Sharp Auction Engine V. 2.0.1 is a return to form for us at SAE. At heart, we are an IT company focused on agile development; our primary focus has always been providing a cutting-edge product driven and informed by your input. Now that all auctioneers have been migrated to V. 2.0, we have been able to once again look to what’s next and provide you with regular software updates with the latest features and enhancements. SAE remains the turnkey online auction platform for small businesses, providing a true private label option to auctioneers.
V. 2.0.1 brings many changes, but most importantly it provides you with updated theming options including a dual navigation menu, custom favicon, and more. The goal for this release was to improve the overall quality of the product by enhancing customization, navigation, and display.
Let’s take a look at what’s new.
Updated Theming Options
- Custom Dual Navigation Menu
We are happy to release the latest in customization from Sharp Auction Engine; a custom dual navigation menu with built-in header links. For some time, auctioneers have had the ability to add custom header links to their SAE sites, but now those header links are built directly into a new dual navigation menu that supports parent and child links. For example, you can now create a parent link with multiple child links that are available via a drop-down menu. This new capability allows for a robust and dynamic navigation menu.
For those auctioneers who are content using the previous style of header links, this option is still available along with our default navigation menu, and your site will remain unchanged with the 2.0.1 update. However, we encourage to take advantage of this new feature by setting up your new dual navigation menu. To do this, visit the Theme tab in House Settings where you can easily switch from the default to the dual navigation menu with one click. This option is located in the new Header module on the Theme tab. The original header links are still located in the Front Page Editor module on the Theme tab.
One other way we have enhanced the navigation menu is by incorporating the ability to include your company logo (or auction house profile image) directly into the header. Previously, auctioneers could upload a logo to display on the front page. Now, however, it can be incorporated directly into the header for a more professional and clean display.
To enable this new option, visit the new Header module in the Theme tab in House Settings. This logo should be in either .png or .jpeg format; we recommend using a transparent image with 250 w X 75 h dimensions for optimum display.
The original option to display a logo on your front page is still available, and if you are currently using this option, your site will remain unchanged with the 2.0.1 update. To remove this logo, visit the Front Page Editor module on the Theme tab.
Another exciting theming option for V. 2.0.1 is the ability to add a custom favicon. The term “favicon” may be new for you, but the concept is one you are certainly familiar with. While viewing a web page in your internet browser, there is typically a small image in the browser tab next to the title of the web page. This is a favicon. Adding a custom favicon is a simple but great way to add branding and professionalism to your site.
To add a favicon to your auction site, visit the Header module in the Theme tab in House Settings. Please keep in mind that your file must have a .ico extension. If you do not already have a favicon file, many image editing programs allow you to create .ico files. Additionally, there many websites that will convert files into .ico files for you. Check out ICO Converter or Convertico, for example.
By default, auction house favicon reflects the Sharp Auction Engine logo.
- Improved and Responsive Display
To round out our new theming updates, we have made changes to improve the overall display of the header and navigation menu on all devices, but most significantly on mobile devices. To accommodate a more robust navigation menu, we have implemented changes so that the display responds based on many factors including the screen size, the number of header links enabled, and the viewer’s location on the page; when scrolling down the page, the header changes to maximize visibility of content.
We are confident that these subtle changes will improve your users’ bidding experiences!
Registered Bidders and Views Count
Our new customization options extend beyond just theming, however. Auctioneers can now choose whether or not to display the number of registered bidders and the number of views on listings.
There is a new option in the Advanced tab of House Settings: “Show Registered Bidders and Views on all auctions?” If you choose yes, bidders will see the number of registered bidders for the auction as well as the number of views. This can be a great tool to drive competition, but if you wish to hide this information, simply choose no. Regardless of which option is chosen, the information will always be displayed to you, the auctioneer.
