Grafe Auction | Case Study

Next level business growth through software and data

Grafe Auction | Case Study

When software + data meets marketing, a profit explosion may happen

Grafe Auction is a company that does just one thing, but does it very well. They are a full service auction company that helps businesses gain assets and cash through auctioning inventory.

Happy Dog was tasked with helping them take their business to the next level through software and data. Grafe Auction had many pain points to overcome initially. The biggest sticking point were the 3 pieces of third party software that were duct taped together in efforts to make things run smoothly.

We replaced all of the third party software by creating custom software for the client. One by one, the need for each piece of software vanished. In the same breath, they got to own their own data and make smart business decisions based on that.

Our Challenge

Replace 3 separate software packages with one custom software build. This had to be done to gain access to data and get a competitive advantage.

Quick Result

Happy Dog developed a custom online auction platform that is faster, more secure, more reliable, more efficient and better than any of the competition.

Project Efforts

  • Custom Software
  • SMS integrations
  • IBM Watson integrations
  • Google Cloud Infrastructure
  • Online invoice payments
  • Custom reporting
  • Custom mobile apps

When the chokepoints start to choke success

Third party software can be a good thing. In fact, it can be great in the right situation. However, dancing between multiple pieces of software can be frustrating. What's even worse is when you don't have full access to your data. This was the exact position that Grafe Auction was in. On top of that, their website needed a dramatic makeover.

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Their old website wasn't pretty, and the software behind everything was a mess

Time for some custom auction software

At Happy Dog, we were able to ask Grafe Auction our favorite question, "If you had a magic wand, what would you want your software to do for you?". Through lengthy discovery we crafted a long term plan for our custom software. The software had to take pre-bids, bids, max-bids, run the auction with multiple rings at the same time, and handle all of the invoicing at the end. This was no simple feat.

On top of this, the software had to work with live auctions. Previously, the auctioneer had an a person with an earpiece next to them, who was on a phone call with someone who was running the online auction. We developed software that eliminated the middleman, and allowed the website to speak with the auctioneer in microseconds (text to speech).

We thought we had a good plan. Little did we know that by hiring Happy Dog we figured out our plan wasn't very good for us. We're so grateful for the digital path that we are on!
Bridget Siler

What happens before an auction

Before Grafe Auction would create any auction, they would need to know what is being auctioned off. Grafe Auction used to use a company who has their own software that does this. People would take pictures of items, fill out data, and enter in what items were to be auctioned off. Happy Dog created software that allowed Grafe Auction staff to bulk upload auction items by the thousands. Not to be outdone, Happy Dog developed custom mobile apps that allowed Grafe Auction staff to do this on the fly. While they take pictures, they can create the items on the go.

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What about the website

Along with our sister company Hoist, we were able to redesign the website into something that mobile users could easily use. Using data from Analytics and multiple experiments, we determined a path that mobile users could easily find and participate in any auction they pleased.

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Custom reporting for the win

Finally, we have all of this glorious data. So much data can be overwhelming. There was no need to worry, Happy Dog had (and still has) it covered. We used Google Data Studio for some quick, but effective reports. We also created some custom reporting based on more complex data. This reporting and data not only gives peace of mind, it gives decision makers a clear vision on future business decisions.

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This isn't actual data from Grafe Auction, it's just a screenshot of some of what Google Data Studios can do

Breaking records, year after year

Since they started working with Happy Dog, Grafe Auction has not seen a year when revenue has decreased. They have experienced record breaking profits year after year.

The Happy Dog team never ceases to amaze me. We have experienced record growth for numerous years now, and I know I can attribute a good chunk of that to the team at Happy Dog. Happiest clients ever!
John Schultz

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