We’re prepping for big-picture changes to make Sharp Auction Engine even stronger and faster. In the meantime, we thought we’d unveil an arsenal of game-changing features and enhancements, including auto assigning photos, staggered endings, automatic credit card payments, custom dynamic bid extensions, and more. Welcome to Sharp Auction Engine 1.1.9.
Let’s take a look at what’s new.
Auto Assigning Photos
Assigning all of your photos to your items can be a daunting task, but it no longer has to be. We have developed a new feature that allows you to auto assign photos to your items. When used in conjunction with our bulk import feature, you can create new catalogs in a flash.
This process is based on photo filenames. By following a simple filename convention, when you bulk upload your photos, they will be automatically assigned to their corresponding items. If the items have not already been created, new items will be automatically created when you upload your photos.
The filename convention should resemble any of the following:
- 1-1Item Name.jpg
- 1_1Item Name.jpg
The first digit represents the lot number of the item, and the second digit represents the order that the photo will appear in on the item. If the second digit is 1, the photo will be the featured photo for the item. The item name is optional in the filename, but is used when auto creating new items. If you have already created your items, your filenames could just be 1-1.jpg, 1-2.jpg, 1-3.jpg, 2-1.jpg, and so on.
There is no type of setup or activation for this new feature; simply upload your photos as you have always done, and we’ll do the work for you.
Automatic Credit Card Payments
Over the course of our past two releases we have worked to allow auctioneers to accept credit card payments for their items, and now we have made that easier than ever. Before we elaborate on our newest development for credit card payments, however, let’s recap.
For V. 1.1.7, we introduced the Stripe integration and the preauthorization feature. This allowed auctioneers to preauthorize bidders’ credit cards for a designated amount in order to approve the bidder to bid on the listing.
For V. 1.1.8, we expanded the feature to allow bidders to pay their invoices with their credit cards on file. Because of this, when an auctioneer declares a bidder as the winner and sends an invoice, the bidder then has the option to choose to pay the balance with the credit card on file.
Now, for V. 1.1.9, we’ve made the process more efficient by removing the extra steps. Auctioneers can now automatically charge bidders’ credit cards on file for won items. After you declare a winner and send an invoice, you have the option to automatically charge the card that was preauthorized.
As an auctioneer, to enable credit card payments, visit the Payments tab in your House Settings. Once Stripe has been enabled, bidders can add their credit card information either during the registration process or by visiting the bidder Payments tab. To access this tab, bidders can click the “Manage my bidder account” link in the user drop-down menu.
Staggered Endings is an exciting new feature that allows you to select closing intervals for your items. Instead of all of your items closing at the same time, the items are staggered and close based on the predetermined interval. We have found that many bidders prefer this method because it simulates a live auction and allows them to place bids on each item as it closes.
Each new catalog that you create has the option to set Staggered Endings for the items within it. In the Bidding Rules module on the Catalog Manager, you will now see the following: “Starting at Lot #1, close auction for (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 10) item(s) every (1, 3, 5, or 10) minute(s) until all lots are closed.”
Custom Dynamic Bid Extensions
When last minute bids are placed on items, those items extend to allow bidders more time to place additional bids. This prevents auction sniping.
Dynamic Bid Extensions isn’t a new feature for SAE, but we’ve moved away from our set rules to allow for auctioneers to set their own custom bid extensions. You now control your own dynamic bid extensions.
Like Staggered Endings, Dynamic Bid Extensions can be set on the Catalog Manager (or the Item Manager for single item listings) in the Bidding Rules module. Custom options for Dynamic Bid Extensions are 2, 3, 5, or 10 minutes. You can also choose whether to extend all items or only one item (or group of items).
Grouped Items & Endings
In conjunction with Staggered Endings and custom Dynamic Bid Extensions, we have also developed a feature for Grouped Items and Endings. Item groups allow multiple items to close as one. This is particularly useful if you have large catalogs and would like certain items to be grouped together.
When adding items to catalogs, you can now create a new group name for the item or assign it to a previously established group. Let’s say you have 100 items in your auction and 10 of those are cars. You can group those as “cars” and our system will automatically recognize them as a group.
When it comes to closing, groups act as one item. If one item in the group receives a last minute bid, all items in the group will extend.
While it is important to note that Sharp Auction Engine is a standalone product–one that allows you to create and manage your online auction from beginning to end–we have found that many auctioneers choose to use our software in conjunction with others, such as Wavebid.
Wavebid is a well-known and trusted name in the auction industry, and we want to support our customers in whatever capacity they choose to use SAE. That’s why we have optimized our product to work directly with Wavebid. Specifically, we have enhanced our listing reports so they can be exported to Wavebid, allowing you to seamlessly move from one product to another.
New Photo Viewer
Out with the old and in with the new! Our first photo viewer served us well, but it was time to move on. We found that we could improve the display of items with multiple photos by implementing a new photo viewer, so we did just that.
Our first photo viewer initially displayed only the featured photo along with dots to represent other photos on the item. Our new photo viewer, however, displays not only the featured photo but also thumbnails of the other photos below. Providing these thumbnails entices the bidder to interact more with the item.
