Vavato automates online auctions successfully thanks to Combell
The sale by auction, for example of cars, goods from overstocks, liquidations or collections, is increasingly taking place online. Vavato is Belgium's key player in this field, especially after the takeover of its competitor Jorisco. Combell provides a high-performance infrastructure that remains fully operational in all circumstances, especially when an online auction is about to close.
Every day, large quantities of goods go under the hammer at Vavato. However, this does not happen in a room where prospective buyers place their highest bid for each lot. Because auctions are now conducted online. And the clock has taken over the part of the hammer. “In 2018, we auctioned 45 million euros worth of goods. We have a broad spectrum of buyers, from professionals to private individuals. Thanks to the Internet, we are reaching more and more bidders, in Belgium and abroad. The next step for us will be to start looking for more and more international bidders”, says Fons Tooten, co-founder of Vavato.
“The migration went smoothly. It was a very positive experience. And an essential step in our growth strategy.” - Fons Tooten, co-founder, Vavato
The heart of Vavato's business is the online auction platform, where users can find the detailed description of the lots on offer, the profiles of the bidders, as well as the bids, the payments and the collection of the goods. “All payments are processed through our platform. We release the payment when the buyer collects the goods and confirms that they are in the agreed condition, without any hidden defects.”
Large amounts of bids made possible by a robust, high-performance platform
“The platform must be very efficient. At the decisive moment, we can easily serve 500 to 1,000 simultaneous bidders. And that figure can be even higher when an auction also receives press attention. In a next phase, the users of Jorisco, which we recently acquired, will join Vavato's technical platform. This will mean another significant increase in the number of bidders”, continues Fons Tooten.
“We can easily serve 500 to 1000 simultaneous bidders. And that figure can be even higher when an auction also receives press attention.”
“When an auction comes to an end, bidders constantly refresh their screens. At that point, response times must remain short. And it would be a disaster if our site were to crash at that moment.”
“We have been with Combell since May 2019 and have been building the new environment since mid-2018. The migration went smoothly. It was a very positive experience. And an essential step in our growth strategy. We are still very much in the early stages of our new project. We are currently signing up 150 new bidders per day. We therefore need to be able to further scale up the infrastructure when necessary.”
Scaling up and digital transformation
“The technical challenge was considerable. Together with Combell, we estimated what the right scale of the hosting infrastructure had to be in order to be able to provide sufficient guarantees. We also need to be able to constantly scale up and roll out new software versions without downtime. Finally, we have neatly separated the front-end and back-end of the infrastructure. At the same time, constant ‘checks’ are necessary between the two in order to prevent end users from viewing outdated information”, confirms Geert Janssen, managing partner at entrust-it, which designed the new auction platform for Vavato.
“Combell is a partner I can always rely on, an extension of our own team.” - Geert Janssen, managing partner, entrust-it
“Combell proactively advised us about the technical architecture and the right scale. Thanks to their advice, we were able to get through the development and testing phases with few resources and to scale up during the go-live phase. Together with Combell, we also optimised our software to save even more time. This way, we made it through the first few months without any problems.”
“Thanks to the new platform, we will be able to offer users new features, such as thematic auctions and greater transparency with regard to auction fees. In addition, internal processing, electronic payments and invoicing are now fully automated. No more hassle with lists and Excel files. This digital transformation also helps Vavato become a scalable organisation.”
“For us, Combell is a local, Belgian partner with a very solid reputation.”
Working together with complete confidence
Combell was chosen for its technical expertise, solid support and trust. “Combell is a partner I can always rely on, an extension of our own team”, says Geert Janssen. “When you migrate a website ‘in flight’ to a new platform, you cannot afford anything to go wrong. You have to be able to switch quickly. With Combell, you always get an immediate answer.”
“For us, Combell is a local, Belgian partner with a very solid reputation”, confirms Fons Tooten. “We have our own account manager there. Their staff are easy to reach. We are happy with our collaboration and are confident that the future holds great opportunities for us.”