With V. 2.0.2, SAE goes global! We are happy to announce that SAE now supports international bidders and currency, meaning you can now display international currencies to bidders and on your auctions and invoices, and international bidders can register for all auction houses.
SAE V. 2.0.2 is also loaded with exciting new updates like the Widget feature, Bid History report, and streamlined bidding plus numerous enhancements to overall display and navigation. To top it off, we’ve substantially improved our overall performance and capacity to now support 500-item listings.
Let’s take a look at what’s new.
International Bidder and Currency Support
In a global marketplace, the opportunities are endless! With V. 2.0.2, there’s nothing holding you back.
SAE was originally created to serve auctioneers and bidders within the United States, but now bidders from other countries can easily register international addresses, allowing you to accept bids from Canada, Mexico, and around the world.
Whether during registration or by visiting the Address tab in the Bidder Dashboard, bidders now have a new drop-down menu to select a country. This defaults to the United States, but the bidder can choose any other country from the list.
While certainly beneficial to American auctioneers, international bidder support is a major breakthrough for auctioneers in other countries. With the added capability of international currency support, SAE is now officially a global competitor in online auction software.
In addition to supporting international addresses, when a new auction house is created, the auctioneer has the option to choose a currency. This will be the currency that is used and displayed throughout the auctions. The bids, invoices, bid increments, etc. will all display in the currency selected. The default currency is US Dollar, but there are more than 90 currencies supported.*
To set your auction house’s currency, visit the Advanced tab in House Settings where you will see a field for “Money Format.” Using the drop-down menu of options, select the currency you would like your auctions to use. Please be aware that this is currently a global setting, meaning you cannot change it on a per auction or item basis. For further instructions, please visit our support article.
Since this is a new feature, there are certain aspects to that will be introduced in later releases. For example, the “sort by distance” feature is currently only available when there is a valid U.S. zip code for both the bidder and the listing. Additionally, the shipping calculator is currently only available for U.S. currency. There is still the option to add shipping information and text to items, but the actual shipping calculator will not be displayed.
* If your currency is not available, please contact us at email@example.com.
With our new Widgets feature, you can now display your auctions directly on your website or blog.
What exactly is a widget? Despite the funny name, widgets are serious tools used throughout the web with complex and varied functionality. A widget acts as an application that occupies a portion of a webpage and displays information there that is fetched from other websites.
Specifically for SAE, you can now build a widget by first selecting from a series of options to determine which auctions you wish to display. Then, based on the options you selected, the system generates a snippet of code that you can paste into your existing website or blog to have your auctions displayed on a specific webpage.
This is major news for SAE because until now, auctioneers have only been able to use their SAE auction site to display their auctions. Now, however, if you have your own website or blog, you can directly incorporate your SAE auctions into an existing webpage there.
For easy access to this new tool, we have created a new Widgets tab in House Settings. The best part is how simple it is to use this new feature. In fact, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3:
- Step 1: Build a widget.
Choose from a series of options to determine which auctions you would like your widget to display:
- Auction Status (Live and Upcoming, Closed (not archived), or Both)
- Categories (All Categories or specific Categories)
- Number of Auctions to Display (Up to 3, Up to 5, Up to 10, or Up to 20)
- Display Type (Grid View or List View)
- Sorting (Ending Soonest or Start Date)
- Step 2: Generate and copy HTML code.
By using the options in Step 1, you have customized your widget to display listings exactly how you want them to appear on your website or blog. The system generates a snippet of code that you will then select and copy. With dynamic updates and a live preview, you can always see exactly how your widget will look on your site. There is no need to refresh your code due to changes made in your selections in Step 1.
- Step 3: Paste into your website or blog.
In the third and final step, you will paste the copied code snippet into your website or blog. The widget is compatible with most websites and blogs that utilize an HTML text box.
For further information on Widgets, please check out our support article.
Despite all the new features and enhancements that we have implemented, our primary focus is still ensuring a fun, efficient, and intuitive bidding experience for all bidders. After all, SAE was built by a bidder. That’s why we have massively overhauled and streamlined the SAE bidding process. We’ve listened to your feedback, and we are certain you will be happy with the results.
Our original bidding process was designed with a focus on ensuring that bidders confirm their bids in order to prevent mistakes and erroneous bids. While this may work well for high-dollar single-item auctions like in real estate, for other listings with multiple items, it can slow down the bidding process.
