The Auction Collective

Driving forward a new business model in Umbraco and .NET 5

Summary

 

The Auction Collective have changed the way primary market art can be sold online. We helped them deliver an innovative multi-platform infrastructure which powers live-streamed art auctions, as well as online timed auctions and e-commerce.

 

We provided a unique, user-friendly brand experience, allowing clients to explore the catalogue of artwork and take part in online auction events from any device, anywhere in the world, while physical auctions weren't possible during the pandemic.

The Challenge

 

Before COVID-19, auctions typically ran monthly. However social distancing regulations presented key challenges for The Auction Collective and its network of artists and charities. 

 

Their online infrastructure simply wasn't set up for online auctions or e-commerce payments.

 

We stepped in to create new platforms to support this new online business model.

What we did

 

 

Custom Business Management Platform

 

Our team created a standalone bespoke, business management system which powers the entire operation. It covers storing auction details, user management and order processing.

 

Umbraco

 

We made some major UX and Design improvements and rebuilt the entire CMS in Umbraco 8, with stunning new features such Online Viewing Rooms and a user-friendly artwork search.

 

Previously, the Umbraco 7 CMS was being used to store large amounts of content and data.  We extracted the core auction functionality into the standalone business management platform which provided an API (.NET Standard Web API) to manage auctions, which did all the heavy lifting.  It left Umbraco to its strength as a website content management system.

 

Live auction

 

We built a responsive platform where users can register to bid and take part in a live auction whether it is by telephone, online with live streamed video or by advanced absentee bidding. We developed a series of interfaces and logic to accommodate the bidders themselves, the auctioneer and the bid clerk team who run the auction. The interfaces provide real time data on bidders and the amounts they are bidding, at lightning speed.

 

Timed Auction

 

We also implemented the timed auction functionality; this allows online auctions to run for a fixed length of time. Users can add their maximum bids using the interface and bid against each other in real time.

 

Buy Now Ecommerce

 

As well as online auctions, we created an online store to showcase limited edition prints and private exhibition artwork. These can be bought direct at a fixed price with flexible shipping options.  

 

We implemented a marketplace payment provider which provides a flexible and robust payment platform to suit the client’s payment workflow. The implementation’s handles background checks upon signup to mitigate fraud and handles international payments.

Outcome

 

The outcome is a fast and powerful Umbraco website with a bespoke auction platform that has:

 

  • Hosted charity auctions on behalf of The Big Issue, Action Against Hunger and The Terrence Higgins Trust

 

  • Sold artworks by artists like Goldie, Gavin Turk, Grayson Perry, Mr Brainwash and Alison Goldfrapp

 

  • Enabled worldwide users to participate in real time from London to Barcelona and Japan

 

View site

217%

New user sign ups

1000 +

Sales generated through the platform

40 +

Completed live and timed auctions

88%

increase in new website users

20%

Organic traffic increase

12%

Reduction in bounce rate

Client testimonial

Three words to describe the team at SteadyGo.<br> <br>1. Professional - an always attentive team quick to respond and give me confidence on every matter on which they are working.<br> <br>2. Creative - not only do they make an effort to fully understand each of our needs but they research innovative approaches that go beyond our original ambitions. <br> <br>3. Hard working - they are an unstoppable team that works around the clock to deliver stellar results.

Tom Best, Director, The Auction Collective

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