Required Physical Addresses
Another new customization option under the Advanced tab allows auctioneers to require bidders to provide a physical address during registration. Previously, this step was optional with the intent of making registration as simple as possible. However, for some auctioneers, having a physical address on file for all bidders is a must. Therefore, we have added a new setting to the Advanced tab: “Require bidder’s address during registration.” If “no” is selected, the bidder will have the option to “skip” the address step. If “yes” is selected, the bidder will not have the option to “skip” the address step, and he or she will be required to provide an address before completing registration.
With the update to 2.0.1, your current setting will not be changed. Newly created auction houses, however, will default to require bidder addresses. If you change the setting from not required to required, existing bidders who do not have addresses on file will be required to add addresses before being allowed to make further bids.
Bulk Import Summary
Bulk Importing allows auctioneers to compile items into an easy-to-use spreadsheet that can be quickly imported into an existing catalog. This is a great way to save time when creating catalogs with multiple items.
A helpful new tool we have implemented for this feature is the Bulk Import Summary. After bulk importing your items, you will now see a breakdown at the bottom of the page that shows the results of the import. It lists all the items and whether or not each item was successfully imported along with direct links to access the Item Detail pages for each of the items.
We all make mistakes when it comes to spelling and typos. Our newly implemented spellcheck tool will help you to weed out those mistakes. Each of the WYSIWYG text editors built in to your software now utilize your browser’s built-in spellcheck tool.
In the past, your site has always utilized a floating footer. That is, the footer always appeared directly below the last content on the page rather than be fixed to the bottom of the page. We have changed this to improve the display of your auction site.
Adding New Items
To make it easier to add items to listings, we have made a change to ensure that the Items module on the Listing Manager is always shown in the first position directly below the status module. So regardless of the status of your listing, adding new items is convenient and easily accessible.
Similarly, we have also added a new Bulk Import button to the Manage Items page to make it easier to bulk import items.
Editing Lot Numbers
One request that we receive regularly is how to edit lot numbers for items. To make it more clear how to do this, we have added a help text link to the lot number field on the Item Manager. This links to the Manage Items page, which shows all items and allows auctioneers to easily click on the lot numbers to edit and save them. For further assistance in learning how to edit lot numbers, check out our support article.
“Return to catalog” Button
When viewing the Item Detail page for an item within a catalog, there are two different ways to return to the catalog itself. You can click the “Return to catalog” button or you can click the browser’s “back” button. We have made some changes so that if you click either of these buttons, you are taken back to same spot where you previously were on the Catalog Detail page, rather than just taken to the start of the catalog.
Clickable Group Names
With V. 2.0, we implemented a new groups feature, which allows you to group items together within a listing so that they can close together. This is particularly useful when using staggered endings.
For V. 2.0.1, we have expanded on this feature by making the displayed group name into a clickable link, allowing bidders to view and bid on all items within that group.
Automated emails play an integral role in your online auctions, so we are always working to improve and build upon our email services.
For this release, we have made a couple of changes. The first is in regard to the Bidder Approval Receipt email, which is received by both the bidder and the auctioneer. This email serves as a “receipt” of the bidder’s approval to bid, and it provides a copy of the Terms and Conditions of the listing as well as contact information for the auction house. We have made a simple adjustment to this email by adding the name of the listing to the subject line. This will help users to more easily tell at a glance which listing the approval is for.
Second, we have implemented a new email that goes out to new auctioneers after their first auction closes. It includes links to support materials such as the Online Handbook, Support Portal, and the SAE support email address.
One small but still notable change is that newly registered bidders can no longer register hyphens in their usernames. This change was implemented to improve tracking in your Auction House Analytics. Existing users are unaffected. Help text has been added to the registration page when a user tries to register a username with a hyphen.
Infrastructure upgrades are almost constant, and V. 2.0.1 is no exception. With upgrades to Kibana and other systems, we are honoring our commitment to the latest in technology and performance.
