I received an email from handmadeology recently about why etsy sellers should sell on tophatter. At first I paid it no mind, but later I was thinking about ways to get my products out there more so I thought I'd check it out.
Tophatter is a live online auction site and is quickly becoming another place to find all sorts of handmade goods. It's not only for handmade goods though.
It's just like what I believe live auctions are actually like (I haven't been to one yet). The auctions are set up throughout the day and you can join in and watch or bid on the items on the block. Each user gets gets an avatar (you get to choose hair and clothing color) and when you join an auction, your avatar shows up in a large gallery with everyone else. On the right side of your screen the item up for bid appears with any descriptive information the seller has supplied as well has the retail price and shipping information. You can also see upcoming items.
The auctioneer runs the auction by stating who the seller of the item up for bid is and then repeats the information found on the right side of the screen. He then begins the auction with the beginning bid that the seller has set. If the seller is available (you don't have to be there when your item is up for auction) you can ask them questions as well as chit chat with the other attendees in the room. (It runs chat style at the bottom of the screen and then talk bubbles show up in the room). When the current lot on the block ends the auctioneer moves on to the next one.
If your item sells you'll receive notification from tophatter that your item was sold and who won it. The winner receives and invoice and pays you directly via PayPal. Easy peasy.
There are no fees to pay to tophatter if your item does NOT sell. The fees for an item that does sell are 10% of the winning bid or a minimum of $1. That is definitely something to keep in mind when you set the beginning bid for your item. You do not have to pay your selling fees right away. You can pay them at the end of the week. A notification shows up on the top of your screen that you have fees to pay until you pay them.
|SOLD!!! to xxx for $3|
My experience: I thought I'd put up one of my Mother's Day cards to see how things went and set my starting bid too low at $3. My cards normally retail for $6. I think I was thinking about eBay when I set it up. I was fortunate enough to be home when my auction occurred and sat and watch it all go down. It was over in less than two minutes with only one bid of $3. A dollar of that went to pay the auction fee and then some change went to PayPal for their fees. And then my non-thinking self that didn't add shipping to the auction went and paid $1.95 at USPS to ship the item because I used a cardboard envelope which is considered a package...that's a whole other story. Let me get back on track. So yeah, I totally didn't make anything off my auction, but that was my fault. Lesson learned.
All in all I think it was a good experience. I do want to try it again. You can link your etsy account to your profile and when your items are scheduled there is a pintrest link so that you or other people can pin your item to drive more traffic to your auction. There are also Twitter and facebook links.
Oh, I forgot, scheduling. When you set up an item to be auctioned off scheduling seems to be a bit random. they pretty much choose when your item will be scheduled. I believe all the newbies are scheduled together and then depending on how well your item does when you go to schedule more items there is more flexibility with the scheduling. Also, times are PDT. For me that meant I had to remember that it was three hours later.
Did I leave anything out? I'm no pro, but if you have any questions I'll try to answer them the best I can.