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Make Moving Items Between Sale Channels a Breeze

Project Time: January  2021      Role: Product Designer

Project Background:

We have consignment properties that go to either an auction, the marketplace, or a private sale. One of our advantages as Sotheby’s is the fact that we offer two great sales channels: Auction and Buy Now. We’re already seeing a good pickup in items that didn’t sell at auction being sold at Marketplace, and departments beefing up their auctions with Marketplace items.

Problem to solve:

Right now, the process of moving between channels is a mess. There’s back and forth between SAP and Admin, we need to:

  • Redesign IA if necessary.
  • Focus on making it super smooth and nice to move items that didn’t sell at Auction to Marketplace. If possible; making it easy to move the other way around would be helpful as well.

Accepted Criteria:

  • Once an auction closes, items that didn’t sell can be moved to a new sale channel.
  • The auction record should not be impacted by this. We should be able to go to the auction in Admin and find the sale history.
  • Each consignment property has a timeline/chart of where the item has been assigned.

The Old User Flow

I started the design by mapping out the current workflow:

Add consignment items to auction or marketplace >  Hide the auction result or delist from the marketplace. 

The flow turned out to be very complex and confusing.

Redesign the information architecture

Each consigner has multiple properties that are allocated to different sale channels.

My first step is to redesign the information architecture of the channels. Due to the evolution of the business, the old IA became a legacy and needs to be reorganized. I designed four buckets to categorize the properties: one bucket for all available properties, plus three buckets for three different sale channels. 

To reflect on the new property list UI, each bucket explained as below:

The new property list page:

The user needs

After talking with the sales team, it’s clear that they would like to keep the property in the original auction buck if it’s unsold and move it directly into another sale channel, instead of moving back to the “All Available” list. 

The benefit of doing so is they can easily find that property, not to worry about getting lost in the “All Available” list.

The painpoint

The “Property Type” defines where which sale channel it belongs to.

Here is what’s not working well in the current consignment workflow:

If the property type is set to “Auction”, before publishing, the CTA says “Add to auction” so the users can only put that item into the Auction channel;

If the property type is set to “Marketplace”, before publishing, the CTA says “Add to Marketplace” so the users can only put that item into the Marketplace channel;

Which limited the flexibility of moving properties between channels.


Screenshot of the current property detail page – Property Type: Auction


Screenshot of the current property detail page – Property Type: Marketplace


The solution

Instead of using a specific CAT to “Add to Auction” or “Add to Marketplace”, I designed the concept of “Add to Channel”. So users can always move things around: can choose auction, marketplace, or private sales. If the item type is not the correct one, we tell the user what change will be made.

Here is the design:

Also adding a time on the consignment detail page to indicate the activity/channel history of a property.