Use the online marketplace to maximize your selling and purchasing options
by Kathy Wells
March 30, 2015

Online marketplaces are an increasingly popular 
method for smarter equipment acquisition. However, contractors must think before they click and pay close attention when entering the online equipment marketplace. Vendors continue to innovate in the areas of technology, delivery/pickup and data accessibility that can give you the edge you need to turnaround the condition of your fleet. But, it’s important to know what options are available to make the best decision for your company. CBO discussed some of the market’s leading options with two of the top online marketplace service providers to give you an in-depth look into your options.

Proxibid is an online marketplace for buying and selling highly valued items across 15 categories, including heavy construction equipment and industrial machinery. Proxibid works with 3,000 sellers to liquidate assets 
using multiple selling methods—Instant Purchase, Make Offer, Timed Auction and Live Auction—connecting them with buyers anywhere via the Internet. In 2014, more than $1.7 billion in B2B inventory was represented in the Proxibid marketplace. “In 2015, the Proxibid team is focused on completing our integration with eBay, continuing to establish our UK and EU presence, and continuing to work with strategic partners to aggregate high-quality inventory in the marketplace,” said Proxibid’s president and CEO Ryan Downs.

Another thriving online marketplace is IronPlanet, which offers buyers and sellers of used heavy equipment multiple disposition channels—Buy It Now, Reserved Auctions and Unreserved Auctions—functioning on its proprietary online marketplace platform, which gives 
users the tools to maximize the recovery on the assets that they sell. The IronPlanet active online marketplace has a registered buyer base of more than 1.3 million users, 
featuring weekly auctions with two to three days of online auctions most weeks. Important to these online transactions for IronPlanet buyers is IronClad Assurance, which provides a guarantee that the buyer receives the equipment they bid on in the condition they expected it, as well as extended warranties, transportation and financing services. For sellers, IronPlanet offers appraisal services, and inventory management software and tools, as well as a global inside sales organization. “Our goal is to provide our customers with a multi-channel and multi-format 
solution to meet all of their equipment disposition needs. We provide them with the right channel to reach the right buyers at the right time to maximize their returns,” said James J. Jeter, president, Americas, IronPlanet.

Marketplace Challenges

Proxibid’s Downs stated there are two main challenges in the online equipment marketplace. First, some sellers aren’t comfortable selling to anonymous Internet buyers. Secondly, buyers aren’t always comfortable purchasing online, and Downs says that Proxibid strives to overcome both of these challenges.

For sellers, Proxibid has implemented a comprehensive risk management system, which vets buyers to ensure they are qualified to participate and have the financial wherewithal to pay before being admitted to an online sale. This system keeps Proxibid’s non-pay rate low at 0.15 percent.

Proxibid also works with sellers to ensure high quality photos and descriptions accompany each listing, which increases buyer confidence when making an online purchase. Proxibid seller ratings provide buyers with a brief snapshot of each seller’s performance in the marketplace, which makes it easy for buyers to identify sellers who provide quality listings and faster shipping.

What’s New?

People love the convenience and efficiency of doing business online. The ability to allow buyers and sellers to conduct commerce online with confidence will remain a focus for IronPlanet in 2015. Last year, IronPlanet announced a merger with Cat Auction Services that will provide buyers and sellers of used heavy construction equipment a unique auction experience backed by innovative technology services. Customers will have access to a range of marketplaces for asset disposal and acquisition that include both online and on-site auction formats, as well as multiple timing and pricing options.

In 2014 IronPlanet launched allEquip, an online “buy now,” marketplace for sellers that are looking for a disposition solution to drive greater recovery of the asset value and maximize their returns. “Generally, these sellers are willing to sell equipment in a more orderly liquidation timeline, allowing them to maximize the value of their equipment,” said Jeter.

In February, Proxibid announced a partnership with eBay. Proxibid intends to place $2 to 3 billion in business and industrial inventory in front of the world’s largest online buyer base. “This partnership also solidifies eBay’s commitment to the space. This integration, which will be completed later this year, will change the way equipment is bought and sold online,” said Downs.

Recently, Proxibid introduced its new Instant Purchase and Make Offer capabilities, which enables the seller to sell directly on their own websites as well as in the Proxibid marketplace, addressing dealer and fleet owner demands to offer fixed price listings and to take offers on inventory. This new product offering allows sellers to remain open for business 24/7 with their own e-commerce solution, powered by Proxibid. Now, buyers can make a purchase when they want, making it easier to sell to overseas buyers.

Impact from Industry Trends

IronPlanet predicts more equipment coming online from new sources, such as the oil and gas industry, which has historically been an on-site format. This is also true for the government and military looking for a higher return on taxpayer assets. IronPlanet also offers a GovPlanet marketplace, which has spiked interests in a broader range of choices, from work-horse trucks to construction equipment to off-road Humvees. IronPlanet also anticipates increased participation from rental companies as they realize the efficiencies and pricing optimization of an online model that allows them multiple selling options.

Proxibid has kept a close watch on industry trends like fuel economy standards and the latent effects from the industry slowdown. Of course, fuel economy standards are an important decision-making factor when it comes to the online equipment marketplace. Used equipment coming to market that does not meet U.S. federal standards is attractive to overseas buyers. As a result, Proxibid is 
observing a surge in Mexican and Latin American buyers in its marketplace and at industry conferences.

The manufacturing slowdown that took