Imagine your office has transitioned to a remote work setup, and you find yourself with an abundance of chairs and desks that you no longer need. Unfortunately, you can't hold a traditional yard sale to get rid of them. That's where Superbid comes to the rescue! They’ve been around for two decades and have helped auction over $800 million worth of goods.
While Superbid's auction process is ideal for larger businesses with a high volume and value of items, the team wanted to explore new opportunities for small to medium-sized businesses. Emerson, who leads user experience and marketing, thought of a neat idea: A startup within a company! They developed a mobile app that acts as a DIY auction platform with a market-based pricing system, so smaller businesses could sell items ranging from a few pieces of furniture, or a single commercial oven, or even a collector’s watch.
“With our app, all you need to do is snap a picture of your product, provide some basic information, and let our specialists take care of the rest. You can sign a contract generated through the platform, and your product goes live on our website for potential buyers to see.”
– Emerson Niide
A real working app > Endless prototyping
Large businesses involve a higher value and volume of items, which means multiple meetings, emailing back and forth, site visits, taking pictures, signing contracts and only then could items be listed for auction. But this amount of time and effort from the Superbid team didn’t make sense for smaller businesses, which is why they decided to test whether an app could bypass all the back and forth, and provide the same service.
But in order to do that, they needed a real working app and not a prototype.
“When it comes to experimenting with new processes, no-code platforms are the perfect complement to any team looking to move quickly and cost-effectively. They allow you to test the waters, see what works, and then scale without the involvement of engineering teams. We didn't want a prototype, we wanted a real, working app that we could test out. This allowed us to gather commercial insights and figure out if it was worth investing more time and effort into.”
Their team set out to solve the problem of making auctioning easy, transparent, and affordable for small businesses. With the app, all that a seller needed to do is snap a picture of the product, provide some basic information, and let their specialists take care of the rest. Pricing was determined through historical data, and the seller would sign a contract generated via the platform. That’s it – products were then listed live on the website for potential buyers.
Limited resources? Not enough time? Work with an expert!
Although Emerson was an Adalo maker himself, he recognized that the learning curve for a project of this scope would be time-consuming. Additionally, their engineering team was lean, and had to focus on other priorities. Experimentation came fairly low on that list!
Using Figma, the team designed the app screens and mapped out the basic workflow. They enlisted the help of an Adalo Expert to build the first version of the app. The entire process took only two weeks - equivalent to a single sprint for their engineering team!
As a result, Superbid launched a user-friendly, commercially viable app that expanded their business and reached a new set of customers.
“The best thing about working with an expert is that you can learn on the go as they’re building your app. You get to share insights and ideas with someone who's more knowledgable than you are when it comes to building apps. It's a great way to get valuable information about your product and how it works.”
Rolling out the app
The team behind the app at Superbid had a plan when they first started building it: Test it for 3-6 months using no-code, and if it worked, scrap the no-code version and start from scratch with a fully coded app. If it didn't work, they'd abandon the project altogether.
As time went on, however, something interesting happened. They didn't find any reason to ditch the no-code approach. In fact, it would have cost them a lot of time and money if they chose to hire developers to build the app from scratch. So they doubled down on their no-code app and made improvements to it instead.
They integrated with Make and added document generation, allowing users to easily generate PDF contracts and sign them easily.
“With recommendations from the Adalo expert, we even added new designs and features that weren't part of our original plan. Our app became a living, breathing product that kept evolving over time.”
About the future of no-code at Superbid, Emerson says, “We have people within our teams dedicated to making no-code projects because we know there are some things that require developers and code, but there are other things - like experiments or micro-startups within the company - that we want to test quickly and efficiently without involving engineering teams.”
Superbid has had such success with no-code development for these in-house experiments that they are considering expanding access to their team through paired programming and expert-led training. “When it comes to pricing, you need to be objective”, says Emerson. “You have to understand that you can't have exceptional quality, low price, AND development speed all at once. It's about making trade-offs that work for you. We were more than willing to pay for someone who was happy and committed to doing a great job, and delivering quality work.”
Emerson, along with the Superbid team is optimistic about the future of no-code for their business. “Thanks to artificial intelligence, cool freelancer communities from around the world, and no-code tools, innovating and building new ideas has become easier than ever before. Even smaller companies that don’t have deep pockets can set up innovation labs and build out their ideas. With the opportunity to bypass the technical and boring parts, you get to add value to your company, test new ideas, and have fun in the process!”