To make the process more streamlined, the bid modals have now been removed! The series of popup modals have been replaced with a simple and efficient popover. Bidding has never been easier or quicker.
This bidding update is a precursor to a feature that we will be releasing in the near future that allows bidders to place bids on multiple items at once. Stay tuned!
While we were at it, we also made some language updates to the bidding process to eliminate any confusion for bidders. For example, if there is a $500 max bid on an item and another bidder places a regular bid of $300 on the item, with the new update, the new popover will immediately let the bidder know that he or she was outbid. Additionally, we have updated the language to say that a bid has been “acknowledged” rather than “accepted.”
Auctioneer input played a large role in defining these changes. As for the language updates, we want to make absolutely certain that there is no miscommunication between what is actually happening and what the bidder perceives. We never want a bidder to think that he or she is winning an item, when that is not actually the case.
Test out our new streamlined bidding process today! Visit our test auction where you can sign in and place bids now.
Good news for auctioneers who conduct auctions with a large number of items! We have improved our overall capability and performance, and we are backing that up with a 500-item guarantee. This means that whether your auction has one item or 500, you can rest assured that your software will perform with the same speed and reliability that you have come to expect from SAE thanks to important infrastructure updates.
Does this mean that you can’t have auctions with more than 500 items? Absolutely not. It only means that we cannot guarantee the same level of speed and stability that we can for auctions with 500 or less items. We are always up for a challenge, however, and the data we would receive would be beneficial to us as we continue to increase the supported number of items in upcoming releases.
House Only Information
One issue that we sought to address with V. 2.0.2 was that it is not always clear what information is visible to the public and what information is visible to the auctioneer only. Previously, the auctioneer would see privileged information scattered throughout the Catalog and Item Detail pages, and he or she would naturally assume the information was public.
To resolve this issue, we have added a new module, or panel, to the top of the Catalog and Item Detail pages that shows the auctioneer “House Only Information.” This includes auctioneer-only statistics such as the number of registered bidders, the number of views, links to the Catalog and Item Managers, buttons for publishing and closing, links to reports, and more.
Not only does this panel help to distinguish between what information is public and private, it helps auctioneers by centralizing information and making navigation easier than ever. With the new addition of action buttons like Publish, Close Early, and Revert to Draft to this new House Only Information panel, you can also easily update the status of your catalog or item.
Bid History Report
When you consider the fact that there are often multiple bidders with regular bids, maxbids, and–heaven forbid–retracted bids, it can sometimes become a little unclear as to how an item reached a certain bid amount. You may need to answer questions to confused bidders. Our new Bid History report makes this easy.
The Bid History report shows all bids placed on an item, including proxy bids placed due to maxbids. It displays similar information to what is shown on the the Bid History tab on the Item Detail page, but with more detail. The report shows timestamps along with the type of bid (regular or maxbid) along with the username, the bid amount, and whether or not it was retracted.
To easily access this new report, there is a link at the top of each Item Detail page in the new House Only Information module that says “See Bid History Report.” A link has also been added as an option in the Edit drop-down menu for each item on the Manage Items page. These links take you directly to the new report, which shows all bids placed on that item.
Additionally, you can also access this new report just as you would any of our other reports, by going to the Reports module on the Catalog and Item Managers as well as the Reports page. This report works for both catalogs and for individual items. Like other reports, it can be downloaded as a .pdf or .csv file
Enhanced House Settings and Auctioneer Dashboard
The Auctioneer Dashboard and House Settings are two of the most important tools that SAE provides for auctioneers. The Auctioneer Dashboard is the centralized location where you can view and manage your auctions, whereas House Settings is the centralized location where you can adjust a variety of settings for your auction house through a number of different tabs, such as Theme, Photos, Payments, and more.
We’ve made a simple but very helpful change to improve the access of both of these tools: the Auctioneer Dashboard is now built directly into the House Settings. The Auctioneer Dashboard can still be accessed directly by clicking on the dashboard icon in the top navigation menu, but now it can also be easily accessed from within the House Settings thanks to a new “Listings” tab.
Previously, to access the House Settings, you had to first go to the Auctioneer Dashboard and then click “Manage my house.” Integrating the Auctioneer Dashboard into the House Settings eliminates this unnecessary step (although the “Manage my house” button is still there for those who are set in their ways.)