Both photo viewers allow for bidders to easily slide from one photo to another and view the full size of the photo on any device, whether it be computers, tablets, or smartphones. So you retain all of the basic functionality with a sleeker design and improved performance!
Check it out today by going to any Item Detail page.
Sending Multiple Invoices
No one wants to send all of their invoices individually. That’s why we’ve added a new option to send multiple invoices at once.
Now when you declare winners and generate invoices, you can quickly and easily send all of your invoices at once with the click of a button.
Inherited & Non-inherited Bidding Rules
There are certain situations where an auctioneer may want items within a catalog to have unique Bidding Rules. For example, in a large estate sale, you may want the catalog to be automatic approval but require separate credit card preauthorization for one of the items within the catalog.
This is now possible thanks to a change we have made to the software. In the past, whenever you created a new item, that item automatically inherited the catalog’s bidding rules. Now, however, you have the option to choose whether the item inherits the catalog’s Bidding Rules or whether the item has its own unique Bidding Rules.
When they are inherited, bidders who are approved to bid on the catalog are also approved to bid on the item. When they are not inherited, bidders must be approved separately for the item.
The option to choose whether the item is inherited or non-inherited is located in the Bidding Rules module on the Item Manager.
Custom Theme Options
We work hard to make sure that our software allows you to customize your auction site to wholly reflect your company’s branding. Just take a look through our past releases, and you will see that each one has brought new customization options for our auctioneers.
With V. 1.1.9, we continue this by now providing the option to select custom colors for your site’s hyperlinks and buttons. Additionally, we have made some slight adjustments to improve the pre-loaded themes, such as the “Neutral” and “Sunshine” themes.
Auction Summary Report
Did you know that SAE provides detailed reports for each of your auctions, including Registered Bidders, Bidder Balances, Payments, and Auction Detail reports? These reports provide tons of helpful information, and our newest report, the Auction Summary report, may be the most helpful of them all.
The Auction Summary report is your no-frills brass-tacks one pager that provides your auction totals. It displays the hammer bid total, buyer’s premium total, sales tax total, and grand total for all items and for all processed items. With this new report, you can easily drill down to the basic and most important stats from your auction.
Item Sorting & Display
Based on feedback that we received from auctioneers, we have changed the way that items within catalogs are sorted. Previously, we displayed all items within a catalog based on lot number. However, due to the feedback we received, combined with the need to optimize new features such as staggered ending, grouped items, and custom dynamic bid extensions, items within catalogs are now displayed based on the end date and time. This ensures that, regardless of the lot number, the item or group of items that will be ending soonest is always displayed first.
For those of you who prefer to sort by lot number, don’t despair! Despite our new default, we have given auctioneers to power to choose their own default sorting option. This new option is located in the Theme tab in your House Settings.
In addition, we have also added a new option for Item Display! We have created a new list view for items within catalogs, and you can choose whether you wish to display your items in grid view or the new list view. This option is located in the Basic Details module on the Catalog Manager.
Updated Bulk Import Template
For V. 1.1.9, we’ve updated our Bulk Import Template to include two new fields: group name and shipping text. This updated template is now available for download!
Default Bidder Approval
Although it is a small change in the grand scheme of things, it is worth noting that the default bidder approval is now Automatic instead of Manual for new listings.
A massive new release like V. 1.1.9 wouldn’t be complete without a dozen or so cosmetic improvements. The following are just a few of those improvements:
- For Sale” listings now have new display options! In addition to showing “For Sale,” you can now choose to display either “Under Contract” or “Sold.”
- In an attempt at uniformity, we have ensured that all “countdown timers” are the same size and utilize a similar gradient.
- We have improved our grid view for auction homepages by eliminating the auction house name and adding a second line for the listing title. Furthermore, we have added a character counter when creating new listings.
- For listings that require credit card preauthorization, we’ve added a notation to the Accept Terms and Conditions modal to inform bidders that the listing requires preauthorization and what the preauthorization amount is.
- To accommodate the implementation of staggered and group endings, we have added countdown timers to items within catalogs on the Catalog Detail page. Since technically each item can now have its own unique end time, each item now needs its own unique countdown timer.
- Previously, when an item within a catalog closed, the page would auto refresh. To better accommodate our newest developments, we have changed this to a dynamic page refresh instead of a full page refresh. This way, bidders won’t lose their places when items close.
- On the Catalog Manager and Item Manager, we have updated the language on the Status module to more appropriately describe the status of the catalog or item and instruct on possible next steps.
- By request, we have removed all instances where we previously displayed the auctioneer’s username. Unlike bidders, who are primarily identified by their usernames, auctioneers are identified by their real names and auction house names, so displaying the auctioneer username is not necessary.
In addition to the above changes, we’ve added a ton of new solutions to our Support Portal for V. 1.1.9.
Whether you are an auctioneer or a bidder, the SAE Support Portal is a great resource for learning more about our product and finding answers to your questions. Just visit support.sharpauctionengine.com to get started!