English Forward | Auctions Types Within a Marketplace

English Forward | How auctions works within a marketplace

In recent years, auctions have become more prevalent in marketplaces, enabling dynamic pricing environments that facilitate price discovery. But how does English Forward stand out from other auction systems within a marketplace?

In an English Forward auction, the seller sets a starting price, and potential buyers compete against each other by submitting incrementally increasing bids. The auction ends when no more bids are placed, and the item is sold to the highest bidder for the value of the highest bid.

The process:

  • Auction set-up: The auctioneer sets the starting price, bid increment, auction duration, & other parameters. The auction is then listed on the auction platform or marketplace.
  • Bidding process: Interested buyers place their bids by submitting an amount that is higher than the current bid. Bids can be submitted manually or through an automated bidding system.
  • Price increase: As more bids are placed, the price of the item being auctioned increases in increments according to the set bid increment.
  • Auction closure: When the auction duration ends, the auctioneer declares the item sold to the highest bidder. The buyer pays the final price, and the auctioneer completes the transaction.
  • Post-auction: After the auction is over, the auction platform or marketplace may provide additional services, such as payment processing and shipping coordination.

Why might you choose an English Forward Auction for your marketplace?

Digital English Forward auctions offer a transparent, competitive and efficient means of price discovery for buyers and sellers. This is ideal in developing or highly volatile markets or where the potential value is unknown.

  • Reach a global audience: Expand your market presence globally.
  • Create competitive tension: Create a competitive bidding environment where users are engaged.
  • Enable transparent price discovery: Ensure a clear and transparent process during the auction process.
  • Host unlimited auctions on demand: Enjoy flexibility in organising auctions whenever needed.

Clients whom we have applied for an English Forward auction — Christie’s

English Forward auction can be applied to any industry, depending on their business model. At NovaFori we have applied this technology to multiple clients, including Christie’s.

Click this banner to read Christie's case study
Click here to read Christie's case study


Christie’s, a global leader in auctions with a $4.4 billion turnover in 2021, aimed to transition to online auctions to tap into a broader market. However, they faced challenges in ensuring a seamless transition that reflected the essence of their prestigious physical auctions.

Solution by NovaFori:

Christie’s selected NovaFori to develop robust and scalable online auction software. The solution needed to emulate physical auctions, integrate with existing infrastructure and cater to a diverse customer base across different product categories.


  • NovaFori’s solution enabled Christie’s to conduct multiple simultaneous online auctions globally, transcending language and currency barriers.
  • The partnership expanded Christie’s buyer segment, breaking geographical restrictions and creating a mid-segment market for mid-value auctions.
  • The platform maintained Christie’s leading position in the online art auction market, achieving online sales worth £445 million in 2021.
  • Geographical reach significantly expanded, with a 65% uplift on pre-sale expected estimates and record-breaking sales, including Beeple’s NFT-based sale at $69.3 million.

Key Features:

  • Multiple Trading Mechanisms: Fixed Price, English Forward.
  • Cost Calculator: Includes buyer’s premium, insurance, estimated shipping, VAT, and royalties.
  • Optimal Packaging Calculator: Calculates shipping costs.
  • Integration: With inventory management system and payment processing services.
  • Geo-restrictions, Multi-language, Multi-currency: With conversion and cross-border tax considerations.
  • Mobile-Ready.


NovaFori’s tailored solution transformed Christie’s online presence, making it a market leader with unprecedented sales and a diversified global audience.

As technology and markets have evolved, so has our auction technology. Working shoulder to shoulder with our clients, we now power multiple global marketplaces with English Forward auction technology.

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