The Online Dutch Auction

By | January 12, 2006

Good piece by my old friend Rani about how online auctions work in Singapore: 

When I tried to sell my xda II online, I was surprised to find out that the logic of online auction is almost totally different in Singapore. At first, I tried to sell my xda II in Singapore Pocket PC user group (PPCSG). However, I can say that, although PPCSG market place forum is a great place to buy stuff, it is not a great place to sell stuff. People from the forum would mercilessly bargain 40-50% from the initial price. Having been unable to sell my xda II with a good price in PPCSG, I looked for other alternatives.

Enter auctions sites, namely, Yahoo Auctions Singapore and ebay Singapore. And I was surprised to find out that… nobody bids on those auctions sites. It was not long until I find out the unwritten rules of the online auction game in Singapore, which is totally different from my experience doing online auction in the US and UK.

Basically it’s like a reverse auction: Put your highest price as the opening bid, and wait for folk to call you with lower bids. Then you just seal the deal over the phone. I wonder how true this is elsewhere? And I wonder, too, whether Rani’s suggestion that eBay and co actually build the capability for reverse auctions into their software, so that in places like Singapore, people actually use their services?

4 thoughts on “The Online Dutch Auction

  1. Otterman

    Yeah, from selling two bicycles, we found out that Yahoo and eBay work like classsified ads in Singapore.

    Potential buyers thought our expected price would be 20% lower and some bargaining might be the norrm. SMS was the preferred means of initial communication.

    Still, we had posted fair prices and were able to sell both bicycles at posted prices; see:

    Next time round, I wonder if I add a margin in anticipation of providing the buyer with some psychological satisfaction in lowering the price.

  2. Lijith

    A highly recommended site is for online auctions. They are the new ebay. Many smaller sites like this offer buyers far better deals than ebay ever could. Buyers also save a ton because this site charges little or nothing depending on the day. One more reason I like is because they don’t take a part of the sale at all. No commissions or final value fees. A+++

  3. Sylvain Bonfardin has launched a new platform in Singapore.
    They propose quick sales mechanism. You post your item at a high price, input a minimum price and a ”degressive pricing rule’ defining when/what will be the next (cheaper) price….
    The buyer either waits for a cheaper price OR by it “right now” at the current system price.

    it’s good for the seller. Easier to make more than his minimum price.
    It’s good for the buyer, he doesn’t have to wait if he wants to purchase…


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