The first entirely computerized equipment auction is coming soon to a computer near you, according to online heavy equipment marketer Point2 Internet Systems and Internet-based auctioneer Bid.Com.
The two firms recently announced a partnership designed to conduct online equipment auctions. "The Web is an ideal environment to connect the buyers and sellers of heavy equipment," said Point2 CEO Wendell Willick, "and this accelerates the introduction of heavy equipment auctions to our Web site."
Two-year-old Point2 Internet Systems, based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, originally established its Web site (www.point2.com) to sell new and used equipment for dealers throughout North America. It currently lists more than 41,000 pieces of equipment for sale worth more than $4 billion.
Several large rental companies - including Caterpillar dealer Holt Caterpillar (No. 41 on the RER 100), Deere dealer RDO Equipment (No. 45) and Case dealer Western Power & Equipment (No. 52) - use Point2 to advertise equipment for sale. With such rental heavyweights behind it, the online auction will be reality soon.
A Point2 spokesman says the first fully automated auction will be held this month.
5 Keys to Launching a Site A recent survey commissioned by RER found that fewer than half of all rental centers have a presence on the World Wide Web. That means that many rental centers are currently formulating their online business plans or are in the process of launching new sites.
At the Internet World '99 conference recently in Chicago, a seminar was held to help cyber-neophytes create an effective site. David Sachs, an assistant dean at Pace University, White Plains, N.Y., and Henry Stair, president of Mycroft Information, New Canaan, Conn., said successful site planners know their objectives from the start. Do you want the site merely to provide contact information? Do you want to sell used equipment via the Internet? Do you want to allow customers to rent equipment online?
Once those questions have been answered, it is time to pay attention to the details, according to the experts. Five specific areas of note include:
* Graphics. Create a visually appealing site whose look is regularly updated.
* Content. Strive for an information-packed site that is consistently changing.
* Organization. A successful site features easy navigation with good signposts and returns.
* Interactivity. Find ways to involve visitors and implore them to interact.
* Follow-up. If visitors are forced to wait days for an informed response to their queries, you've undone all the good that comes from having a site.
By adhering to the tips above, customers are likely to bookmark the site - the first step in creating an electronic business relationship. After that, it's up to you to make the relationship blossom into a functional online relationship.