Watts Auctions Case Study

Live and timed e auctions

Watts & Associates (Auctioneers) Limited is a firm of specialist auctioneers based in Carlton, a village situated just a few miles from Barnsley, South Yorkshire. The firm has a wealth of experience in hosting and managing auction events for single and multiple vendors throughout the UK.

Their expertise includes contractors plant and construction equipment, grounds maintenance equipment, agricultural machinery, vehicles and light industrial equipment. The firm has customers all over the world, exporting items to countries such as in Europe and Africa.

The auctioneers hold regular yard sales every five weeks where customers can either bid in person or online. The firm also holds regular timed online auctions. The Internet, timed and live online bidding have all become integral parts of the firm's global business strategy.

Customers no longer need to travel to the yard if they prefer to bid online, saving them both time and money. Equally, timed online auctions mean that vendors can keep the items for sale at their own premises rather than having to pay the transport costs to take them to the yard sale in Carlton.

Broadband connectivity

In 2015 Watts Auctions provided a case study for the European Commission-funded DigiChampz Initiative that promoted the opportunities and benefits of the digital economy across the South Pennines.

The firm realises that its business model relies on fit-for-purpose broadband connectivity capable of delivering robust communications in real time. If broadband goes down during a Saturday morning's yard sale (which attracts overs 3,500 lots), customers bidding online will suddenly be unable to do so. Commissions are lost and it is never the broadband supplier who is first line for complaint, rather the auctioneers.

The firm uses the i-bidder e auction software provided by ATG Media. The real time bidding software is similar to that used for commodity and derivatives trading. But, in a rural area, connectivity is never quite the same.

Director John Roebuck said:

"The internet has given us this amazing vehicle to reach out to our markets. However its not much use to us if it keeps breaking down or fails to deliver the goods on time. Someone else will beat us there."

SPARC responded:

"The Watts Auctions case study - live online bidding - is probably the most convincing argument for any business to require fit-for-purpose, reliable and fast broadband."

"We're pleased to see the company presenting the case for grassroots super connectivity to senior digital policy decision makers in the European Commission and UK government." 

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