Additionally, we have better integrated the House Photo Manager into the House Settings. Formerly, clicking the Photos tab in House Settings took you to a new location outside of House Settings. If you wanted to return to House Settings, you had to navigate back through the Auctioneer Dashboard. Now when you click on the Photos tab, the other tabs remain visible on the page, allowing you to easily navigate from Photos to other tabs.
Auctioneer-created Bidder Accounts
Another new feature in V. 2.0.2 is the ability for auctioneers to create bidder accounts. For example, if you have a bidder who is having difficulty or is hesitant about making the transition to online auctions, you could assist that bidder by creating his or her account for them.
You can visit the Bidders tab in House Settings where you will see a new button that says “Create new bidder.” After clicking this button you will be prompted to provide the bidder’s information, including his or her name, username, and email address. Once you’ve provided the information, click “Save” and the bidder account has been created.
When you create a bidder account, you will notice a Notes field. You can enter notes in this field that will display on the bidder’s profile page in a field titled “Private Notes”, only visible to the auction staff; the bidder will not see these notes. There is the option to edit these notes as any time on the same screen.
This feature is especially helpful for registering on-site bidders, and it will play an important role in clerking simulcast auctions with our upcoming simulcast feature. We expect this feature to further evolve to work directly with simulcast auctions.
Please visit our support article for further information on this feature.
See All Bids for a Specific Bidder
The ability to view all of a bidder’s bids in one convenient location is also now available. If you visit the Bids tab in House Settings, there is now the option to search for a specific bidder. Additionally, on the bidder’s profile page, there is now a link that says “See all bids placed by this user.” This link takes you directly to the Bids tab filtered down to show all the bids from that bidder. This option is only available for auctioneers.
Bulk Assigning Consignors
The Manage Items page is important because it is where you can make changes to multiple items at once. In past releases, we introduced a consignors feature, and we are happy to say that this feature has now been integrated into the Manage items page to allow for bulk assigning of consignors.
While you can still easily assign items to consignors using the Bulk Import Template–and remember, you can do this for initial creation as well as for later updates–you can now also use the Manage Items page to make bulk changes to assign (and remove) consignors to items. By “bulk,” we simply mean applying the changes to more than one item at a time–en masse, one might say.
To apply bulk consignor assignments, there is a new field where you can enter a consignor name and then click the “Add” button, which assigns the consignor to all of the selected items.
If an item already has a consignor, the consignor name is now shown next to the item name (and group name, if applicable). If there is not a consignor assigned to the item, it will display “n/A” instead of a consignor name. This allows you to easily see at a glance whether or not consignors have been correctly added to your items.
Onsite-Event Terms and Conditions
There are four different auction methods currently supported by Sharp Auction Engine: (1) Online Only, (2) On-site Events, (3) Online + On-site Events, and (4) For Sale.
The majority of auctions conducted with SAE are Online Only auctions. These are your standard timed online auctions. Bids are only accepted by online bidders. An On-site Event is the opposite. This auction method represents “live” auctions in which bids are only accepted by bidders in person on-site. Online + On-site Event is a combination of the two. This method denotes an auction where bids are accepted online prior to a “live” on-site event. Finally, For Sale listings are your straightforward fixed-price sales.
Previously, not all auction methods displayed Terms and Conditions. Now, however, all auction methods, including On-site Events, display Terms and Conditions.
This change was inspired by feedback we received from an auctioneer. Although, yes, for On-Site Events, bidders must accept Terms and Conditions at the actual live auction, it is helpful to be able to display these Terms and Conditions ahead on time on the listing. Not only does it help to set expectations for bidders, it is a good risk reduction strategy for auctioneers to display these ahead of the actual event.
For each listing, your default Terms and Conditions will be displayed, but you can edit these on a case-by-case basis via the Catalog and Item Managers.
Buy It Now Option for For Sale Listings
One of SAE’s major strengths is its flexibility; it was designed to work for all auctioneers, regardless of the type or size of the auction: “Auction anything. Really.” With our newest release, it’s more flexible than ever.
In the previous section, we revisited the four different auction methods supported by SAE. For the For Sale listings, we’ve made an important update: You can now utilize our Buy It Now feature for For Sale listings!
We have long had the ability to post For Sale listings as well as the ability to Buy It Now, but now these features have been combined to allow auctioneers the ability to conduct straightforward fixed-price sales.
Previously, For Sale listings were used for auctioneers, particularly those in real estate, to post items along with a fixed price, similar to standard online real estate listings. This tool allowed auctioneers to keep everything together under one site.
