Invaluable

Invaluable is the world’s leading online marketplace for fine art, antiques and collectibles. Working with more than 4,000 of the world’s premier auction houses, dealers and galleries, Invaluable helps buyers from 200 countries connect with the things they love. Hundreds of thousands of rare and unique collectibles with a wide range of values are offered each month through Invaluable’s marketplace.

With best-in-class online bidding technology, along with a fixed-price retail platform, Invaluable provides sellers with e-commerce and marketing solutions, as well as auction management software. Recently called “one of the fastest growing e-commerce sites in the art world” by Blouin ArtInfo, Invaluable has also been recognized by Deloitte’s 2015 Technology Fast 500™ and the 2015 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® program.

Invaluable initially engaged HS2 in 2012 as a long-term strategic partner. HS2 has provided expertise on many technical and marketing fronts to help Invaluable improve the site experience, increase transactional revenue and grow its customer base.

There is no other firm that I would trust more to update our architecture, while also helping launch new initiatives to improve the site experience and fast-track transactional revenue."

Rob Weisberg, CEO
  • Case Study: Needs Assessment
    • CHALLENGE

      Invaluable’s internal projects followed a traditional waterfall approach to developing new software that was ultimately inefficient, unpredictable and often resulted in time and cost overruns. In addition, this approach did not yield the flexibility needed for the company’s growth strategy, and made it difficult to quickly pursue new directions as opportunities arose. Invaluable asked HS2 to assess its entire organization and provide recommendations for improvements.

      SOLUTION

      Using our years of experience with the client as well as a deep-dive discussions over the course of several days, HS2 provided recommendations that targeted these key objectives: increasing team velocity, reducing business risk, improving product quality, increasing predictability of delivery timelines, and improving the extended team’s cohesion and satisfaction. Our response included architecture, infrastructure and organization recommendations, but the most significant area of impact involved process.

      Based on our extensive experience, HS2 recommended that Invaluable embrace the Agile methodology to yield higher visibility, flexibility and predictability in its process. We mentored both the Engineering and Product teams in Agile and Scrum processes and then identified a new project to pilot the process. We formed a team that consisted of both Invaluable and HS2 members at all levels of the project—development, QA and leadership—because we feel the best way to learn a new process is by going through it with an experienced team. After seeing the success of this team, Invaluable began implementing this process across all of its workstreams.

      RESULTS

      The combined HS2/Invaluable pilot team delivered numerous incremental releases that led to high customer satisfaction among Invaluable’s clients. The team was awarded Invaluable’s “True Grit” award for its hard work and strong, united effort. The entire organization is now Agile, yielding greater collaboration among Design, Product and Engineering, greater satisfaction among team members, and high-quality delivery of new features.

  • Case Study: Email Marketing Transformation
    • CHALLENGE

      Invaluable’s growth demanded an email marketing platform better suited to its requirements. The company needed expertise in email marketing and technology to help analyze, integrate and transition to a new platform while taking advantage of the opportunity to also redesign its messaging.

      SOLUTION

      HS2 worked with Invaluable’s Marketing team to understand its needs and then leveraged our email marketing industry expertise to assess email platform vendors to determine the best fit. Once we found a new vendor, we updated all of Invaluable’s systems to integrate with the selected platform and ultimately redesigned the company’s batch email process to become significantly more efficient. Our email team worked with Invaluable to create new email templates and run ongoing email marketing for sellers listing on the company's marketplace. We recommended changing Invaluable’s static email designs to responsive and helped operate ongoing custom campaigns.

      RESULTS

      The transition to the new platform was delivered on time, and the email platform vendor program manager commented that we converted faster and more effectively than any other team she had seen. Invaluable was very happy with the new platform because it resulted in rapid expansion of its email marketing program and led to increased sales of messaging for specific sellers. We eventually helped Invaluable systematize its seller email process so it could be managed in-house with minimal effort.

  • Case Study: Customer Revenue Optimization

    Customer Revenue Optimization

    • CHALLENGE

      Invaluable was going through a significant transition when the company first approached HS2. The Board had recently brought in a new CEO to focus on increasing revenue, primarily through transactions. Invaluable’s engineering team was already stretched thin—it was focused on a new, long-term platform to pave the way for the future and had little time to work on the existing site. At the same time, Invaluable’s long-time CTO had decided to step down to seek other opportunities. With the company’s technology portfolio consisting of over a dozen applications on eight different development platforms, the departure of the CTO (and the potential for others to follow suit) increased the risk of losing knowledge and continuity. Invaluable needed a strategic partner that could increase velocity and address key business risks.

      SOLUTION

      HS2 provided a multi-faceted Customer Revenue Optimization team to dive in and deliver several quick wins to improve revenue. The first area we tackled was the request-for-authorization (RFA) process. Bidders are required to register for each auction in which they wish to bid, and the original process was long, complicated and resulted in a lot of abandonment/incomplete registrations. Working with the Invaluable design team, we implemented a much simpler and more efficient RFA process.

      After completing the modified registration flow, the HS2 team moved on to implementing a major new area of business for Invaluable: Timed Auctions. This feature enabled auction houses to provide online-only auctions, similar to eBay, in addition to their live auctions.

      RESULTS

      The simplified RFA project led to an increase of more than 10% in auction registrations within the first month of release. That number continued to increase over time with further analysis and refinement.

      The Timed Auctions feature created a market that did not exist previously and now accounts for 10-15% of auctions available on Invaluable.

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