Believe it or not, there is a best practice when it comes to the order of lots placed in an online auction collection and it generally stands the test of time in auctions posted on the AuctionNinja platform. In the wobegone days of traditional sales, simply posting estate sale and auction images without regard to lot order various advertising platforms wasn't so important. In the days of online sales, however, the lot order can make (or break) the success of a sale and you won't get a second chance to make a good impression.
There are studies and data to support this too. For example, in a recent Nielson Norman Group study which observed and characterized user behaviors, they found that users spent 74% of their viewing time in the first two screenfuls. They also found that people spent more time viewing the top 20% of a page. In short, their study found that pieces of information which appear closest to the top of a page have a significantly higher chance of being read or viewed.
In other words, your bidders will quickly leave your sale if it doesn't keep their attention.
Generally speaking, bidders will leave any given sale within 10 to 20 seconds if they are not noticing items that excite or interest them. So if you are of the mindset that saving your best lots to the end of the sale is building excitement for your auction, chances are your strategy is working against you. If your viewers are seeing less desireable items on the first two pages of your sale, chances are that they will not scroll through to the end in the hopes of finding something better. You've just lost a potential bidder.
So how can you increase the chances of grabbing your viewer's attention?
One easy way is to strategically manipulate your lot order.
A good rule of thumb is to place the top 10% of your merchandise (i.e., the most valuable, desireable, interesting, unique, pieces) in the first 1/3 of your sale (most of the top 10% should appear in the first 30-40 lots -- depending on the size of your sale). The next top 10% of your merchandise should be placed in the second third of your sale. Everything else fills in the remaining lots. This will create viewer excitement and once you have their attention, they'll be more likely to peruse the rest of your sale to see if there might be some other treasures to round-out their bidding strategy.
If you haven't given any thought to lot order in the past, we encourage you to give it a whirl to see if your overall auction results change for the better. Oh, and by the way, let us know how it works for you.