The Buy It Now feature has been in play for months, as well. It allows auctioneers to set a Buy It Now price for an item up for auction. If a bidder wishes to bypass the actual auction to purchase the item for a set price, he or she can click the Buy It Now option and do just that.
By simply combining these two features, SAE now offers a solution for those sellers who wish to do straightforward fixed price sales online with a virtual storefront.
The Buy It Now feature is currently only available by request. If you would like to utilize this feature, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and an admin will enable this feature for you. Once enabled, you can simply enter a Buy It Now amount on the Item Manager when creating your listing. Please visit our support article for more information on this feature.
Enhanced Invoices and Manage Invoices Page
Invoices play an important role in your auction process, so we are always trying to improve this feature. For V. 2.0.2, we have applied a series of updates to the Manage Invoices page as well as the actual invoices themselves.
First, we have added new fields to the Manage Invoices page that display the Total Invoiced Amount, Amount Received, and Amount Due. This will help you to keep track of the big picture when it comes to collecting payments for your auctions. You can easily tell at a glance how much money has been received versus how much is still due. Please keep in mind that marking an invoice as “paid in full” does not change the Amount Received figure. Any payments that you add, however, will be reflected in the Amount Received.
Furthermore, we have enhanced our invoices by improving the display and adding more information. Invoices will now display bidder contact information, including the bidder’s phone number and email address. The display has been improved by setting new margins to ensure that the content is properly spaced on the page with no text cut off at the bottom.
Enhanced Bidders Tab
On the Bidders tab in House Settings, we have added a new search field that allows you to quickly navigate to a specific bidder’s profile. Next to the sorting and filtering options at the top of the page, you will notice a new field with text that says “Jump to user page for…” With the helpful typeahead tool built in to this search, you can easily filter to the specific bidder you are looking for by entering the bidder’s first or last name, username, email address, or bidder ID. Selecting a bidder will immediately take you to that bidder’s profile, where you can view comprehensive details for that bidder, including that bidder’s contact information, number of bids placed, and much more.
Additionally, we have added a new column to make it easy to tell at a glance whether or not a bidder has a credit card on file. This new column is titled “CC on file,” and it displays either a red “X” or a green checkmark to indicates whether the bidder has a credit card on file.
Improved Photo Manager Performance and Display
With V. 2.0.2, we have made several updates to the Photo Manager to improve overall performance and display. Take a look at a few of these changes below:
- We’ve switched the library used for the Photo Manager to one that is much faster, is less resource intensive, and produces better images. We’ve also added a layer of privacy to each photo.
- A new side panel has been added to the top left of the Photo Manager with a built-in typeahead feature that allows you to more easily navigate to view photos from a specific listing. The panel shows all listings when you click in the box, and then when you begin typing the name of the listing or hour or item, that will be shown. You can click on it to filter down to just photos for it. You can still choose the right one in the list shown below, however. This is a great new addition for those auctioneers with many listings and items and photos because it reduces the load time.
- Thumbnails of photos are now stored in a new way that will speed up your auction site.
- Geotagging has been removed for privacy reasons. Users will no longer be able to reverse engineer the location of items when photos were originally taken. Auctioneers can still disclose location of items by utilizing the preview and address fields, however.
- New display options have been added to the Photo Manager that allow you to view more photos at once. By default, the system still displays 15 photos per page, but you now have the option to show 50, 100, 200, or even 400 photos per page. This allows you to more easily apply bulk changes to photos without slowing down your site.
- Help text has been added to the Photo Upload screen to provide a description of the Auto-Assign feature along with a link to a support article and a video tutorial that both provide step-by-step directions on using this feature. Remember that to auto-assign photos, use one of the following naming conventions: 1-1.jpg, 1_1.jpg, 1-1itemname.jpg, or 1_1itemname.jpg.
Display & Navigation
Each new release comes with countless updates to improve overall display and navigation. We’ve already covered many of the most significant updates, but continue reading for a look at some of the smaller updates that V. 2.0.2 brings:
- Thanks to a request from an auctioneer, we have now added the option to set a custom home navigation link. Clicking the top left of your auction page takes you to your auction home page, but now it can go wherever you would like. This allows for better integration with your existing website. To set your custom home navigation link, visit the Theme tab in House Settings where you will find a new field titled “External Homepage URL.”
