Major vendors have shown their support for a new shopping initiative by making their products available for public auction.
Auction Shopping Australia (ASA) was launched amid an aggressive advertising campaign on the weekend.
Selling a range of goods via a catalogue and an Internet site, the start-up business plans to auction goods, including computers and printers, each month. Customers can view the products online or in the catalogue, which was distributed with newspapers last Sunday.
ASA's marketing director Tony Cooper said the company had studied the success of auctions in America, which had "gained momentum" in the past few years. He said auction shopping appealed to a wide range of customers, including rural or remote customers, cash-rich and time-poor customers, and those who are after genuine bargains.
The company's Web site was inundated with hits last night following a number of television ads, Cooper said.
Products for auction include those from Compaq, IBM, Packard Bell, Canon, Banksia and 3Com.
"A lot of vendors are very switched on to the role technology is playing in retail today," Cooper said.
He said some of the computing goods were purchased through distributors, and some directly from the vendors.
The auction is open for a week, with the results announced 48 hours after it closes.
Cooper said the Web site uses the Quest payment gateway, which was developed with the National Australia Bank, and the database is hosted on an AS400 server. The site is hosted on an NT server, but Cooper says it will change to another AS400 server shortly.
Customers make a bid for the product which is between the reserve and recommended retail prices. It is operated as a silent auction, which means customers can't see other bids.
There is an unrefundable bid fee, between four and six dollars, for every bid placed.
Cooper said there was more than 6000 individual items available, including furniture, whitegoods, exercise equipment and electronics.