UPDATE: The telecourse mentioned is over, but the content is still valid.
To learn a simple manual auction checkout process, get auction checkout training here.
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As I write this, I just returned from a benefit auction. The gala was the non-profit’s first and it earned an “A.”
But one area we’ll be perfecting before next year’s event is the registration and auction checkout process.
Checkout is a timely topic for me. It happens to be the first subject I’m covering in my free Auction Technology teleclass series beginning this Thursday. (My FREE 6-week teleseries is designed to get you up-to-speed on tools that make managing your entire auction easier.)
I’m featuring this company and its technology because of its “Express Pay” option that facilitates payment via credit cards and eases the checkout process.
Technology can help in many aspects of an auction, but most groups start with a special credit card swipe machine designed to help with the registration and checkout process.
The story goes like this: By using unique pre-swiping technology at the registration table, the guest will shorten his or her wait in the auction checkout line. When the credit card is swiped in the check-in line, the guest’s bid number is tied to the credit card number. (This feature is not offered by bank credit card swipe machines.)
But here’s the kicker: the process only works if you offer two lines at check-out.
One line is called “Cashier.”
It’s for guests who haven’t pre-swiped.
They must A) visit the cashier to pay for their items, and then B) head over to item pick-up to retrieve their new belongings.
The other line (a more swiftly moving line, for reasons I’ll explain momentarily) is called “Item Pick-Up.”
This line is reserved for those guests who did pre-swipe.
When a guest swipes their card, the information is captured in the terminal. Should the guest earn the winning bid on a silent auction item — and leave the gala shortly thereafter — it’s not a problem. The non-profit has the credit card information for the guest and can collect payment.
Even if the guest takes 3, 6, or 32 weeks to pick-up their purchased silent auction item, the non-profit is able to charge the card, collect the money, and settle the books.
Some of you are thinking, “Wait a second, Sherry. If everyone swipes, you’ll still have a long line at Item Pick-Up. Why would the Item Pick-Up line move faster?”
First, not every one of your guests will need to visit the Item Pick-Up line.
For instance, guests who pre-swipe and then make cash-only donations don’t need to stand in any line. They can leave the auction and go home. After the event, the nonprofit can mail the guest a receipt for his cash donation.
A second reason that the line moves faster is tied to a well-designed timeline.
If the event is well-planned, your check-out volunteers will have time to organize pick-up. When each guest arrives to collect their items, your Item Pick-Up area might be so well-arranged that your volunteer simply hands each guest their purchases in a bag.
On Thursday, I’ll be sharing more in-depth information about recent gains in this technology. It’s so advanced that now it even assists with gala ticket sales.
I hope so!
Join me on the call.
P.S. From time to time, I hold teleclasses. They are announced in my (free) e-newsletter, Benefit Auction Ideas.