- To prevent runoff and to improve overall display, we have implemented updates to the Payments report and Registered Bidders report. These reports are now provided in landscape format instead of portrait, and the content has been sized to better fill the page.
- For each item, there is an “Auctioneer details” module on the Item Detail page. This module provides basic information about the auctioneer including the auction house name, auctioneer name, phone number, email address, and social media links. We have cleaned up and simplified this module by removing the auctioneer’s username and the join date. This was done based on requests that we received from auctioneers who found this extra information unnecessary.
- To further simplify the process of adding a customized favicon to your auction site, a feature we recently introduced in V. 2.0.1, we have added a new error message to display to auctioneers when the wrong file type is uploaded. The error message not only reiterates the file type that it needed, but also lists the file type that was given: “File extension must be a favicon (.ico). (.jpg) was given.”
- A new option has been added to the Declare Winners page to avoid any confusion when declaring winners for items. You can now either Declare Highest or Auto Declare. Declare Highest overrides user selection to declare the highest bidder, while Auto Declare now respects the user selection and declares the expected bidder if or if not selected. For more information on this update, refer to our support article.
- On the Manage Items page, there are action buttons that allow you to apply changes to your items. These buttons were previously located at the bottom of the page, and if there are many items in the catalog, or if it is someone using our product for the first time, these buttons may not be immediately seen. We have changed this by also adding these buttons to the top of the page in addition to their current location for optimal viewing. On top of that, we have added even more buttons. The existing buttons now include: Publish, Unpublish, Close Early, Delete, Reopen, Select All and Select None.
- You may have previously noticed that there are “share” buttons on listings that allow users to easily share to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. These buttons were previously only available for catalogs and for single item listings, but not for individual items within a catalog. This has now been added for all items and listings. For individual items within a catalog, the share buttons can be found within the bid module above the countdown timer. In addition to adding share buttons to the Item Detail pages for items within a catalog, we have removed these buttons from draft and archived catalogs and items.
- With our preauthorization feature, we allow auctioneers to set an amount that bidders must be preauthorized for in order to be able to bid in the auction. When the bidder clicks to accept the Terms and Conditions for the auction, he or she is notified that there is a preauthorization amount: “By clicking on the ‘Accept terms and conditions’ button below, you agree to the auctioneer’s Terms and Conditions above, and you agree to preauthorize the amount of $X.XX on your credit card ending in XXXX.” We have made an update so that this text only displays if there is, in fact, a preauthorization amount set for the listing.
- On the Advanced tab in House Settings, we have adjusted the language for the setting that allows you and your staff to view bidder’s max bids. The text has been updated to now say, “Allow Auction Staff to View Max Bids” to make sure that it is clear exactly what the setting is for.
- Slight adjustments to contrast and colors have been implemented to ensure full readability for all themes, particularly those utilizing lighter color palettes.
- With the bulk actions on the Manage Items page, you can publish multiple items at once. When you do this, a confirmation modal pops up displaying each item that the action was applied to. We have enhanced this modal to make it scrollable, allowing you to view all the items listed, even when the item amount exceeds the dimensions of the screen.
- Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari… each internet browser is unique; that’s why we always test each release on all major internet browsers. For V. 2.0.2, we have implemented an important update for Safari that ensures that all bidders are required to provide a first name, last name, and phone number during registration. This is now required information for all new users, regardless of the browser in use.
- We have updated the Bidders tab in House Settings so that the sort buttons at the bottom of the page now mirror those at the top of the page, allowing you easier access to sorting, filtering, and navigation options.
Have you checked out the newly updated Support page on the SAE website? If you ever need help, there is a number of resources available for you, including video tutorials, an online handbook, and many FAQs and How-To guides.
SAELive (Coming Soon!)
Pssst… Want to know a secret? We are gearing up to release SAELive, which will allow live streaming auctions! That means you can stream your live auction online and increase your bidder pool by accepting online bids in real time. That’s right, you can have your cake and eat it, too!
SAElive is a simulcast service that will be seamlessly integrated into new and pre-existing SAE auction houses, able to be activated on any listing at will. It combines livestreaming of your in-person auctions with a robust online bidding interface to bring your online and live bidders together, increasing competition and driving sales.
We are currently beta testing this exciting new development.
We continue to provide a Marketplace version of SAE for those customers who wish to set up a network of affiliated auctioneers or establish an enterprise solution for your company.
To get your marketplace started, contact Carolyn at 256-653-5273.