Magazine article Marketing

One to Watch: Auctioning4u

Magazine article Marketing

One to Watch: Auctioning4u

Article excerpt

Ever fancied selling unwanted goods online, but couldn't face the hassle? There is now a solution, writes Ed Kemp.

Online auction site eBay is a great place to profit from the adage 'one man's junk is another man's treasure'. But clearing out the loft, photographing the items to be put up for sale, writing descriptions, then taking the goods to the Post Office to mail them to the highest bidder, can seem like hard work.

Auctioning4u aims to take the hassle out of the experience by allowing the vendor to drop off the unwanted goods at its shop and overseeing every aspect of the auction from there on. All the angles are covered, from product shots and descriptions to bundling with other items. All the customer has to do is sit back and wait for the cheque to arrive.

Nearly anything can be sold via Auctioning4u, as long as the company values it at more than pounds 20. A Chinese coffee table and a big football table are just two of the items sitting in the company's packed Kensington store.

Managing director Christian Braun says mobile phones are the most profitable items, but timing is everything. 'If you want to sell your phone, it is best to do so just before a new model comes out. Once the latest model is available, the old one is not worth so much.'

Sometimes the serious money comes from the most peculiar items in the inventory. 'We have had a stuffed bison, a Mongolian Ger - a tent that sleeps more than 100 people - and a hideous monster prop from a 60s B-movie, which was bought by a Spanish collector for pounds 300.'

Auctioning4u takes a commission of a third of the sale price or pounds 10 for any item that attracts a final bid of less than pounds 30. Provided more than one person bids for an item, the seller is likely to get a good price.

The company claims that paying a commission is worth it, as the service offers the seller peace of mind and expert handling of the auction, which can often contribute to a higher price being achieved.

Thousands of similar services exist in the US, while many more across Europe have tried and failed. However, Braun has applied his business experience to the online auction world. A German with an MBA from London Business School, he has worked for Bain & Company and General Electric's fiercely competitive financial arm.

'Lots of people have tried to set up similar business models, and think they can just do it in their spare time,' he explains. …

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