#Guides #Marketplaces | 17 min read | Updated: 8/16/2022

How to Build an Online Auction Website like eBay

Updated: 8/16/2022
, Project Manager
#Guides #Marketplaces
17 min read

Some eCommerce legends are really inspiring. And almost every online retailer gets the desire to follow the huge success. Achieve incredible profit and build an online auction website like eBay.

Attracting new customers is not a marketing strategy anymore; it’s actually a way of life of web store owners and their entire sales teams.

Businesses grow and extend. Online merchants start feeling the limits of the popular eCommerce auction platforms.

How to get rid of any limitations? One can think of starting an online auction website.

Things to Know Before Building the Auction Website

Online auction business occupies a special niche in the eCommerce industry. Traditional auctions are almost left behind in previous centuries.

The Internet has upgraded traditional auctions. It made online ones very popular among users all over the world.

Let’s go back in time. In 2002, 30% of all eCommerce transactions were performed by online auctions users.

Market research in spring 2017 showed: overall profit of online auctions reached $394 b. A comparison to previous years demonstrated: web auctions business tends to grow by 13% annually.

In 2022, the U.S. Industry Statistics & Market Research forecasts online auction websites will grow during the next 3 years.

Among dozens of incredibly useful eCommerce platforms, services, and auction websites. There are a number of websites that achieved the most amazing results. So how to create an auction website? Let’s find out.

eBay and its story of success

Just try to imagine: over 1 billion items are listed on the pages of eBay!

You can say it means nothing and the point is to buy and sell. Another significant fact: more than 167 million of active users contribute to eBay business development.

 eBay Homepage

C2C and B2B sales models are facilitated on eBay.

The popularity and market positions since 1995 prove that this multinational corporation knows its business. And keeps doing it right.

For 22 years, eBay has been expanding its borders and now includes many services. It started with original sales and auctions to “Buy It Now” shopping service. Then were shopping by SKU number, web advertisement, trading of event tickets. And even online money transfers.

Even though eBay is a really convenient and profitable tool for online merchants. Some eBay sellers have the aim to expand their business beyond and leave eBay. The reasons can vary. Some feel strong enough to continue their path without eBay. Others are simply tired of this web service, or just want to explore something new.

Also, sometimes, eBay’s huge fees make online merchants give up using the website. The numerous eBay competitors on the eCommerce market allow merchants to make a choice.

5 Best Online Auction Websites like eBay

We formulated this list of top 5 eBay competitors. Just for your better understanding of the topic. The names included on this list may differ in their purposes and business goals. But all serve the online sales or auction market.

Amazon

Nowadays, Amazon is the strongest eBay rival. Even though it is not the same service as eBay, they are usually compared. The main difference is that Amazon is great for merchants that sell authentic products.

Amazon Homepage

eBid

eBid was included in the Top 9 Sellers Choice in 2017. Considering the fact that this platform is not so big, the profitability is surprising. Selling on eBid takes more time than selling on eBay. The merchants know that successful sales take time. eBid follows the auction-style, too.

eBid Homepage

Etsy

Etsy is another popular selling platform in the eCommerce world. Etsy’s main specialization is selling vintage goods and handmade products. The platform’s founders started their business in 2005 in a small apartment in New York. Now, they enjoy the profitable interaction with more than 1.4 million active sellers.

Etsy is an owner of the Sellers’ Choice award for accessibility.

Etsy Homepage

Auction King

Selling luxury products is Auction King’s main feature. Here, interested customers can easily find designer accessories like bags, watches, jewelry, etc. It has a narrower user base in comparison to eBay. But still shows a high level of seller profit.

Auction King Homepage

Listia

Listia has its own unique model of operations. The commerce process is organized in a special way. There the user buys credit for bidding. This makes goods technically “free” because one has to pay for them with credits. Credits can be also earned by inviting friends to Listia. Or provide your own products for the auction.

 Listia Homepage

3 Key Features of online auction websites

Each product has its core and complementary features. eBay-like websites are no different. Let’s take a look at these 4 essential features of auction websites.

