The Surplex Machinery Auction App: 5 Years in the Making

May 9, 2017

Surplex is an online auctioneer and marketplace that specialises in the sale of used metalworking and woodworking machinery. The company’s new mobile app is making it easier than ever for businesses to buy and sell industrial equipment — allowing bids to be made on the move. 

Surplex has been hosting machinery sales and auctions for more than 15 years now. After strong and steady growth throughout Europe, the Surplex website now has more than 150,000 visitors every month, from 150 countries. The online services offered by this growing company now include various payment facilities, transport cost calculators and a comprehensive online search facility. With offices in Dusseldorf, Prague, London and several other European cities, Surplex is now the leading online auction house for metal processing and wood machining.

The Development of the Surplex Auction App

The story of the Surplex app began in mid-2012, when CEO Michael Werker discovered that the number of users using the online auction service was in excess of 5,000 per month. Several employees were pushing for the development of an app at this point, but questions remained about whether or not people would be prepared to make five-figure transactions via smartphone.

An initial development cost of €17,000 was calculated and a test registration page was set up in order to ascertain how many users would sign up and use a mobile app. The positive response persuaded the Surplex board to go ahead with the project, which would allow users to bid for metalworking and woodworking machinery on the go.

From the moment the Surplex app was launched, the download numbers exceeded expectations. During the first month, the mobile app was downloaded 547 times. In Germany, it ranked 236 in the iPad business download chart and 241 for the iPhone. After just two months, the 1,000 downloads mark was achieved. Without any formal marketing budget, the Surplex app consistently achieves 100 downloads per week. To date, the app is used by more than 3,500 people across 95 nations. Between the iPhone and Android versions, the app is downloaded around 700 times a month — and this figure is growing.

What Does the Surplex App Have to Offer?

Simply opening the Surplex app for the very first time allows the user to view a list of current auctions or sale events — shown in order of expiry. Clicking on one of the sale events takes the user to either a list of the available machinery or a specific auction page. Many sale or liquidation events have several machines for sale, all of which are listed in order of the auction closing date. There is a brief description of the equipment for sale, along with details of the manufacturer, the quality of the machine and the relevant delivery terms. 

Individuals, business owners and key decision makers now perform a lot of their duties on the go, so the ability to make significant purchases via a mobile app is becoming an increasingly important priority.

Each user must register their details, along with an appropriate method of payment. Once the registration process is complete, the user can then bid on machinery via the app. Alternatively, there is also the option to add the item to a watch list, which means the user is automatically updated on developments. If more information about the equipment is required, full contact details of the Surplex employee overseeing the auction are available.

The online bidding process is simple and transparent. The app displays the current bid, the user’s highest bid and the next bid that will be accepted. As long as the user has registered and accepted the terms and conditions of the auction, new bids can be placed with a press of a button.

Buying metalworking and woodworking machinery has never been easier. Individuals, business owners and key decision makers now perform a lot of their duties on the go, so the ability to make significant purchases via a mobile app is becoming an increasingly important priority. By creating a mobile app for iOS and Android devices, Surplex has made purchasing industrial machinery easier than ever.

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