Catawiki Hosts Global Online Auctions
Catawiki Hosts Global Online Auctions

Catawiki Hosts Global Online Auctions

Catawiki, the leading online marketplace to buy and sell special objects, uses PubNub to power real-time bidding updates, making online auctions feel just as memorable and exciting as in-person auctions.

Catawiki Hosts Global Online Auctions

At a Glance.

With PubNub, Catawiki:

  • Can scale to handle 10+ million monthly users. 
  • Powers real-time bidding updates during auctions. 
  • Operates in real time, without latency issues, to capture the energy and excitement of in-person auctions.

“PubNub enables us to create a lively experience where people feel immersed in their passion and that they are a part of an event as it’s happening.”Vincent Boisard, Engineering Manager at Catawiki

Meet Catawiki 

Founded in 2008, Catawiki is the leading online marketplace to buy and sell special objects, selected by experts.

Every week over a million bids are placed on Catawiki. Their marketplace offers over 75,000 objects in auction from around the globe and across various categories such as art, books, fashion, jewelry, collectibles and more. Additionally, they have hundreds of in-house experts who virtually review and select the best items in order to connect passionate buyers and sellers. 

“Through our marketplace we want people to be able to fulfill their passions,” said Vincent Boisard, Engineering Manager at Catawiki. With Catawiki, buyers have the ability to follow their favorite auctions, place automatic bids, and be notified of the number of offers and latest bidding amount. 

Because they aim to make these online auctions feel just as memorable and exciting as in-person auctions, Catawiki wanted to partner with a reliable and scalable solution to power the core features in their marketplace, so they turned to PubNub. 

Engaging users through real-time bidding updates 

Using PubNub, Catawiki is able to provide users with real-time updates on bids during an auction. “We want people to be aware and notified as fast as possible when they've been outbid so that they get a chance to bid again and win the item,” said Boisard. “This is where our usage of PubNub comes in.”

During an auction, their marketplace delivers two types of events to users. They push out real-time updates about new bids coming in, as well as updates about the auction and time being extended, instantly notifying users so that they never miss out on bidding opportunities. “It's important that there is a highly dynamic field to those actions just like you might have in a physical auction house where you will see yourself being outbidded in real time, which is why these real-time capabilities are vital to us,” said Boisard. 

In fact, if a bid is placed within the last minute of an auction, their marketplace extends the event an additional 60 to 90 seconds, depending on the category, to give people a chance to bid again—offering the same lively feeling that keeps people continuously engaged at in-person auctions. 

Improving customer satisfaction and retention

As a marketplace that powers multiple auctions simultaneously, avoiding concurrency limits or latency is essential for providing an exciting and seamless experience where customers feel like they are in the crowd at an auction house bidding on an object. 

“PubNub enables us to create a lively experience where people feel immersed in their passion and that they are a part of an event as it’s happening,” said Boisard. 

By relying on PubNub, Catawiki is able to scale to handle auctions of any size, ensuring that they are delivering a quality user experience, which helps to improve customer satisfaction and keeps users coming back. 

“Customer satisfaction is the most important thing to us,” said Boisard. “We want people to engage with us over and over again so the experience for our users needs to be top notch, and PubNub helps us build this experience.” 

Easily scaling to support a growing user base 

For Boisard and his team, knowing that their updates will continuously be pushed in real time, even during usage spikes, has provided them peace of mind—especially as their customer base continues to grow. “For us, not having to worry about scale since we are available globally is a big thing for us,” said Boisard. “Having a tool like PubNub is a huge differentiator.”

With PubNub, Catawiki can operate reliably and at scale to power real-time bidding updates during an auction, creating an enjoyable user experience that truly captures the excitement of an in-person auction.

If you would like to learn how PubNub can help you build experiences that are more engaging and captivating, try our APIs for free.


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