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Guide for Buyers & Sellers: How Do Online Auctions Work?

February 9, 2024

For decades, auctions have been one of the best ways to get your hands on great items for unbeatable prices. With many of them moving online, you can get those incredible deals from the comfort of your own home. 

Whether you’re planning to sell your own items or want to learn how to win online auctions for used equipment and vehicles, check out this online auction how-to guide from Purple Wave. We’ll discuss the online auction terminology, explain how they work, and provide tips for both buyers and sellers. Read on for more! 

What Is an Online Auction?

In its most basic definition, an online auction is an auction that takes place virtually through an auction website. They allow people from all over to bid on or sell goods to a broader audience than was ever possible with the traditional in-person auction. 

Online Auction Terminology

Whether you’re buying or selling, it’s important to know how to do an online auction properly by building your vocabulary with these important terms:

  • Valuation: Items up for auction are given a suggested value from a professional evaluator before the auction.
  • Bids: The amount an individual bidder agrees to pay for an auction item.
  • Bid Increments: A set minimum that each successive bid can rise based on the amount of the current leading bid.  
  • Max Bid: The highest bid an individual bidder is willing to offer.
  • As Is, Where Is: Acknowledgement that the buyer will receive their bid item in its current condition and at its current location, with the understanding that the item will not be moved and must be collected from the location listed for the item. 


How Do Online Auctions Work for Buyers?

If you’re looking to buy equipment on Purple Wave, getting started is easy. In fact, it only takes four steps. Here’s how to do online auctions as a buyer on Purple Wave:   

      1. Register Your Account

All buyers must be registered with Purple Wave in order to place a bid. To begin, all you need is your name and an email account. 

      2. Browse for Items

Once registered, you can browse current auctions or use the search bar to seek out specific vehicles or equipment. Be sure to review online auction rules and regulations. Make sure to check out all item details, location info, seller information, images, videos, and opportunities for in-person or virtual inspection before committing to any bids. 

     3. Place Your Bid

Once you find an auction you’re interested in, you can enter your bid. When learning how to bid on online auctions with Purple Wave, you can enter either a single bid or an initial bid with a set max bid. Purple Wave offers no-reserve bidding, which means all items are for sale without a minimum reserve price and will sell to the highest bidder. 

     4. Payment and Checkout Process

If you win your bid, you’ll need to provide the necessary information to pay for the auction item. Purple Wave handles all the details for you, and once payment is received, the item is released and ready for pickup. 

Yes, it’s really that easy! To learn more about the process, check out our auction guide for buyers

How Do Online Auctions Work for Sellers?

How does an online auction work for those with items they want to sell? The process is about as simple as it can be when you go through Purple Wave. Here’s how to auction online as a Purple Wave seller: 

     1. Register Your Account

Register your seller account to start posting your items. To begin, you’ll need a valid email address, phone number, home or business address, and additional information about the items you want to auction. 

     2. List Your Items

When you list items with Purple Wave, you’ll need to provide some basic information for the listing item, including the type of item, the total estimated value, some sample pictures, and any other useful notes. 

Once you submit this information, Purple Wave will take care of the pre-auction listing and market your items for as little as a $100 standard listing fee. 

    3. Sold!

Sit back and relax because Purple Wave will automatically sell to the highest bidder. Once your item sells, we’ll provide shipping and transfer the payment and title paperwork. Items are listed on the site before the start of the auction, and bidding takes place over a three-week period. 

Buy and Sell Equipment With Purple Wave’s Online Auctions

Now that you’ve got the basics of online auctions down, you can start buying and selling vehicles and equipment through Purple Wave. Here’s why we’re the trusted no-reserve equipment auction marketplace. 

No Reserve Auctions

A reserve auction is a type of auction in which the seller sets an undisclosed minimum price, or “reserve price”, that they’re willing to sell their item for. This means the item does not sell to the highest bidder if that price is not met. All listed items on Purple Wave don’t have reserve prices and are guaranteed to be sold to the highest bidder. 

Extensive Inventory

When you use Purple Wave as a buyer, you gain access to a vast inventory of vehicles and equipment from various industries. When you use Purple Wave as a seller, you gain access to an enormous pool of potential bidders looking for your items.  

Weekly Auctions

Whether you’re in the market for an essential piece of equipment or looking to put yours for sale, the odds are you don’t want to wait around for a quarterly auction. There’s always an active equipment auction on Purple Wave, so you can join anytime.  You can also locate items of interest before bidding begins by going to the Auctions page and clicking “Save Search” or “Watch” to keep an eye on them. 

Made in the USA

Purple Wave is a family business founded in Manhattan, Kansas, and we’re proud to provide a platform where customers can buy and sell great equipment. With a focus on equipment liquidation via no-reserve internet auctions, we offer a simple and hassle-free platform for purchasing and selling used equipment and vehicles. 

You’ll find auctions of every kind of Purple Wave, from excavator and tractor auctions to dump trailers and bulldozers for sale. Get started today!