How Do Online Auctions Work? A Step-By-Step Guide | Treasures Auctions

How Do Online Auctions Work A Step-By-Step GuideIs there anything more convenient than buying everything you need from one spot? What if you could accomplish the same online? You can via online auctions! How do online auctions work?

The auction marketplace is a fast-paced and thrilling world where buyers compete to purchase everything from cars to household items. Ready to start bidding?

In this buyer's guide, we're teaching you how to use online auctions, start bidding, and make safe purchases on your favourite items.

Ready to start shopping? First, let's go over the basics of buying from online auctions.

What Are Online Auctions?

We wrote a complete buyer's guide about the concept and functionality of online auctions here . Ultimately, the purpose of online auctions is to connect sellers with buyers. Unlike a conventional e-commerce store specializing in a specific niche, auctions are a smorgasbord offering all varieties of goods, products, and services.

Moreover, auctions are global marketplaces connecting buyers with sellers from various parts of the globe.

Online auctions are beneficial for both buyers and sellers because:

  • Buyers gain access to a spectrum of goods from computer parts to antiques

  • Sellers get a digital storefront and platform to sell their products to interested buyers around the world.

The business model is steadily growing, and the share of auction sales continues to rise.

In March 2020, amidst a global pandemic, auction sales spiked 63 per cent from last March. The writing is on the wall: the auction model is here to stay. But how do online auctions work?

First, you'll want to narrow down what you want to buy and then find the right marketplace.

Types Of Online Auctions

One quick Google query and you'll find an assortment of online auctions to choose from. You'll want to ensure you register for the right online auctions, which is mostly dependent on what you want to buy.

For example, our online auction is exclusively available to connect Australian buyers with Aussie-owned businesses. There are home auctions, auto auctions, furniture auctions, and general auction marketplaces.

Here's are the most common types of online auctions:

  • Standard Auction: Buyers bid on items listed by sellers

  • Reverse Auction: Sellers do the bidding for which price they want for their items

  • No Reserve Auctions: The item will sell regardless of the cost, so even if the highest bid is a dollar, it must sell

  • Business-owned auctions: Business owners create a store and sell their product-line (like a retail store)

  • Individually-owned auctions: Individuals list and sell a hodgepodge of products (kind of like a flea market or garage sale)

How Do Online Auctions Work

How Do Online Auctions Work?

Ready to join the exciting world of bidding online? It's easy to get started, and before you know it, you'll be engaged in exciting auctions! Below we'll walk you through the step by step process of buying from online auctions.  

Register To Online Auctions

First, you'll need to register for the auction before you can get started buying or selling. Registration serves as a data collector for all of your bidding, buying, payments, and activity. All you'll need to get started is an email address.

However, you may want to consider creating a devoted email address for all auction activity. That's because you'll likely receive many updates about bidding activity, which can inundate your general inbox. Now that you're registered, the fun begins!

Browse Products

Do you know what item you want to buy, or are you window shopping? The great thing about shopping from online auctions is that the possibilities are limitless. If you know what you're in the market for, search the marketplace for that item. However, if you're open to browsing goods, check out the auction's categories. 
How Do Online Auctions Work

Place A Bid

Has a particular item caught your eye? Then it's time to place a bid! If the auction window is open, you can make an offer and place a bid. Or, if it's no reserve, you can buy it outright.

If the auction is open, you can place a competitive bid you think has a high chance of winning. Keep in mind that if you bid too high, you may overpay. It's smart to do a quick research of market value on the item to find a fair selling price.

Have a figure in mind? Place a bid and closely watch it until the auction closes. If you're the successful (highest) bid, you won!

Pay For Your Winning Bid

Congrats on winning your bid! Now it's time to make a payment. You'll do this by coordinating with the seller via email or messenger (if the website has one). Every auction follows a dedicated format, but in general, most payment options include credit card, debit card, or personal check.

You can find the payment options for each auction site in the Terms of Service. It's safest to handle all payments via a credit card or debit card. Doing so ensures buyer protection in case the item you purchased doesn't deliver on its description. You'll need to handle the payment before you can receive your item.


In some cases, sellers may agree to accept funds through escrow. In this case, the buyer sends payment to the escrow service that liaises the payment to the seller. Once the buyer receives their item and approves of it, the escrow service releases funds to the seller.

Escrow services add an extra layer of buyer protection to ensure they receive the item the seller promised. However, escrow can tack on additional time to the transaction, delivery, and payment processes.

Filing Complaints (if necessary)

Of course, we want your auction shopping experience to be nothing short of seamless. Unfortunately, there is occasional cause for complaints, including:

  • Extreme shipping delays

  • Falsely advertised goods

  • Hidden fees on the product

  • Inconsistencies in the product description

When you join a reputable online auction, there are systems in place to protect you from fraud. Still, it's essential to be vigilant about selecting the right seller. Read their reviews or reach out to them with questions about the product or payment process. The goal is to have a safe and enjoyable buying experience.

Online Auctions Are The Ultimate One Stop Shop Experience!

It's never been easier to get started buying from online auctions. Keep this guide handy next time you register to an online auction to help walk you through the process. Here at Treasures Auctions, our no reserve bids start at $1, and we offer a vast collection of Australian-owned goods exclusively for Aussies like you!


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