Part III of III. There are all types of reverse auctions.

December 16th, 2011

Today let’s take a look at a Vickrey reverse auction and much more?

I like these types of words. Vickrey has a certain ring to it doesn’t it? In fact there are so many types of reverse auctions that we can’t deal with them all in a single blog. Some of the other types beyond the reserve price auction we have already discussed in this series and the Vickrey we will discuss today are English Auctions Yankee Auctions, Dutch Auctions and many more. Each type of auction evolved to be used for different type of purchasing.

I like the premise behind the Vickrey auction because of the gaming discipline that psychologically encourages bidders to keep fishing or playing. To this author what is important in today’s e-procurement platforms is that all features of all auction types ought to be available for use within a single event. By this, I mean we should be able to use all features of any auction type within a single event. An example might be using deciles, market baskets and units as a framework for a single event and have the flexibility to apply any feature such as reserves, ranking, indices, extensions and any other feature to each as well as each line item within an area. This flexibility drives the best possible savings for the host within one event.

Now back to the Vickrey.

According to Wiktionary the Vickrey reverse auction is named after a Canadian professor of economics named William Vickrey (1914-1996) who was also a Nobel laureate.  Vickrey’s paper, Counterspeculation, auctions and competitive sealed tenders, was the first of its kind using the tools of game theory to explain the dynamics of auctions. Any one that truly understand the magic of a reverse auction understands that the same type of psychology that drives gaming in a Casino drives the dynamics of a reverse auction.

Because there are so many types of reverse auctions it is important to develop an individual strategy for each category that you decide to take to market. Specifically to the opening question, a Vickrey auction allows for selling single items where the lowest bidder sells the item at the price offered by the second lowest bidder.

Now try and figure out how you would implement this strategy. Would you use ranking? If so, what impact might it have?

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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