A Foolproof Guide To Crafting The Perfect Online Auction Catalog

A Foolproof Guide To Crafting The Perfect Online Auction Catalog

Many auctioneers devote significant resources to acquiring bidder traffic to their online auction house. What some don’t realize is that it’s equally important to devote time and effort towards creating well designed catalogs.

Well crafted titles, descriptions, and pictures will increase your bidder’s desire to bid. Not only do these enhance your auction’s visual appeal, they also give hard facts to support the quality and value of those items.


Catalog Description

The catalog description is a great way to highlight the best of what you have to offer in a catalog. Provide a short, yet alluring title to describe the general contents of your catalog.


Lot Order

You want to show off the best of what you’ve got as soon as the bidder clicks into your catalog. Big ticket items are probably your best bet for this. Put show stunners at the top of each page. This is going to keep your bidders browsing.


Item Titles

These should also remain short and snappy, but it should also include keywords that are telling of features that are important to it. Think of a few words that might engage your bidders. What would catch their eye?


Item Descriptions

Photos may be the first thing bidders are drawn to on the page. However, without descriptions that identify technical details and appealing attributes, bidders may not see the true value or appeal of that item. Descriptions should include:


  • Condition:

You don’t have to write a novel about all imperfections of the item, but you do want to be upfront with the general condition. Your honesty speaks volumes about your company. The internet is filled with dissatisfied bidders who won items that were nothing like they were described online. You want to build trust with your bidders, not make them skeptical of your business practices.


  • Features and specifications:

Provide specifications such as exact dimensions, manufacturer and model, weight, color, etc. There’s more ease in upping the ante when they know exactly what they might get. Mention of unique, rare, or attractive attributes also helps generate excitement and sells lots. Conjure the feeling of owning the item and they will be more invested in winning, no matter the cost.


  • Formatting & length:

Do try to be mindful of the length and formatting, however. If your listing descriptions are an excruciatingly long block of text, you’re going to lose engagement. Be sure to use paragraphs to break up text for readability. If your item needs to list a lot of specifications, bullet points are a good way to show details at a glance.



While the product description is vital, visual appeal is going to strongest deciding factor for your bidder. Besides your item description, the only thing that your audience has to rely on is their sight. Photos need to reflect anything that can back up product description while putting emphasis on its most enticing qualities. We’ve written all about how attractive photos can increase bids in online auctions.

You should also give strong consideration to including videos of items. Videos not only entertain, but can also demonstrate an item’s functionality. This is why they get more engagement than a regular photo.


Shipping/Pick Up

Are you providing shipping? If so, do you have clear shipping details? Is there a weight that needs to be provided for your shipping calculator? Avoid having to pay more than anticipated to ship your items by weighing them on a postal scale.

If you’re pick up only, this needs to be stated along with the address and times pick up is available.


Before you hit publish

By this point, you may feel like you’ve accomplished the perfect catalog. However, you might want to skip the urge to hit publish before double checking some details. Here’s a checklist to consider.

✔ Auction SEO. Are your catalogs and their items optimized? Do they contain keywords your audience would use to search for the items within?

✔ Spot check your photos. Are they oriented correctly? Do they look clear and representative of this item?

✔ Check T&C. Are the terms & conditions up to date? Do they cover all your bases? Do they have good readability?

✔ Check scheduling. Confirm times and dates of auction open and close are correct. If you are using staggered endings or bid extensions, be sure they are set correctly as well. After an auction starts closing is NOT the time to notice an issue with your bidding rules.

✔ Proofreading. Catch grammatical errors and formatting inconsistencies before making listings public. Remember that readability is crucial.



The Takeaway



Building a polished catalog takes work. But if you follow the guideline above, you too can create high caliber catalogs. Delight your bidders by providing engaging, entertaining, and informative titles, descriptions, and images. Do this and, in return, you can reap the rewards of not only brand loyalty but higher profits from your online auctions.




Are you ready to create the perfect online auction catalog? Sharp Auction Engine offers a free 30-day trial.



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