With the rapid growth in internet sales and customer comfort levels with buying items directly from the web, the City has been riding the cyber-sales wave with our annual surplus property auction — and it’s paid off in leaps and bounds in our auction revenues.
As a category on the City’s ledger, “surplus” City property refers to all those items that one way or another find their way into our storage and have either exceeded the service life assigned to them for in-house use or aren’t items that the City has a particular use for, e.g., confiscated personal property from criminal activities.
The items that make their way onto the City auction list often have plenty of life left in them so we try to find them a new home and at the same time create a small revenue stream to help the City budget.
We’ve learned a thing or two after decades of auctions and one of our biggest lessons was straight out of Adam Smith handbook on market capitalisim — the greater the you can drive demand for items with a limited supply, the higher the price point in the free market.
The internet has been a gateway to a larger audience for surplus items and as a result, our average revenues received on a per item basis has jumped from about $70/item using the old time auctioneer to $270/item through internet sales.
Nothing like a 285% increase in your sales figures to make your stockholders — or in our case, citizens — smile knowing that we’re not only working harder for them, we’re working smarter too.