To organize a successful checkout, there are several factors to consider:
1. Are my items organized and coded for easy retrieval?
We've been to many events where checkout was chaotic, no one knew where items were...is there a certificate that goes with it? What table is it on?
We have come up with a coding system that is simple, yet effective:
- For physical items (raffle baskets, jewelry) we recommend coding these items in the 100's
- For items that are less tangible (certificate for a zip line tour, or a hotel voucher), we recommend coding these items in the 200's
- For items that are a combination of the two (a sports package that includes a ball cap, t-shirt, etc...but also has a certificate with redemption instructions for tickets), we recommend coding these items in the 300's
When you organize things this way, you and your runners will know if your item does or doesn't have a certificate (or another paper item you'd keep in a file folder at the checkout table), OR- if the item has both elements.
2. Do my runners know where the items are?
Organize an effective coding system and make sure your runners understand that system. Creating an overview map of your auction area can be quite helpful to your runners.
3. How will your bidders get their items home?
Consider the following:
Q: Do I have large items that guests may not be able to fit in their cars?
A: If you have larger items- such as a grill, furniture, etc. you'll need to have a way to ensure winners of these items can get them home. If they don't have a car- will you deliver? Do you require the winner to arrange their own transportation? Chances are- the event venue will not let you store items, so plan this logistic accordingly.
Q: Did I open my event up to remote bidders? If so, how will I be getting them their items if they win?
A: If you opened your event up to remote bidders and they win item(s), you'll need to have a plan in place to get them their items. Will you be shipping things? If not, where will you arrange for pickup (i.e., bring items to your school, your office, etc.) NOTE: You can always put instructions in the "notables/fine print" category of an item description. A notable for a large item might be "local bidders only, item will not be shipped." Or- "winner must arrange transport from the venue to their home." It is important to consider your items, your bidders, and how they will get things home.
Q: How far is parking from my items, and do I have people to help take items to guests cars?
A: This last bit about parking all depends on your venue. Let's say you have an older couple, and they won 3 items in your auction. All physical items, and all a bit bulky. The parking lot for your venue is a decent ways away. You may need event volunteers in place who will be able to help guests take items to their cars.
These are all important things to consider when planning your checkout. The end-goal is a smooth and successful event leaving your guests with a great impression.