We now have the ability to accept advance online bids, and do "buy-it-now"!
The idea is to let folks participate who might otherwise not be able to bid, either because they are busy volunteering, or can't attend the event. Online bidding also generates extra overall interest in the auction, even if all the advance bids later get out-bid by in-person bidders.
If you aren't ready for advance bidding, don't worry - you have to enable a new internal code to control whether it appears: HIDE_BIDDING default is true, so to enable [create this code|Internal+Codes] and set it to false (or ask me to do that for you).
Similarly, the BUY_IT_NOW feature is controlled by a true/false setting. You can turn it off at a particular time and the buy-it-now price will be hidden from the catalog view.
You can also set PREVENT_BIDS to still shows the currently winning bids, but prevents new bids.
The bidding feature is enabled up until the day of the current auction, after which it becomes hidden again.
You won't see bids if you are not signed in.
If you have configured email, it will send out-bid emails to any 'bumped' bidders showing them the new minimum bid level and giving them a link to sign in and re-bid. They will look something like this:
This is an automated email to let you know that someone else has placed a bid on GE34 Smoked Ham.
Your bid of $15 for 1 is no longer among the current winning bids. The high bid is now $25.
Click here to login and re-bid.
When you print bid sheets, it will pre-print the winning online bids on the form, and folks who bid in person will have the chance to outbid the advance bidders.
The catalog will show a list of winning high-bids for each item.
Bids for an item also appear on the new audit history accessible by admin/volunteer from the item page.
There is also a winning bids report, and an admin page to let you see all the bids and when they were placed. You can add, edit or remove bids from that page also.
Winning bids are highest ones, then earlier ones in case of ties.
When you press the Bid link, it will take you to a new page where you can enter your bid price and amount.
If you bid too low, it will tell you (you must bid at least the current lowest winning bid plus a certain amount, as configured in the bid_increment_rule - the same logic used to pre-print dollar amounts on the dinner bid sheets. (basically, a low value for low min-price, then progressively higher in reasonable jumps - see Bid Sheets ).
It won't let you bid more than the remaining unsold qty. Also, to keep things simple, only whole dollar bids are allowed.
To determine winning bids, it looks at the Qty available, plus one if the 'Flexible' box is checked and the bid qty=2.
For suspense, you don't get to see who the other bidders are until the night of the auction. (If it matters who else is coming as to whether you bid or not, you might be missing the point about the whole community building purpose of an auction).
If your winning bid exceeds the item's buy-it-now price, it gets converted to a sale and the user sees a congratulations/thank-you page with a link to their statement.
If you try to enter a bid without having a bidding paddle assigned, it will prompt you to ask for one via email (same as the Contact Us link).
When you go to print bid sheets, there is a 'bids' checkbox that controls whether bids are pre-printed on the bid sheets (bidders at the event can then continue bidding). If pre-printed bids survive, they will be entered as sales just like hand-written bids by the data entry team.
If you get such a request, just use the same check-in screen to assign a paddle number.
That brings up the question - how should you make such paddle assignments before the event? Best answer is to come up with some non-overlapping range of paddle numbers to use for this purpose. Then, if the same folks who have made advance bids also want to show up and bid in person, they can do that, but they just need to keep using the same pre-assigned paddle number - don't overwrite it with a new one, or else their bids pre-printed on bid sheets won't match. Whether you charge for this or not is up to you.
Also, when signed in as admin, you can see a summary list of all bids from the "Advance Bids" screen - this is also how you can edit or remove bids that may have been made in error. For privacy (in case this screen is accessed during training) the bid amounts aren't shown, but they will print if you need a listing (for example, to give to the auctioneer for live items).
Another potential gotcha with online bidding is that donors (and volunteers on their behalf) might make changes to an item even after it has some online bids. (For example, a date change might make someone no longer want to bid). That has the potential to cause some problems - not sure how that's going to work out - ideas welcome.