Sotheby's Digital Transformation: Bringing a 300-Year Auction Legacy into the Modern Age

Pioneering Digital Transformation in Luxury Auctions

Founded in 1744, Sotheby's is one of the world's most renowned and venerable auction houses, renowned for its legacy in luxury and fine art auctions. However, to maintain its position as an industry leader in the modern age, Sotheby's recognized the need for a comprehensive digital transformation. This led to a groundbreaking partnership with Gangverk to innovate Sotheby's digital infrastructure and elevate the luxury auction experience.

Partnership with Sotheby's

This ambitious partnership began with a change in Sotheby's management, who boldly sought to reform the auction house's digital foundations. Recognizing the critical importance of this investment, Sotheby's embarked on a massive undertaking with Gangverk. Over seven years of close collaboration, the two companies have revolutionized Sotheby's operations, from keeping the business running seamlessly during the pandemic to enhancing its global competitiveness through digital innovation.

Innovating the Luxury Auction Experience

Native App and Cloud Infrastructure: The Foundation of Digital Change

Launched in 2017, the partnership introduced a native Sotheby's app and cloud infrastructure, revolutionizing Sotheby’s digital landscape for a luxury auction transformation.

New Bidding and Sales Experience

Gangverk redefined Sotheby's auction experience with an end-to-end digital pathway, making bidding to post-sale processes seamless for its elite clientele.

The Admin Platform: Sotheby's Remote Control for Global Auctions

Gangverk developed a central admin platform enabling Sotheby's to manage global auctions remotely, streamlining operations with unparalleled control.

Design Language System: Unifying the Digital Brand Experience

A Design Language System was crafted by Gangverk, ensuring Sotheby's digital identity is cohesive, enhancing user experience across all digital touchpoints.

Exclusive Private Sales Platform: Elevating the Luxury Buying Experience

Gangverk delivered a bespoke private sales platform for Sotheby's, offering an exclusive, discreet service for high-end clientele seeking personalized transactions.

Buy Now: Bringing Immediate Purchasing to High-End Auctions

In 2020, Sotheby's, with Gangverk, launched "Buy Now," allowing instant product purchases, marrying traditional auctions with modern e-commerce needs.

“Our close collaboration with Gangverk has enabled us to move fast and make great progress on creating frictionless experiences for our clients and engaging a new audience of collectors.”

Stephan Pepe, Chief Product & Technology Officer, Sotheby's

Technology Partnerships and Innovation at Sotheby's

In our digital transformation journey with Sotheby's, Gangverk not only focused on innovative software solutions but also on leveraging robust, scalable, and cutting-edge cloud infrastructure to support Sotheby's extensive digital needs.

Amazon Web Services (AWS): Elevating Auction Experiences

As our pivotal technology partner, AWS has provided the backbone for Sotheby's digital overhaul. Below, we detail the variety of AWS services utilized in this monumental project, highlighting how each contributes to a seamless, efficient, and modern auction experience:

  • AWS Relational Database Service (RDS)Powers complex, data-driven applications, ensuring durability, scalability, and easy management of database instances.
  • AWS KinesisFacilitates real-time data streaming capabilities, allowing for live updates and immediate data processing and analysis.
  • AWS BackupOffers comprehensive backup solutions across AWS services, ensuring data integrity and recovery capabilities.
  • AWS Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS)Provides a managed Kubernetes service, enabling our team to run and scale containerized applications with ease.
  • AWS LambdaPowers serverless applications, facilitating automated bidding, notifications, and other event-driven functionalities.
  • AWS Elastic Container Registry (ECR)Hosts our Docker container images in a highly scalable and secure environment.
  • AWS Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)Allows for the provisioning of a logically isolated section of AWS Cloud, where we can launch AWS resources in a virtual network designed to scale.
  • AWS Simple Queue Service (SQS) and Simple Notification Service (SNS)Offers message queuing and notifications for decoupled and scalable communication among the different components of a digital platform.
  • AWS Simple Storage Service (S3)Provides scalable object storage for data backup, archival, and analytics for digital assets.
  • AWS Route 53A scalable Domain Name System (DNS) with high availability and reliability.
  • AWS Elastic Load Balancer (ELB)Automatically distributes incoming application traffic across multiple targets and EC2 instances.
  • AWS GuardDutyOffers threat detection that continuously monitors for malicious activity and unauthorized behavior.
  • AWS GlueA serverless data integration service that makes it easy to discover, prepare, and combine data for analytics and application development.
  • AWS Elasticsearch ServiceDelivers a scalable, secure, and managed Elasticsearch service for real-time search and data analysis.
  • AWS ElastiCacheImproves the performance of web applications by allowing you to retrieve information from fast, managed, in-memory caches.
  • AWS Elastic File System (EFS)Provides simple, scalable file storage for use with AWS Cloud services and on-premises resources.
  • AWS DynamoDBA fast and flexible NoSQL database service for all applications that need consistent, single-digit millisecond latency at any scale.
  • AWS CloudWatch LogsOffers log storage and monitoring, enabling us to assess the impact of our digital initiatives through detailed logs.
  • AWS API GatewayMakes it easy for developers to create, publish, maintain, monitor, and secure APIs at any scale.
  • AWS Certificate Manager (ACM)Simplifies SSL/TLS certificate management and deployment.
  • AWS Auto ScalingMonitors applications and automatically adjusts capacity to maintain steady, predictable performance at the lowest possible cost.

Sotheby's and Gangverk: Legacy Meets Innovation in Digital Transformation

Sotheby's digital transformation, driven by its partnership with Gangverk, has been a resounding success, positioning the auction house as a leader in the digital age while preserving its prestigious 300-year legacy. By embracing innovation and leveraging cutting-edge technologies, Sotheby's has redefined the luxury auction experience, captivating a new generation of collectors while staying true to its roots.

We'd love to work with you

If you're interested in partnering with Gangverk for your digital innovation needs, we would love to hear from you.

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