Auctioneer moves all bidding online due to COVID-19 concerns

A Western Canadian auction company is taking steps to keep bids coming while keeping staff and auction attendees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jordan Clarke is the Sales Director for Western Canadian Agriculture for Ritchie Bros.

He says the company is moving all of its auctions online.

“As of Monday morning, we made the decision to convert all our farm auctions into timed auctions-lot bidding,” says Clarke.

“We are really trying to leverage technology to help assist us through the process of having a traditional style sale to what might work in this situation.”

Clarke adds that Ritchie Bros. already has an online platform, which makes converting all auctions to online bidding only will not be difficult.

“Approximately 70 percent of the time, either an item, or lot, is sold to an online bidder, or the runner-up was an online participant.”

Clarke also says a significant part of the company’s business comes from the Peace Region.

“Along with Saskatchewan, the Peace Country is among our largest regions for buying farm equipment,” explains Clarke.

“Buyers in the Peace Country are very savvy,” he says. “They understand the convenience of online auctions. Time is money so to invest two-to-three days of travel and the cost and time to do that. The convenience of making a bid with the click of a mouse and allowing people to get back in their fields right away is important.”

When asked if Ritchie Bros. would move to an online-only auction format even after the COVID-19 pandemic ends, Clarke says he feels in-person auctions will always be a part of the company’s business model.

“We love the chant of the live auctioneer,” exclaims Clarke. “It is part of our history, it is in the fabric of our company so I don’t know if that will ever change.”

“But for the time being, we are using our tools to make sure people get to participate and stay safe.”

– Kenny Trenton, Trending 55 Newsroom

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