A24 Auctions

Building a completely custom online auction platform to engage with the entertainment company's most avid fans.

Homepage
Auction page
Lot page

From the playful “Bear in a Cage” figurine inspired by Midsommar to the beautifully designed screenplay book for Moonlight, A24 was already experienced in creating and marketing unique film-related items, offering their fans ways to own keepsakes of the films they love.

But they wanted to give fans a new way to enjoy and engage with the films, and to reach those audiences not yet acquainted with A24, by auctioning off the props, costumes, and other memorabilia from their most beloved films. To do this right, they would need a fully-branded and customizable online auction platform.

While the notion was always to auction these items as a means to raise funds for various charities, the onset of the COVID-19 crisis put the timeline of the site’s launch into overdrive, as our teams saw this as a safe way to raise money to help people in need.

Architecting the Platform

The auction site would need to work for a wide variety of items - from the largest set pieces down to the tiniest props. It would also need to function for any number of items, and within an unpredictable editorial calendar.

The solution was to design the platform to allow A24’s team to create auctions thematically and place lots within them that could showcase any of their wide slate of films, and that could open and close on whatever timeframe made sense for that film’s marketing efforts. This flexible structure would allow for such variations as which films had items available to auction, when in their marketing lifecycle they needed to engage with fans, and whether they would be available to ship.

The branding of the site would be an obvious extension of the A24 brand, under which film-specific items would live, rather than a reflection of each film, both to accommodate the desired flexibility and as a way to introduce the films’ most die-hard fans to A24.

Homepage

Auctions

The auction content model offers flexibility to accommodate a range of assets, showcase lots from a variety of films, and display key information as the auction cycles through multiple states, from upcoming to open to closed.

Upcoming auction page
Open auction page
Open auction page with hero
Browsing by film

Users can see which of their favorite A24 films have upcoming, current or past items available for auction.

Lots

The lot page showcases any number of images or videos, clearly articulates the most useful and pertinent information, and maintains accessibility to the most important interactions with the item for bid.

Extended bidding

Lots accommodate popcorn bidding rules, alerting the user that the lot time has been extended each time someone places a bid within that last 10 minutes of the scheduled close time.

Charities

Information about the charities each auction or lot supports are prominently displayed on each page.

Shipping

Live estimates, including the best rate among multiple shipping carriers, tax amounts, duties and fees, are shown to logged in users based on their account information before bidding.

Featured Merch

Cross-promoting items from the A24 shop gives users another way to own a piece of the film, by showcasing the film-related products created by A24’s marketing team that are more accessible and available at a lower price point.

Bidding

The functionality of the site’s bidding and buying processes draw from well-known workflows of established auction websites, while the interface incorporates delightful real-time interactions.

Incremental bidding rules provide structure and predictability, mimicking the way live auctions work. The interface gracefully handles various bidding scenarios by prepopulating the next incremental bid amount, rounding down overbids, and displaying clear error messaging for underbids.

Bid confirmation messaging provides clarity around pricing by showing estimated taxes and shipping costs based on the user’s billing address.

Bid confirmation & history

The bidding history for items on which the user has bid displays pertinent information that updates in real time and flags unread updates for the user’s attention.

I'm crying /
also I'm bidding as soon as possible.
Ariana Grande
1200000.0
views in first 24h after launch
350.0
raised for charity in first month after launch

Emails

Communications with customers are triggered by events that are integral to the bidding process, notifying the user when their bid has been placed, they’ve been outbid, the lot is closing or has been extended, and when they’ve won.

Accounts & Backend

The account creation and onboarding process was designed to gather critical verification information from the user without providing too many barriers to entry. The process requires users to register and provide payment information before their bids can be placed but allows them to wait until they’ve won an item to provide their shipping or final payment details.

Error validation in signup
Capturing minimal payment info on signup, which is also used to generate personalized live shipping estimates
If you skip adding your credit card during signup, you are prompted to add a card before bidding
Content management system

The content management system, which is an entirely custom auction e-commerce solution built on the Django framework, gives administrators the tools they need to manage assets, create items, schedule lots, and publish auctions, as well as the ability to manage users and payments.

See it live

MIT Media Lab