Determining How Many iPads To Use at Your Auction

Bidders attending your event who do not have an iPhone or Android device will need to use an iPad kiosk in order to bid.  We are often asked the question, how many iPads will we need and where can we get them? 

Here are some good guidelines to use when determining the optimal number of iPads

  1. You CAN have too many iPads.  Having an abundance of iPads certainly means no one has to wait in line in order to bid; however, too many iPads can create unanticipated problems.  Idle iPads consume WIFI connections and bandwidth, they have to be configured (app installed, auction setup), managed (insure that they are connected to the auction), and monitored (for security, etc.)  In other words, too many iPads can just create more administrative work and network congestion.
  2. More than 65% of your bidders will arrive with a supported smartphone.  Smartphones are becoming more and more prevalent today, especially with the auction-going crowd.  Expect that a majority of your bidders will arrive with an iPhone or Android device.  Encourage them to use it. It gives them a more intimate connection with the auction and will keep them engaged throughout the auction.
  3. Not everyone attending your auction will be an active bidder.  Handbid certainly helps drive engagement but we have seen that many couples "bid as one", and others simply don't participate. Expect that only a percentage of your registered bidders will actually place a bid.  
  4. You can configure the iPads to show all or just some of the items.  The iPads can be filtered by category or table, so you can segment them in order to help streamline traffic if you need to.  Please note, you do not need one iPad for every item - that would not be efficient!

Our suggestion is to go with ~1 iPad for every 10 active bidders.  To figure out how many active bidders you will have, consider your registration list.  Assume that roughly 60% of your registered bidders will actually participate in your auction.  So, for 100 registered bidders, expect about 60 of them to be active.  In that case, you would need about 6-7 iPads.

Planning to have 500 people attend? Expect that roughly 250-300 of them will participate.  While some would most likely use their smartphone, expect that you will need about 10-15 iPads.

Please remember, you CAN have too many iPads.  We know that some schools have an abundance of them and have seen some auctions with 80 bidders and 30 iPads on the tables.  Many of those iPads were untouched throughout the event but consumed admin time and bandwidth, so too much can be too much.

For more information on where to get iPads please visit our article on iPad acquisition ideas.  In addition, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us!

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