Bidders in Online Auctions
Enabling bidders to participate in your auction is key to a successful fundraiser.
There are several ways bidders can participate in an online auction, which can appear confusing, but gives you the flexibility to choose what works best for your event.
1. Registering via the auction web site
The auction web site templates are set up to allow a bidder to register with their email address and set up a password to identify themselves for online bidding.
This is the normal way bidders would participate in a long running event. However, when dealing with an in-person event at which you want to do online bidding this can be a bit cumbersome as each bidder would need to go through this process on their phone.
By default when registering online, the bidder will need to confirm their email address before they are allowed to bid. This is done to ensure that the email address is valid and the bidder didn't make a mistake when typing it in which would mean you wouldn't be able to contact them.
During an in-person event this requirement can be onerous, and can be turned off under Website → Online Bidding if you are willing to accept the slight risk of someone entering an incorrect email address. However, if people are picking up items and paying at the event this is less of an issue than in a purely online event.
You can send bidders a Bidder Invitations which is an email with a personalized link to the auction web site to facilitate the registration process. Bidders would still be able to set up their password (and if you are selling tickets they are offered to bidders too).
2. Using Bidder Access Tokens
A bidder access token is a link in an email that allows the bidder to access the auction web site and bid without having to sign in or even set up a password.
Using bidder access tokens can make getting your bidders online much smoother. You can register the bidders at check-in and enter their email address, and then send them a bidder access token and they just click on the link to start bidding.
Sending Bidder Access Tokens
A bidder access token can be sent directly from the bidder check-in page.
On the bidder check-in page locate the bidder(s) you want, by searching for their name or bidder#, and then select the bidders to send a bidder access token to, and click on the Send Access Token button.
The bidder will receive a simple email like:
They can click on the embedded link to be taken to the auction web site as that bidder.
Self Server Bidder Access Tokens
You can add a Generate Access Token element to your web site so bidders can go to the web site and request the email themselves.
In the web site editor move over the side bar and click on Elements → Advanced then drag the Request Token element on to your page
The element allows the bidder to enter their email address:
Bidder Access Tokens Via Text
If you have enabled the Communication feature then a bidder can text the word web to the auction phone number and the system will respond with a text message that contains a link that will sign them into the web site as the bidder they are registered as
3. Using Bidder Access Codes
A bidder access code is a short alphanumeric code the system automatically assigns each bidder which enables them to sign in and participate without needing to register:
On the sign-in page on the website the bidder can type their access code in instead of an email and password:
If you are printing bidder paddles or labels you can include the bidder access code in those via the Word Documents feature.
Access Code vs Access Token
Bidder access codes and access tokens are related, and you can use both.
An Access Code is something that the bidder would manually type into the web browser or the mobile app on their own to access the event.
An Access Token is a special link, usually contained in an email that the bidder would click on to access the web site. This requires that the bidder is able to receive email on the device they want to bid on.
4. Passwordless Sign In
There is an option (disabled by default) to enable bidders to sign in without a password and just using their email address. This clearly is a trade-off between security and convenience – it would allow anyone to sign in as someone else just using their email address. However, in some cases making the process easier for bidders during the short window of an in-person event may be worth this trade off. In a traditional silent auction a bidder could go around bidding as someone else by writing down the wrong bidder#, but generally that isn't a problem in practice. We do not recommend using this for a longer running online auction.
If you want to enable this then click on Website → Online Bidding and set the Allow bidders not to use their password setting to Yes.
If you turn this on, then at check-in you can enter a bid via the Check in Bidders page, including their email address, and they would be able to immediately sign in online without having to set up a password or click on any links.
5. Registering Via Text Message
If a bidder registers via text message then they will be associated with their cell phone# but they can also use the web text command to get a link to sign into the website
6. Bidding in Kiosk Mode
When using kiosk mode you can check-in bidders as normal, or they can register online, they just need their bidder# to bid on a kiosk system you have set up. On the tablet or laptop you provide the kiosk bid form will look accept just a bidder# and amount
There is no need for their email address or a password to bid.