Getting started with online auctions: What are the differences and advantages over offline auctions?

Japan’s online auctions are now in full swing. In 2020, the numerous B2B secondhand designer goods auctions held in Japan were either canceled or curtailed due to the global spread of COVID-19. The transition to online auctions has accelerated in order to resolve this situation in which dealers cannot conduct purchasing and other activities as desired. Likewise, there are now many auction organizers who have shifted their primary business focus from offline to online auctions, or have moved their business entirely online.
The introduction of online auctions has also made it easier for buyers and sellers from Japan and abroad to participate in auctions, which has led to increasing numbers of auctioned items and participants. Japan’s online auctions have already become important locations for global buyers to purchase secondhand designer goods.
This article introduces the process, advantages, and ways of getting started with online auctions.

What is an online auction?

Online auctions are held on the Internet. Although many B2B secondhand designer goods auctions in Japan have been held offline, today these are increasingly shifting to online auctions. (Visit here to read about the reasons for this and the current boom)

Standard (*) B2B online auctions proceed as follows: preview period → bidding period → successful bid.

Online Auction Process

During the preview period, participants first carefully examine the item information and photos posted online in order to consider items on which to bid. Item information includes details such as whether the item is used or unused, and whether it is damaged or not, thereby enabling participants to consider items to bid on along with photos taken from various angles.

Once the bidding period begins, participants bid for their desired items. At the close of bidding, the participant who made the highest bid is accepted as the successful bidder. Online auctions are easy to understand when thinking of them in the same way as the eBay C2C auction site.
ちなみに、日本の大手ネットオークションサイトSTAR BUYERS AUCTIONの場合、下見期間は約1週間、入札期間は約6日間設けられています。

What are the differences between online auctions and conventional offline auctions?

Let’s take a moment to review the differences between online auctions and conventional offline auctions.

Conventional offline auctions

Until recently, most of Japan’s B2B auctions were held offline using a “hand-raising system.” At these auctions, participants indicate the amount they want to bid by raising a hand or paddle in response to the call of an auctioneer who controls the room. The participant who makes the highest bid is allowed to purchase the item. In Japan, these exchanges are high-paced and auctioning off one item only takes 5 to 10 seconds.
  • Preview and auction are both held at a physical venue
  • Preview period lasts about one week
  • Auction is held on a specified date
  • Raising a hand or paddle is used to indicate the bid amount
  • 1商品の競りにかけられる時間は5〜10秒程度(日本国内の場合)

​ ​Online auctions

In contrast, dealers can participate in online auctions over the internet using a computer or smartphone, for example.
  • Preview and auction are both held online
  • Preview period lasts about one week
  • Bidding period lasts approximately six days
  • A “bidding system” is used where participants make a bid indicating the bid amount
  • 入札締切時に最高額を入札している入札者が落札


Five advantages of online auctions

So what are the advantages offered by switching to online auctions?

(1) Anyone can participate regardless of place or time


(2) More participants make it easier to attract high-quality items

STAR BUYERS AUCTIONの場合、2020年12月の国内登録企業数は約500社。同年3月時より150社ほど増加しています。また海外企業は約70社から200社へと大きく増加。買い手・売り手双方の参加企業が増え、良質の商品が世界中から集まりやすい状況となっています。
「STAR BUYERS AUCTIONでは、自社仕入れによる商品のほか委託出品も取り扱っているため、売り主企業の参加が増えたことにより、出品数が大幅に増加している状況です。また、買い主企業も世界中から多く集まっているため、相場の引き上げを期待する売り主に支持されており、さらに世界中から良い商品が集まるスパイラルが生まれています」(STAR BUYERS AUCTION オークション事業推進部 国内販売課 加藤 亮太氏)

(3) Enables efficient purchasing in a planned manner


(4) Eases entry for new participants


Participating in online auctions

ネットオークションの参加手続きは簡単です。日本大手のネットオークションSTAR BUYERS AUCTIONの場合、買い主・売り主ともに、アカウント開設をオンライン上で完結することができます。STAR BUYERS AUCTIONでは、時計、バッグ、ブランドジュエリー、ジュエリー、アパレルなどの各オークションが、毎月2回定期的に開催されています。各回2万5,000点以上という取り扱い点数の豊富さを誇るB2Bネットオークションは、日本国内でも稀有な存在です。
「最初は、『ネットオークションで商品の見極めが可能なのか』『使い方は簡単か』など、不安に思う方もいらっしゃいます。リアルな場での対話ができない分、私たちはサポートにも力を入れています。サポートは、日本語はもちろん英語、フランス語、中国語などにも対応しておりますので、何か不明な点があれば、お気軽にお問い合わせください」(STAR BUYERS AUCTION オークション事業推進部 オークション推進課 課長 溝口 麻友氏)
(注釈)※オフライン・オンラインともに、オークションの流れや日数などについては、STAR BUYERS AUCTIONの内容をもとに記載しています。

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