From traditional auctions to online

Historically, auctions have been a strictly local business: local consignors - local buyers. Consignments are accepted during a limited period of time. After the consignment period, items are catalogued, photographed and stored until the auction takes place. The auction takes place at a specific location and the success depends on the number of buyers present at that particular moment.

Online auctions have different procedures and approaches. All processes are sequential and occur step by step on a daily basis. This kind of workflow results in less bottlenecks and more evenly spaced working hours.

With more standardised and efficient processes, auction houses will get more time for their core business; valuations, consignments and visiting customers. With additional support on technical, logistical and financial issues auction houses will have even more time to focus on their core business.

With more time saved for consignments, more items will be published. These items will be visible for vast numbers of visitors from all over the world. The more visitors, the more bids and the higher the results that can be achieved.

The transition to online auctions

Sweden can be considered a pioneer when it comes to the ‘online revolution’ within the world of auction houses. In 2008, a significant change within the Swedish auction market occurred.

The auction house ‘Auktionskompaniet’ started selling all of their items online with a 24/7 offering. The start was not completely without complications as the pattern for both buying and selling art had now changed. However, times were ripe and after just one year success was achieved. ‘Auktionskompaniet’ was transformed into the current ‘Bukowskis Market’.

When other large auction houses in Sweden began with online auctions for their non-fine art segment, the Swedish auction market realised that this was the right way to conquer a growing segment and to stay on top of the game.

The idea behind Auctionet

It was at that point in time we realised that this was something other auction houses had to do in order to be competitive in the future. We are convinced that all sales of items up to a certain value will be sold on the internet i.e. not through traditional hammer auctions.

Several auction houses tried to replicate the model of ‘Bukowskis Market’ but soon experienced certain issues. Some of the problems we identified were:

  • To develop a robust, functional, web-based auction system demands significant investment which only a few auction houses are capable or willing of - especially if one also takes into account the necessary maintenance and on-going development requirements.

  • A key to success on the web is the ability to attract and convert relevant visitors. This requires significant expert knowledge as well as a large and ‘living’ assortment of pieces on offer on the site; customers only return to sites where they know the will find a large offering with a constant flow of new items.

  • Technical support is also a significant hurdle for the individual auction house. New questions always arise when an auction houses goes online, many are purely technical questions and these can be very time consuming and hard to handle for regular staff.

  • A fully functional and robust shipping solution is vital for the customer regardless of whether the items in question are large or small.

  • Daily transactions require a safe credit card payment solution and daily settlements. These were some of the questions which we wanted to address and this is how the idea behind Auctionet was born.

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"Using Auctionet, we have been able to be more efficient than the last 40 years of working in traditional auctions. It was an absolute game changer for us to be able to consign, catalogue, take pictures and sell the items online – all in 8 days. It’s also great to reach so many buyers outside of the UK." Iain Rushbrook, Managing Director Rushbrooks Auctioneers

”To sell items via Auctionet turned out to become a net revenue. The number of bids from new buyers increased, the number of unsold items were reduced and we achieved higher end prices. In the first year with co-operating with Auctionet the total turnover increased with 50 %. ” Thommy Nylund, VD Auktionshuset Kolonn

”I started within the auction industry since I wanted to work with the art items. With Auctionet taking over the major part of the administration and shipping we have a lot more time for cataloging and appraisals. Since I joined Auctionet I have not needed to make one shipment or collected any payments. ” Robin Holmström, VD Auktionshuset Gomér & Andersson