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“We do not view our auctions as based in the country they originate,” says Greg Owens, chairman and CEO of online auction company IronPlanet, speaking at Intermat last week. “Instead, all our auctions are global.”
The U.S.-based company has now held three European auctions and established an international call center in Dublin, Ireland, where customers can talk to a representative in one of 14 different languages. According to Owens, IronPlanet is one of the few equipment success stories in the recession. The company had 2008 revenues of $337 million, a 45 percent year-over-year growth, and expects its 2009 revenues to approach $500 million.
Owens attributes much of the company’s growth to how well the company knows its clients – and the fact that most clients are both buyers and sellers. “For example, we know if someone is the second bidder on a machine, and let that person know if there’s a similar machine coming up for bid. We can see every move that person makes on our site, and know their interests, and the frequency in which they bid.”
He also attributes this growth to an increased confidence in the company’s inspection services, which include around 50 pictures of each machine. “Seventy-five percent of our buyers are repeat buyers,” Owens says. “In a two year period, the average number of viewers per auction has gone from 1,600 to 15,000. And our international sales are now 27 percent of our total sales.”