Additionally, we have made changes so that misspelled urls are appropriately rerouted. For example, if someone enters amceestatesales.sae.bid instead of acmeestatesales.sae.bid, that person will be redirected to sharpauctionengine.com instead of receiving an error page.
Display & Navigation
So far, we have discussed some of the most important updates that V. 2.0.1 brings. These are just the tip of the iceberg, though. Check out the following updates to see the additional changes you can expect with our newest release:
- For additional clarity, photo thumbnails of items have been added to invoices.
- In order to more easily tell which item a photo has been assigned to, lot numbers have been added to assigned photos in the Photo Manager.
- The language used on the pop-up that is displayed when an invoice is deleted has been adjusted to better illustrate that the invoice has been deleted.
- A new loading screen has been added when bulk deleting invoices to make it more clear that your actions are being processed.
- The text headings on the Items I’ve Won page have been more properly aligned to improve the overall display and readability of the page.
- There was previously an option to sort by house on the Manage Invoices page. Since all houses operate on their own multi-instance, this is not needed and has been removed.
- In the Approved Listings module on the Bidder Dashboard, we have added the start and end date of the listing so that bidders can more easily tell which auctions are closing soon and which are upcoming.
- We have improved the display size of the auctioneer profile image on the Auctioneer Dashboard. It will now display larger and will better fill the area in which it is displayed.
- We have added a “cancel” option to the process of adding a payment gateway, allowing auctioneers to easily exit the process and return to the previous page as needed.
- The hover hints for the navigation menu icons, including the Watchlist icon, have been updated for consistency and clarity.
- Cosmetic changes to the Manage Bidders page prevent overflow and ensure alignment for lengthy listing names.
- Language updates have been made to the House Analytics page.
- The text for “e-mail” on both the sign in modal and the registration pages has been updated to “Email Address” for consistency.
As with V. 2.0, all Basic and Pro customers receive free 24/7 email support and 9-5 CST phone support. See below for more information on the many support resources available to you:
- Training For New Customers: All new customers start off with an account manager that will guide you through your entire first auction, from creation to payment. We can also offer a longer training period for those who need extra hand holding for a small extra fee. SAE also provides quarterly in-house training workshops that are free to attend by any customer, new or old. On-site training for you and your team is available for $750 a day plus travel accommodations. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for questions.
- Phone Support: 9 am to 5 pm central time. 5 days a week. Call our office main line: (256)261-3159.
- Email Support: Anytime. Everyday. Responses guaranteed within 24 hour 7 days a week. Email email@example.com.
- Video Tutorials: Watch and learn exactly how to get your auction house up and running. http://support.sharpauctionengine.com.
- Online Guide: Know exactly how to use our software.http://handbook.sharpauctionengine.com/
- Social Media Channels: We’re here all the time. Stop by and say hi.
- Facebook: facebook.com/SharpAuctionEngine
- Twitter: @AuctionEngine
- Snapchat: sae_software
- Instagram: sharpauctionengine
- Social Media Channels: We’re here all the time. Stop by and say hi.
- Support Portal: Most answers can be found here, check it out to see if you find what you need: https://support.sharpauctionengine.com
As a true private label product, we do not provide direct support for bidders. This is why we have made efforts to add more bidder-focused resources, including new videos to our YouTube channel that offer guidance from the bidder point of view. These could be used for guidance while creating your own branded bidder tutorials or they could even be embedded on a custom page within your SAE platform. Any bidder support links that previously went to firstname.lastname@example.org are now directed to the auction house email address on file.
We are so excited about a couple of new projects we are working on that we just had to mention them.
First up is a new partnership with AuctionLook. AuctionLook is a great marketing resource for auctioneers. Check them out today at http://auctionlook.com/.
Second, we have been quietly forging a new simulcast feature! Contact us today at email@example.com to become a data tester.
P.S. Have you seen our new commercial? Check it out: https://youtu.be/0kJIb3JDnds. Shout out to SAE employees Jaime and Paula, who, as it turns out, are superstars.