Allsop Case Study

Our Client

Established in 1906 and holding 13 auctions per year, Allsop is the UK’s largest property auction house. Approached to lead a full digital transformation which would shape Allsop’s future, our team delivered an impressive seven-figure saving within 2.5 years.

Allsop logo

Solutions That Matter

With no two projects or businesses ever being the same, at Pace IT Systems we always start by understanding how our client operates, their core values and future goals. We essentially became part of Allsop’s team, exploring the way they work and tailoring our approach to fit that.

Our expert team boast over 350 years of IT experience, and with our wealth of industry knowledge we planned to create a single web-based Auction Management System. This would amalgamate all the old processes practised by Allsop, while incorporating various time and cost-saving functionalities along the way. Alongside the management system we created a unique mobile application to host an online catalogue, a solicitor portal for legal document management and a client portal to provide and action feedback. To achieve these goals, we developed a bespoke software system, created to meet specific business requirements.

All lot information was to be managed from one internal system, eliminating the need for manually intensive processes such as;

  • Lot Management
  • Room and Online Bidding Management
  • Inspection Management
  • Catalogue Production
  • Website Management
  • Separate Solicitor Portal Management
  • Accounts Management
allsop auction website

Business Challenges

With a 59% auction market share, Allsop are a leading commercial and residential property auctioneer. Raising £800 million at auction last year, they were ready to optimise their six-week auction cycle. With any project that we undertake we get to know our client and how their business operates. As well as understanding their goals, it is vital that we recognise any challenges, so that we can incorporate these when meticulously planning each phase of the project. Here are just a few aspects that were important for our team to consider.

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Representation of both commercial and residential auctions teams
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The system must scale to accommodate extreme peaks and troughs in usage
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All aspects of lot information from images to legal documentation must be available and carefully managed
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A catalogue launch function to simultaneously post lots to the Website, App and 3rd Party Property Feeds
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The auction catalogue mobile app to work 100% offline, as the auctions are held in various locations and internet access could be limited

Lot Management System

The Lot management system created by our team, allows the auctioneer to review statistics such as the current bid, Lot interest, guide price, offers, viewings, reserve price and status of the Lot. This speeds up the auction itself as all vital information is readily available and updated in real-time. Rigorous testing was carried out by our expert, in-house test team to ensure the smooth operation and reliability of the system.

We continue to extend Allsop’s team with ours, by having one of our highly skilled team readily available to offer their support during key calendar events, such as catalogue launch weekends and auction days. With highly increased activity during these times, it is pivotal to Allsop that we are on hand to ensure the successful running of their events.

allsop lot management
allsop live auction
The system’s peak load occurs on auction day, with over 5000 users receiving bidding updates in real-time, simultaneously. It is therefore vital that the system meets this demand. Our team chose to use Amazon Web Services (AWS), which offers scalability and flexibility throughout its infrastructure.

AWS allows us to quickly allocate resources depending on demand, with the autonomy to scale-up for the 13 auction days each year and then down again when resource requirements are minimal. We used web sockets to allow the system to send push updates to clients, enabling real-time Lot information to be viewed, replicating the ‘in-room’ auctions experience from anywhere in the world.

Catalogue Production

Prior to Pace IT Systems taking on Allsop’s digital transformation, the catalogues they used were created manually, via an extensive staff powered operation. This was not only time consuming but also required a manual check process, adding to an already costly methodology. Marketing costs were huge as every page of the catalogue required an external marketing agency.

  • The client would contact Allsop with their proposed property, sometimes including a description and images.
    One of the Allsop team would manually check the details and provide content to a marketing agency.
  • The marketing agency created a draft catalogue page and sent it back to Allsop to check. If it was correct, they would forward it onto the client.
    The client provided feedback and any proposed changes were sent back to Allsop for editing. This was a lengthy process as traditional scribble prints were used, meaning that changes were made using pen and paper and scanned between parties. Any updates required could take a full day, as there was an exchange between Allsop, their client and the 3rd party marketing company, before a Lot was signed off.
  • The finished Lot was proof read and sent to the marketing agency to include in the catalogue.
    A paper catalogue was also created with time being spent to ensure the layout was correct.
  • There was then a manual sign off period and distribution of the catalogues.
    On launch the catalogue pages were manually converted into a website page for the website launch.
  • From confirmation of the catalogue to launch it often took 3 days, and property feeds would follow up to 5 days later.
allsop system
With the new online catalogue production, a print quality PDF template has been created that the Lot data can be automatically merged with. The system will produce a version for the website and catalogue, meaning that there is no longer a requirement for a third-party marketing team for each catalogue.

With the digital transformation, an eye-watering six figure sum has been saved by minimising the need for creating and printing a physical catalogue, with the opportunity to eliminate the hard-copy in the future. Our team have built the entire system with one code base, meaning four legacy systems have been merged into one, providing yet another cost saving opportunity.

Pace IT Systems have been our trusted partner through a challenging, disruptive, all-encompassing and ultimately successful project. Pace IT Systems were involved with our full process - scoping, design, develop, test, launch and support. Bringing the added, partner resource to our internal team meaning we, the IT function, can provide a service to the business which ultimately benefits our Auction Clients.

Alex Pugh, Head of Business Systems, Allsop

Secure your next investment, on the move – Mobile Application

Part of Allsop’s digital journey was the development of a mobile application, displaying and differentiating both commercial and residential properties. This included a watch list where properties could be tracked by the client, price and location filters, and the option to switch between property types.

The architecture used for the mobile application was NativeScript. Pace IT Systems are proud to be a NativeScript Global Preferred Partner. This confirms and recognises our team’s expertise in NativeScript development, proving a great choice of technology for Allsop’s mobile transformation.

Another major benefit of using NativeScript when developing mobile apps is the fact that we only build once for both mobile platforms (Android and iOS), meaning we can deliver in less time and reduce our client’s costs.

allsop mobile app

Operational Results Headlines

  • An 18-month project, delivering a seven-figure saving within 2.5 years
  • Improved Client Feedback - Proofing cycle can be completed within minutes instead of days
  • Immediate website corrections and legal pack updates
  • Option for 100% internet-based auction

Marketing Highlights

  • The catalogue launches earlier than ever before
  • Right Move and Zoopla feeds are directly updated with the launch of the catalogue
  • Printing costs have been reduced by 6 figures per year
allsop logo

About Allsop

Allsop is an independent property consultancy with a market-leading reputation for high quality service and integrity. To many people they are a household name, best-known as the UK’s largest and most successful property auction. With a multimillion-pound turnover they hold an impressive auction market share of 59%.

Pace IT logo

About Pace IT Systems Ltd

Pace IT Systems were founded in 2007 and have over 500 years of combined IT experience, within a UK based team of experts. We deliver software applications and support services to established and emerging organisations across key technology platforms including; Microsoft.NET, JavaScript, Progress OpenEdge & Mobile Platforms NativeScript & ReactNative.


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