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COVID-19 pandemic highlights important role of online auctions
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COVID-19 pandemic highlights important role of online auctions


The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way people go about their day-to-day business, and the importance of online auction services like DVAuction have been magnified since the start of the pandemic in early 2020.

Heather Soukup, DVAuction general manager, says she has definitely seen a shift, especially when it comes to online-only timed auctions.

“We’ve seen an increase. The nice thing we can do, as long as we have information on those animals – be it a picture, video, or Excel spreadsheet catalog – we can make whatever we need to make work for their sale,” Soukup said. “Whether we have a local auctioneer close it and do a live close on the timed auction or whether we send a rep there and physically do it, we have a lot of flexibility so that if something were to change last-minute, which we know has happened a lot this year, their sale can still move forward.”

Since the service’s establishment in 1999, the goal of DVAuction has always been to assist cattlemen and women in marketing their animals, expanding their trade area by promoting to a worldwide audience, and helping with true price discovery.

DVAuction currently has over 300,000 registered account holders and broadcasts over 7,000 sales annually. The online auction broadcasts have become an industry norm and a must-have for most auctions.

“Internet-based sales have become a much bigger piece of the sale process. It really allows producers to open up their marketplace to where it’s not just a local market anymore,” Soukup explained. “It offers a lot more exposure.”

With peak sale season coming up shortly and the pandemic still going strong, producers may be more inclined to do online-only auctions in early 2021, but are they at a disadvantage in doing so?

“I think a big part of producer sales is that sense of community and bonding with their customers, and that that aspect would be missed, but as far as making something work if they need to, we see a lot of success in our online-only sales,” Soukup said. “Any rancher who normally has an on-site live sale is going to miss the camaraderie of their friends, family, and customers, but as far as actual value of the animal, there’s no big difference in what they’ll receive.”

Internet-based sales and marketing will become an increasing larger piece of the sale process and brand building in the future. Many producers are too busy these days to get away for a day or even an afternoon to travel to a sale to purchase cattle, and they find it much easier to bid and buy on the internet in their home or office.

DVAuction allows producers and buyers to expand their genetics program to areas they might not have been exposed to, and whether it be COVID or weather related issues, online auctions are a very good insurance plan that allows a sale to successfully go on.

“Our role is more critical than ever,” Soukup said. “Over the past few years it has become fairly commonplace for people to offer an online broadcasting service of some kind and we’ve had measures in place to be able to handle that.”

With increased usage of the service, DVAuction is always working to improve systems and make sure they’re performing for their customers.

“Since COVID has happened, we’ve definitely had an increase in viewers and buyers, so we made some adjustments as far as including tutorials and making sure we have extra staff on hand to help anybody through the process that might not be familiar with it,” Soukup explained. “We’ve also increased our server load to handle larger capacities.”

DVAuction has 22 full-time employees and office staff, with 50 reps, all of which are dedicated and willing to adjust.

“We know how important that sale process is for our customers and we do everything we possibly can to make sure that it’s going to be the most successful sale it can be for them,” Soukup concluded.

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