The surging popularity of mobile bidding platforms and the advantages of using these systems has dramatically improved not just the streamlining of the silent auction process, but also the results – the monies raised.
Early Days of Mobile Bidding
The first companies to offer mobile bidding provided their service using pre-programmed devices – modified tablets – and a dedicated wireless network. The result being that a charity silent auction would offer two or three rented tablets per table shared by eight or a dozen guests. And a dedicated wireless network set up on site by a team of technicians to “deliver” the auction. Safe, sound, and self-contained – at a cost.
This system offered the convenience of “mobile” bidding, but the novelty – because of the cost of renting units and paying a technical team to set up and manage the auction – was expensive. Too expensive in most cases for smaller fundraisers and many non-profits.
These systems offered an improved bidding method but did little to overcome the challenges of signing guests into the auction, ongoing bidder engagement or resolve payment options and the chaos of closing. And sharing bidding devices was never a good idea.
Enter the Smartphone
More recently, as the smartphone gained popularity and mobile technology improved, better mobile bidding charity silent auction platforms have evolved. This has in most cases eliminated the need for a dedicated wireless network.
Some of these new platforms – including our own MobilBid – combine special software – to set up and manage the event- with advanced mobile technology to automate the entire silent auction process.
In the case of MobilBid, we set out to provide a full-featured, easy to use, effective silent auction system that could be self-managed by our clients. MobilBid has eliminated the need – and cost – of specialized technical support to set up and manage an event.
Since its introduction just a few short years ago, MobilBid is now used effectively at hundreds of silent auctions annually. MobilBid consumes very little cellphone data, is fast, efficient, easy to use, and a real crowd-pleaser.
Guests are familiar with their own phones, so there is a minimal learning curve. Phones
eliminate device sharing, the bother of logging in and out when passing devices from guest to guest and the annoying challenge of dealing with mixed-up bids and ensuing billing problems.
MobilBid uses a cellphone-based platform and works well at most venues. So, if there is an acceptable cell signal, your guests will be able to participate, view items and bid with confidence. And organizers will benefit from the full suite of features.
A Weak Cellphone Signal
Sometimes, a cellphone signal can be degraded due to geography, building design or venue location within a building, or a combination of all three. If you have any doubt about reception, we recommend testing the venue for suitability.
You can test the signal easily when you visit the site. Simply use your smartphone to access the MobilBid Real-Time Demo Auction by Texting “demo” to 647-699-0027 and observe the speed at which you can login, browse items and make bids. If it works effectively for you, it will work for your guests.
If the ability to text and receive the initial response is good, but you find the login, browse and bid functions are slow, then you should consider providing Wi-Fi access for your guests – usually the venue manager can help.
And because of the popularity of cellphone use – think social media and messaging – in public places and at social events, many hotels and event venues now use commercial cellphone signal boosters. Certainly, worth another question for the manager.
Oh, Oh! No Signal. Now What?
If, for whatever reason, if there is no cell signal, then we encourage you to you consider a vendor other than MobilBid. A vendor, that can supply dedicated devices and a supporting network to run the auction, set up and managed by a team of technicians. A lot more expensive and less convenient, but certain to assure a reliable platform.
Or, if all else fails, then you can fall back on the old-fashioned paper bid sheet method to run your silent auction. Just be prepared to spend a little longer at checkout deciphering bid sheets and preparing billing invoices.