binning.
Go Where The Action Isn’t
This simple strategy should go without saying, but common sense usually isn’t common. People tend to follow crowds instead of avoiding them. If there’s a magic strategy to winning for a few bids or at a 95% discount at iBid, it’s finding auctions with either three or two people bidding and preferably just one person: you. But before you jump into an auction and invest $300, check your records to see if that one other person is a long-term big-ticket winner. If not, that’s the time to load up the automated bidder and watch as your competition dissolves.
Social Distancing in auctions is important
You might find better results in auctions with fewer bidders in them. The most popular items gather a large crowd!
Also, keep an eye on auctions that haven’t begun yet but are about to open their doors. Once in a great, while you can sneak in and walk away with that item for only one bid because nobody else saw this auction. They were all staring at iPads or computers. This doesn’t often happen, so if before long people are flooding into the room it means it’s not happening now. Don’t let your hopes override reality. If it’s going to be one of those rare one-person auctions, it either happens right away or not at all. Be ready to enter an auction but be just as ready and able to leave. And don’t forget those great item sales that iBid offers when tons of iPads and Computers are up for grab. But remember that for every iPad on sale, two to five hundred people may be planning to win it.
Sale days can be the best days to win if you aren’t bidding on the sale item. While everyone is scrambling to the mini iPads, you can find me loading up on kitchen appliances, gift cards, and hard drives. Sometimes I’ll go for odd items, things I don’t want, but that makes great gifts for others who do want a remote control helicopter or electric wine opener. One of my top ten favorite strategies about not following the crowd is this: Instead of listing your losses and tragedies in your bio hoping that other bidders will take pity on you and let you win (they won’t, by the way), keep information about yourself to yourself. Don’t let your competition know you.
My family (the majority of them, including my son) has died, some tragically. That means that while I’m grieving for my lost loved ones, I’m also spending major holidays swooping auctions at iBid. While other bidders are obligated to show at Grandma’s house to stuff themselves with turkey, ham, and pie, I’m stuffing my home with computers, spas, iPhones, and just about anything else I want from iBid. Winning can be easy if you remember to find out what the crowd wants and where they’re bidding and then do the opposite. But keep an eye on the clock because soon your competition will begin hugging Grandma goodbye and heading for their computers and the auctions at iBid. By then if you’re diligent and stick to your strategies, you’ll have hit your limits so you can wish them luck and watch your new 3D TV.
Realize That Not All Bidders Behave And Believe As You Do Except For One Thing
If someone is bidding at iBid, they’re bidding to win. While many bidders (including me) don’t believe in jumping, many consider it a viable strategy for winning. No, it’s not nice, and it violates the Golden Rule. But if you’re expecting people not to jump you in No Jump auctions, you’re naïve and not bidding smart. I don’t jump, but I will smoke out potential jumpers by bidding and then stopping when the price gets within range of a decent deal – but I only do this if there are at least two other jumpers still bidding, and then I stay on top of what’s taking place. If someone’s been lurking just waiting to jump, they’ll jump in then.
In any auction, there maybe four to six lurking jumpers waiting for the price to reach BIN time, and then they’ll jump in, knowing that a smart bidder will get out and BIN. Hate it? Yes, I do. It drives prices up and decreases the number of good deals available. In a perfect world, other bidders would never jump. But it’s not a perfect world yet and jumping is still a reality. Get around it by bidding a healthy and respectable amount of bids without completely reaching your limit or budget. You can do this if you only buy your bids on sale because you’ll have four to six bids for everyone else’s one bid, or at least those who didn’t take advantage of the bid sale. Then while there are still two or more bidders, get out and wait a while.
Know your bid amount and know your competition.
But meanwhile – and this is the key to making it work – count bids from the auction’s beginning. Counting cards? Illegal in Las Vegas. Counting bids? A legitimate strategy at iBid. Most people buy bids in small or moderate packages. You should have a list of all the packages that bids sell for, whether they’re on sale or sold at full price or auctioned as prizes. Then keep track of how many bids each of your competitors spend. If they continue bidding past the 300, 500, and 600 marks, you may be up against a bidder with a healthy reserve of bids. Can you match them? Only you can answer that question. A perk to binning is that while you have to dig into your bank account and buy the item for full price, you get all your bids back. If you stick to the BIN when you don’t win policy religiously, you’ll have a healthy account of bids at iBid. While many boast about how many bids they have (not allowed and also not a smart strategy), you’ll secretly have a healthy stash that would intimidate the most courageous bidder.
By keeping track of how many bids your competitors have used, you’ll soon learn the art of accurately predicting who will fold and if that person should be you. And if you’ve already invested a respectable number of bids in an auction, you can get back into that auction after getting out for a while — and it’s not jumping. It’s taking turns. Time your re-entry into the auction for when your competition has used his or her package of bids you’ll find yourself winning what you knew was yours from the auction’s beginning.
Hone Your Gut Reaction Or Intuition and Learn To Trust It
But the pro-bidder learns to combine gut instinct with intellect. Whether you call it intuition or gut reaction, your instinctive response to when you should bid, what you should bid on and which auction to join can be your most valuable resource. Three things can override intuition: Greed, desperation, and ego/anger can be our downfall and greatest enemies in auctions – much more formidable foes than our competition. When we bid from a place of peacefulness and calm, we’re bidding from our strength, not our weakness.
When we’ve gone over budget, when we’re furious at Mr. Jumper and have determined to show him no matter the cost or when we’re reaching pro-level with our bidding skills and fall into the greed trap thinking we need everything (even though we don’t), we become our greatest enemy. There’s a no-win feeling that comes when we’re in an auction we’re not going to win. Learn to recognize it. I once read a true story about a Las Vegas gambler who played the slots. He could predict accurately each time he pushed the button if that push would result in a win. There’s a positive and peaceful feeling that comes with winning. There’s a twisted and uncomfortable feeling that comes when we’re not listening to ourselves and instead are acting out of resistance to our better judgment.
Most of us can identify when greed or anger controls our behavior and bidding from greed or revenge rarely results in a win. Then there’s a neutral semi-deflated feeling that comes when what we do won’t hurt us much but probably won’t benefit us that much either. Practice learning to listen to your gut. Then combine that skill with intellect and tracking facts and you’re on the fast track to pro status. Live and bid by your code; don’t let other people – jumpers or otherwise – control how you behave. But do let your standards, budget, observations, and profiling coupled with your instincts to help you decide how and when to bid.
Bidding at online auctions is easy. Anyone can load up an automated bidder, take a nap, and hope that luck smiles on him or her. Winning auctions is an entirely different issue. Savvy bidders know that preparation trumps blind luck every time. By taking the time to know your competition and learning when to bid and when to sit out an auction, you take luck out of the equation.
It won’t be long until you’re hitting your limits within 24 to 48 hours of them being lifted every Sunday, winning so many big-ticket items that when your limits are lifted you can win only one item under $200 and one over $200 each week. Take your hobby of recreational shopping to the next level. Get a notebook or open a spreadsheet or a computer file. Start tracking. Begin profiling. Study peak bidding times. To win like a pro, think, and act like one.
This Bidding Strategy text was written by a real iBid customer and did not reflect the opinions of any iBid employee or the company.
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