Watch Now: From Tractors to Trading Cards, Sandhills Global’s Online Auction Sites Blow Up During Pandemic | Local business news
In the lucrative online auction sector, Sandhills Global has seen some remarkable items change hands.
A signed Hank Aaron rookie card from 1954. Boxing gloves autographed by Muhammad Ali. Combine harvesters, excavators, vintage cars. Even a piece of Tupperware worth $2,500.
“It amazes me every day what we see,” said Nathan Stack of Sandhills, director of HiBid and AuctionFlex, part of the publishing company’s growing selection of online auction services. Lincoln – including AuctionTime and EquipmentFacts – which have exploded during the pandemic.
The web services match buyers and sellers around the world interested in exchanging video game consoles costing a few hundred dollars and tractors worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
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It all started in 2008 with AuctionTime, which specifically caters to big-ticket items such as construction equipment, farm vehicles, trucks and trailers, as well as newer markets including RVs and even livestock. .
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Sandhills’ AuctionTime division works directly with auctioneers and resellers to facilitate sales, which are conducted exclusively online. The company also operates EquipmentFacts, a simulcast auction platform that allows people to bid on live auctions.
Then in 2017, Sandhills bought HiBid, operated through software called AuctionFlex, which is more suited to items such as sports memorabilia, coins, household items and even goods returned online. HiBid also offers a simulcast bidding feature.
For decades Sandhills has published trade magazines, connecting buyers and sellers of machinery, vehicles and other equipment in industries such as agriculture and trucking.
Auction services are a natural extension of these publications, said Evan Welch, director of new product sales. AuctionTime listings, for example, appear both online and in print.
These bidding channels have exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic as commerce has become increasingly digital.
More than $2 billion in inventory was sold online through HiBid in 2021, and there are typically between 700,000 and 1 million items listed on the site at any given time, Stack said.
“People were forced to really connect because the in-person ability to go buy and collect wasn’t there,” Stack said. “And I think sellers have noticed that by going online, they’re reaching a massive audience that they didn’t have before.”
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More people switched to online ordering on sites such as Amazon and Walmart, Stack also said, meaning there were more returned products that HiBid could sell at auction.
AuctionTime also saw record growth in 2021, with more than $940 million in gross auction proceeds, including $188 million in December alone. A three-day auction event that month saw $72 million in inventory sold, attracting buyers from all 50 states and 54 countries.
“We have a global presence,” said Mitch Helman, director of AuctionTime. “It’s not people selling gear from state to state anymore, it’s from country to country.”
Sandhills expects the web-based auction market to grow only as people become more comfortable transacting online – from combines and trucks to comic books, baseball cards and everything else.
“When you look at a view from 100 feet and how much growth and potential there is, it’s huge,” Helman said. “The sky’s the limit here for Sandhills and everything we have going on.”
Contact the writer at [email protected] or 402-473-7225.
On Twitter @zach_hammack