{Business Tips} Promote Your Business With Tophatter

Have you checked out Tophatter?  Tophatter is a fairly new live auction site that you can attend right from the comfort of  your home.  All you need is a laptop, internet connection, and of course a Tophatter account.  As a buyer, If you decide to decide to bid and win an item, PayPal is the method of payment.  There are a variety of wares being offer at any given time and things move lightening fast.

Back in April, I spent a weekend {It’s addicting – so beware}, just stalking the various auction rooms.  I called it doing research.  What I found interesting was the “live” environment; people were politely chatting with each other (you can read the chatter in conversation bubbles that pop-up), they  were bidding on goods and it seemed everyone was having a good time. In the image below, which I grabbed on May 4th, you can see me back, I’m the one with the circle around my feet.  At this particular time, this auction room for the Early Bird Bazaar had over 112 attendees waiting to bid.  I mean they were literally waiting for the auction to start so they could start their day off shopping.

It should be noted that all Tophatter auctions are scheduled in Pacific Standard Time, so if you live in another time zone be sure to figure out the exact time for your zone.

Tophatter Live Auction

Tophatter Live Auction

So this past week, I bit the bullet and decided to try Tophatter out as an auctioneer / seller.  After I created my seller profile and made sure all my information was correct, I listed an item. As a new seller I was only able to schedule one listed item.  The folks at Tophatter want to make sure they protect their buyers and their growing brand and reputation, so until you have successfully sold 3 slots you will not be able to schedule more than one time at a time.

Herbanluxe Tophatter Seller Listings

Herbanluxe Tophatter listings


After you have sold 3 lots successfully, Tophatter will grant you priority scheduling based on your stats as a seller. There are several factors involved in a sellers stats, such as:

  • Your percentage of successfully sales
  • The number of average bids on your lots
  • Your final sale price
  • Buyer feedback

A short time after I uploaded my first listing and scheduled it, I received an email from a Tophatter staffer telling me they loved my work and wanted to feature more of it in their Bath & Beauty auctions and offered to usher any new listings to the next closest auction dates.  This was very cool.

My first scheduled auction was a success. I was scheduled under the Bed & Bath category and there were about 50 attendees. It all happened so fast, it made my head spin.  I mean within seconds my item was up for live auction, bids started flying, and in the blink of an eye my item sold.  I didn’t have to invoice the buyer, Tophatter does this for you.  You do get to leave feedback for the buyer and you also get to mark the item as paid and shipped.  It’s pretty straight forward.

Turns out buyers can set alerts for items they are interested in bidding on.  So they can see your scheduled items days before the auction is actually scheduled for.  They can also Pin, Tweet and Like your scheduled items.  Talk about free marketing. I have to say that hands-down this social media feature is one of my favorite Tophatter features.  I tend to keep a close eye on my Google Analytics and was pleasantly surprised to see traffic to my shop from Tophatter.

So, we all know that something this good is not offered for free.  There are some fees associated with running your Tophatter auctions, the following is taken right from the Tophatter site regarding fees:

You pay Tophatter a 10% fee (based on the winning bid amount), with a minimum fee of $1. If your item doesn’t sell, you don’t have to pay. There are no fees to list an item. This fee is paid to Tophatter via PayPal after the buyer pays you. You don’t have to pay Tophatter right away. You can let the fees accrue for a week or two, and pay us at your convenience.

In the future we may change or increase these fees. In the event of a fee change, we will honor the fee structure at the time you scheduled your lot.

For this post, I decided I wanted to ask the folks at Tophatter a few questions, so I sent off an email and John G., a Tophatter staffer took some time to answer my questions.  I kept my questions short as to not take up too much of his time and these are his replies:

1. How many registered users does Tophatter currently have to date?
John G.: We have thousands upon thousands of registered users! My apologies on being vague, but I can’t disclose our total registered user numbers at this time.

2. Of all the auction categories, which has the largest average number of attendees? Is it the early bird auctions, jewelry, bed and bath or does it seem to depend on a specific time of day?
John G.: Our most popular auctions are jewelry, supplies & our bazaar auctions. We usually have 150-250 users in these auctions.

3. What are the one or two main benefits of selling at a live auction?
John G.: The main benefits are awareness & instant sales. When you sell in an auction on Tophatter you get to promote your merchandise to a huge room of potential buyers. Also, the auction format is fun, fast & competitive which means that buyers are more likely to purchase your merchandise while it’s up on the auction block.

So there you have it. If you are looking for other ways to promote your shop, I recommend trying Tophatter on for size.  If you’ve used Tophatter in the past or are currently using them, I’d love to hear your feedback and comments.


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About Myra @ HerbanLuxe

Myra is an Etsian with an MBA. The art of business and technology are her two obsessions. She has been writing EcoEtsy Business Tips since 2010. Myra grew up in Puerto Rico with grandparents who were a head of their time and didn't know it - living what we would call today, "a simple green life." Her love of learning and teaching are the key drivers in almost everything she does.


  1. I have just learned about this Tophat from another Etsy crafter and I have read some of the comments on the site some hate it some love it but I do Pysanky and it only sells at Easter time have you seen any of this craft on Tophat auction? I am a senior and I am not a night person and I have read several places the auction takes place at night. I live in central time zone. As I read your post you have to be the one to auction your entry. How does this work if you can not be present at the time your piece is up for auction?
    Thank You

    • Maggie;

      You can schedule an auction on tophatter and do not need to be present when the auction runs. Just make sure you have a good description for your item. I have not seen similar items to yours selling on tophatter so it would be good to do a test.