You have one chance to make a good impression on would-be bidders and believe it or not, that includes which lots bidders see first.
There is a best practice when it comes to lot ordering in an online auction collection and it stands the test of time for auctions posted on AuctionNinja. In the bygone days of traditional estate sales, simply posting images without regard to lot order various advertising platforms wasn't so important. People would take a quick peek at online postings and then do the bulk of their "looking" in person at the estate.
In the modern era of online sales, however, lot order can make (or break) the success of a sale -- and you probably won't get a second chance to make a good first 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, it was found that users spent 74% of their viewing time in the first two screens only. 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 and on the first 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 desirable items on the first two pages of your sale, they probably will not scroll through to the end in the hopes of finding something better. You've just lost a potential bidder on your most valuable pieces.
So how can you increase the chances of grabbing your viewer's attention?
One easy way to grab bidder attention is to strategically manipulate your lot order before the sale opens.
A good rule of thumb is to place the top 10% of your merchandise (i.e., the most valuable, desirable, interesting, unique, pieces) in the first third (1/3) of your sale. Most of your top 10% should appear within the first 30 lots or so (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 and overall experience.
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 this strategy works for you.