Published January 12, 2021
NextLot: Bringing Auction Firms Into the Future
In 2007, Norman Finkelstein had a vision. He had grown up in the auction industry with his father partnering with auctioneers to buy factories and sell them at auction. With the rise of the digital age, auctioneers started using marketplaces to simulcast their auctions to wider audiences and buyers. Norman felt there was a better approach and envisioned a way for auctioneers to build their brands and increase their exposure and sales while being able to retain ownership of their most valuable asset, their data. To implement his plan, he tapped the next generation, his son Scott, who previously built a line of business for a software company, to make his vision come true. Hence, NextLot was born… with the goal of enabling auctioneers to host privately branded timed and webcast online auctions on their own websites so their buyers stay with them and aren’t shared with their competitors on a marketplace site.
Following the first software release, auction houses worldwide inspired by eBay were excited about NextLot’s unique value proposition and started to sign up. Also, in 2008, the global financial crisis changed the world. Houses by the droves went into foreclosure and companies went bankrupt, which led to a surge in assets for auction companies to sell. NextLot had its first stroke of luck: auctioneers now needed NextLot’s platform to help them enable buyers to bid on this surge of inventory. Around this time, Matt Henderson, Emily Finkelstein, and Dan Levine joined the team, and they helped to propel the company forward.
With a successful business model in hand and the right team in place, the next challenge was to find a vertical where the company could penetrate, so NextLot principally focused on a market Norman knew well, the equipment market and signed up both the largest privately held auction company in heavy equipment as well as in farm equipment in 2009, which are both still customers to this day. The company’s success enabled it to invest in its 2nd generation product one year later in 2010, which fueled the company’s success for the rest of the decade.
As the company grew, the Finkelsteins knew this was their opportunity to use their expertise in the auction market to entrench themselves deeper into their customer’s businesses by making themselves a more valuable partner. To differentiate themselves and enhance their value to their customers, they took a two-fold approach: (1) provide an easy to use product that auctioneers and bidders would love and would bring auctioneers great online results, and (2) appoint dedicated customer service representatives to provide 24/7 customer support.
Since online auctions represented a fundamental shift in how auctions were conducted and auction houses were just getting used to the technology, this dedicated non-stop support gave customers a sense of partnership with NextLot that translated into mutually beneficial, long-term relationships with its customers.Given the new available technologies, the Finkelsteins knew the 3rd generation product would be their killer app. They would incorporate all the original good insight and features from generations 1 and 2 but would include all the enhancements their customers had requested. The new webcast enables bidders to stream auctions in high definition audio and video and bid from any device. Auctioneers can embed a widget on their home pages so bidders can watch the auction when they come to their sites and rapidly register and be able to bid. It is the auction product to carry professional auction firms into the future.In February 2020, NextLot’s 3rd generation had its full release. Existing customers embraced and applauded the new platform’s ease of use, scalability, and new features.
Then the pandemic hit and on-site auctions were forbidden - the whole auction industry was forced online. Privately branded online auctions have an even bigger place in the market today because by sending on-site bidders who are used to bidding with an auction company to an unknown portal or marketplace site, the auctioneer risks confusing their bidders, or, even worse, losing them to their competitors forever. With the best product in the market and a reputation for outstanding customer service, NextLot is well positioned and excited to help auctioneers run safe, effective, and successful virtual and timed auctions despite the pandemic and challenging economic climate.
About NextLot, Inc.
NextLot provides auctioneers with a fresh approach to online-timed and live webcast auctions by providing extremely easy to use, mobile friendly, privately branded software for three main auction formats: Timed Auction, Webcast, and Pre-Bid. NextLot, founded in 2007, has run over 37,000 online auctions and has sold $28 billion in gross merchandise value on its platform.