Web Plus: Online auction gathers equipment buyers

More than 70 online bidders spent last Halloween bidding for “treats” that included used and new automated bagging equipment, printers, and conveyors.

Equipment was sold to the highest bidder in this one-day auction.
Equipment was sold to the highest bidder in this one-day auction.

According to the auction holder, Automated Packaging Systems (Streetsboro, OH), more than 50% of its demo, used, and surplus equipment was sold during the one-day-only online auction. Most participants consisted of APS’s past customers and distributors. Production Packaging Equipment, a New York-based distributor, spent approximately $140ꯠ for 20 machines that day. “Our customers saved many thousands of dollars by participating in the auction,” says PPE’s Phil Showenfeld. “The new equipment was discounted 20 percent and the used equipment was discounted heavily.” Showenfeld says that his customers were perfectly comfortable buying online. “Most of the customers had seen the equipment in the past so they felt comfortable buying it without seeing it beforehand,” he says. “Several prospective customers did come to the [PPE, Westbury, NY] showroom to see equipment, and then we helped negotiate the price through the online auction.” Bidders were given the deadline of October 30 to register online for the auction. After registering, a confirming e-mail was received with an assigned user name and password. On October 31, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., bidders went to the APS home page, www.automatedpackagingsytems.com, and followed the links to the main auction page. Bidders selected a main category, such as machines or spare parts, which took them to the next screen that provided subcategories, such as baggers or printers if the machine category was chosen. A list of equipment was displayed on the next screen. By clicking on the item of interest, bidders could see a product description, pricing, and current bid status. Four different prices were displayed: list, buy-now, current bid, and reserve. The buy-now price allowed a buyer to buy the item quickly at the APS sale price without waiting for the auction to end. The reserve price was the lowest price APS was obligated to sell the item for to its bidding customers. To place a bid, buyers entered a price that was higher than the current bid. Bids were made in $10 increments. When the submit button was clicked, the bid was placed. A screen appeared with a confirmation number for future reference. Seventy percent of PPE clients purchased new equipment and 30% bought used/demo equipment. Both new and used equipment included automated baggers, inline printers, and conveyors. The used/demo equipment was bought online by credit card; new equipment was bought offline by purchase order. “Because of the price savings provided by the auction, customers made decisions that they might not have made in terms of purchasing,” says Showenfeld.

For sidebar to this story see: packworld.com/go/APSauction

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