ABOUT | Watts & Associates

Watts & Associates, a plant and commercial auctioneer based in Barnsley are a specialist auctioneer with a wealth of experience in hosting and managing auctions. Directors Colin Crossland and John Roebuck have run the company for the last 15 years and have taken their auctions from strength to strength. They are not only a long-standing client of Bidpath but are also considered as close friends with some of the Bidpath team having worked with Crossland and Roebuck for well over a decade.


THE CHALLENGE | |Accidental Online Bidding​


As for many auctioneers, the global pandemic was a catalyst for change at Watts. Previously running 4+ simultaneous live auctions all on the same day, the Watts team reacted quickly to the changing world around them and made the decision to change the format of some of these auctions to timed online whilst focusing their attention on the items where a Live auction format would be able to bring additional value to the lots being sold.


These live auctions were no longer 50% attended and 50% online – the ‘stay home’ advice from the government now meant that there were well over 1,000 bidders registered for each of these auctions. Many of these bidders were of a generation where technology is not commonly used and bidding online in a live auction was a terrifying concept. As the world came to a halt and auctioneers were told to close their doors to the public, suddenly online bidding was no longer something you could choose to get involved with, it was the only option!


We are seeing across the board that more and more bidders are choosing to bid online using mobile devices. It is therefore more important than ever to make sure that your website and online bidding platform are fully mobile responsive. The only negative of bidding on a mobile device is the fact that it is so much easier to click on the screen unintentionally – especially if you are not particularly tech savvy. The Watts team found that all these factors were contributing to a new influx of the ‘accidental bidder’. Their admin team were taking more calls every week from bidders reporting that they didn’t mean to click the bid button or that they were unlocking their mobile and pressed bid by mistake. It was time to do something about it!

THE SOLUTION | Technology and Development

The Watts team came to Bidpath with an idea of how they thought they could reduce the number of accidental bids online. The concept was simple – to have a secondary level of agreement before being able to click on the bid button. They suggested a tick box on the live bidding page which bidders would need to select before being able to bid. The Bidpath software is incredibly flexible and when a client comes to us with not only a problem but also a concept of how it could be solved, we will do everything we can to develop the solution! Bidpath’s team of developers got to work straight away on designing and implementing an ‘activate bid button’ tick box which would need to be ticked before the bid button can be clicked. This was then put through rigorous testing before it was added to the Watts live bidding page.


Bidpath went on to help the Watts team announce this new functionality to their bidders. From an educational video and email communications to having a ‘test lot’ at the start of the auction to allow bidders to test out their bid button activation, the team went above and beyond to help ensure that this new feature would be a success. Auction day came and the team were on hand to answer any questions. Due to the extensive testing, communications and intuitive design, the Watts team had less calls than ever before! The auction went ahead without any issues with 847 registered bidders and 279 of them bidding live during the auction.

HERE’S WHAT COLIN CROSSLAND, DIRECTOR & AUCTIONEER, HAD TO SAY “We have used Bidpath for our online auction software for the last few years, in that time we have noticed a substantial increase in our customers using touch screen devices for online bidding. Listening to our customers we realised there was a real risk of bidders accidentally bidding on items whilst using smartphones and tablets etc in our online live auction. We came up with the idea of an “Activate Bid Button”, a small tick box near the Bid Button that needs to be ticked before the bid button would work, so we took this idea to the Bidpath team and they got to work making it happen. Over the following few weeks we liaised with Eloise at Bidpath to make adjustments to our requirements, the update was tested by the Bidpath development team and rolled out at our next auction. The feedback from all of our customers was all very positive with no reports of any bids being missed or any accidental bids being placed. This is collaboration at its best, well done team Watts, well-done team Bidpath!

Data Ownership | Technical Support | Online Auctions | Auction Software | Partnership | Training | Live Auction | Innovation | Online Traffic | Online Bidding | Auction Technology