Internet auctionWell, by now, I'm sure that each of us is subscribed to at least a few of the discount shopping sites à la Ideeli, Gilt, RueLaLa, etc… And then the Deal-of-the-Day sites, à la Groupon. Will we ever buy retail again?
Of course, all of these shopping platforms have been born to the Web, which has made it all possible. The latest shopping discount model? Online auctions that combine auctions with the deal-of-the-day and with highly desirable "designer" goods or services at a potentially deep discount.
Is this fun bargain hunting or is this gambling?
Like us, you might have noticed the appearance and proliferation of these luxury online auction sites. As with every new popular business models, some operators are more reputable than others. And, the not-so reputable ones are giving this shopping model cause for concern as you can read in this USA Today article . At the same time, we have found some very inviting and legit online designer auction sites that could lead to some serious bargains. These shopping sites are best suited to those who have some time on their hands (to watch and play the auction) and some cash to "play with". So, that impromptu Cancun vacation or those Louboutin you always dreamed of? Yeah, this could be a fun way to score them.
Before we tell you about the few sites that we would ever play with in this area, we thought you'd like to know about these tips:
- Set your limits ahead of time. If you only want to pay $150 for the $500 designer bag, make sure that you abide by your own rules and that you include the cost of placing each bid (usually around $1.00 each) on top of the final auction price for the item. Don't get emotionally attached to any item that you may be bidding on.
- Don't bid early. The real bidding really only starts when the auction is about to "end". At that point, every new bid adds an amount of time (somewhere between 10 and 15 seconds, depending on the site) and this can go on for a while. As in a couple hours or more, depending on how desirable the item is. Be prepared to watch it if you really want the item though a few sites have bid assistants that let you place an automatic maximum bid.
- Try bidding on weekends or "impractical" times when less bidders are available. Weekends seem to yield better deals.
Here are those favorite auction shopping sites that we were mentioning:
OohILove logo OohiLove.com - Audrey's review: I almost do not want anyone to know about this great auction site, OohiLove.com because the less people know about it the better my chances are of winning those 'I-wants'. As if! Although OohiLove is known for its high end designer bags and shoes, such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel and more, they also have gift cards to Nordstroms, Macy's, and Tiffany's, to name a few. Plus popular electronics like, iPads, Kindles and iPhones. To be able to get an iPad for less than $50.00 is exhilarating! Plus, it is not unusual for one to win a $1360.00 Louis Vitton bag for less than $40.00. But, when faced with bidders with names like IGotMoneyToBurn and nevergonnastop, be prepared for some serious competition. Soon you will be saying 'Ooh I Love!' and be forewarned, this site can become very addictive! It costs 99 cents to place a bid and each bid will increase the item price by one cent and the auction timer by 10 seconds. With OohiLove, the value of non-winning bids go against "love dollars" which can be redeemed in the Trunk Show .
Here is a video clip that describes the OohiLove bidding process, which pretty much explains how the rest of these auctions work as well:
Lucky Chic logoLuckyChic.com is very similar to Oohilove but besides luxury goods and gift cards, they also feature luxury vacation destinations and VIP event tickets. With LuckyChic, each bid will cost you 60 cents and will add 20 seconds and 10 cents to the item price.
Celebrities for Charity logoCelebritiesforCharity.org - Audrey's review: This is a raffle site, rather than an auction site. I like it because it assists celebrities in helping raise money for charities that are dear to them. I am on their email list and have bought raffle tickets in the past. Although I have never won, I still feel that my money is going to some great causes. My most recent purchase for raffle tickets was for Laker's Ron Artest NBA 2010 championship ring. The raffle raised $650,000 towards Mental Health Awareness. Every raffle ticket is $2.00, with a minimum purchase of 5 tickets making it attainable for everyone to fantasize just a little about winning. To get on their email list go to the website . You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook.
offandaway logoOffandAway.com - Anne-Marie's review: This site is a traveler's fantasy and, of all the auction sites, is most probably the one that consistently offers the best discount margins. Well, that would be because the actual room list prices are quoted as the "valued at" price for the hotel and vacation properties (and we know that no one ever pays that inflated list price in any event), but still it appears that the auction winners are getting a great deal. You have to pay attention though. I missed a great San Diego deal the other day because I stepped away from my computer. Darn. Off and Away features high-end accommodations in high-end properties in many vacation destinations though these are mostly in the US, the Caribbean and Mexico. Each $1 bid adds 15 seconds to the auction timer and $1 to the item price. Non-winning bids can be used as discounted price against chosen vacation destinations.
If you opt to shop this way, view it as entertainment, as a potential means to fulfilling a material fantasy. Keep your head screwed on straight and you could have fun and a great story to tell about that amazing purchase at 90% off!