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Some contributors to the conversation saw the funny side. But the thread highlighted a very serious issue for auctioneers: the impact of a shipper’s service on how buyers perceive an auction house (see feature, p20-23).

In the mainstream e-commerce world, surveys show people often choose retailers based on speed and cost of delivery. But when those consumers become buyers of art and antiques, a disconnect emerges.

The task then for auctioneers and their shipping partners is to try and reconcile the real and high costs of packing and delivering fragile objects with the expectations of consumers used to buying through e-commerce giants.

As our feature concludes, managing these customer expectations is crucial. Auctioneers who suggest shippers offering a range of joined-up delivery options at varying, fair and transparent prices, are cracking this conundrum.