Payment Gateway

A payment gateway is to process the transaction between websites and their customers. Thus, it is required for almost any e-commerce platform.

The most popular modern payment gateways are PayPal, Braintree, Stripe, MANGOPAY, Adyen, and Dwolla. You can find more information in our blog post on how to choose a marketplace payment solution

Top 5 payment gateways

Community Builder Tool

Use a Community Builder to arrange your user connections on the website. Community Builders are mainly responsible for communication. They work mainly on marketing and business development needs. These tools create valuable connections between groups of people.

However, it is common to use not a single community builder tool. But a bunch of tools. These tools include visual graphics, social networking, media, spreadsheets, forms. As well as software tools for automated emails or advertisements, and integrations for your marketplace.

How to build an online auction website like eBay: Community building tools

Photo Gallery

A clear and extensive image gallery is your little key to success. Basically, the gallery is one of the most viewed features in any online marketplace. Not only in auction-type platforms.

Such a tool helps your customers with a better understanding of what your products are. So people are more likely to choose and purchase the products. 

NB: To check what kind of elements or pictures your users pay attention to. You can install a special behavior analytics tools like Hotjar or Crazyegg. Such tools help to check out how exactly your users interact with your website.

eBay Photo Gallery

Business Models of Online Auction Website Like eBay

Considering how to build a website like eBay? You should keep not only tech features in mind. Choose the most appropriate business model for your auction website.

There are a few types of business models. They, in turn, influence the monetization models and marketing approaches.

Buy it Now

The product has a bid and a fixed price. It is sold when the best price is offered. Buy-it-now allows merchants to set the product price right away. The customers can buy a product for its actual price if they want to. 

Reserve Price

The bid starts from the base auction price. The product is sold to the highest bidder. In this model, a merchant sets a hidden minimum price. He agrees to sell the product for that. So the product can be sold in two cases. When the customer’s price meets or increases the seller’s one.

Proxy Bidding

The buyer uses special software applications for bidding. The software has information about the maximum price. It automatically bids on a proxy bidder’s behalf up to the maximum bid amount.

Pros and Cons of Software Tools for Auction Website Development

The eCommerce market is dominated by powerful giant-like platforms. The concept of marketplaces became popular and handy. And thus ready-made solutions for marketplaces also appear on the market.

Pros of Ready-Made Solutions for Auction Website Development

Faster development

Ready-made software tools are pretty easy to use. The reason is there are lots of business app patterns for faster website creation.

No need to hire a team

No need to look for, interview and choose developers. Truth to say, it saves both time and money.

Lower prices

Naturally, good ready-made tools do not need that much additional development and customization. And appears to be less expensive than hiring a team

Cons of Ready-Made Solutions for Auction Website Development

No choice of self-expression

Using a ready-made software you have not that many abilities to customize your auction website. You have constricted by service’s themes and templates. 

This causes issues starting with the impossibility to choose your own design or functional solutions. Therefore, it is hard to stand out from other auction websites.

Limitation of business development

Using ready-made solutions can limit you not only in technical but also in business goals. Choosing a ready-made solution? Adapt your business to it. 

Custom development, on the contrary, allows you to conduct a discovery phase first. And create an exact product you and your audience need.

Big players require fees

External solutions may be faster and easier to work with. But all of them require fees for maintenance. The bigger and quality provider you choose, the more expensive may be a final price. 

At this point, custom development may cost you the same money. But custom development keeps you in control of the whole development process.

Tools to Build your own Auction Website 

Here we come to the mainline of the article. How to build an online auction website for your business? We are here to answer this question. And help solve the related problems in the future.

The variety of software languages, frameworks, and tools for web development is quite extensive. Web solutions are the point of interest of many people worldwide nowadays. But when it comes to the development of an online auction website, what to choose?

WordPress

WordPress is a CMS that lets you make an auction website a piece of cake. It is a good tool for you if:

  • want to create a website for a small business, not for a billion-dollar auction
  • have a goal to manage the website by yourself
  • prefer to deal with a common “old one good one” solution

Sounds good, doesn’t it? But things look not so well when diving deeper. For example, into WordPress profitability for auction-model websites.

There is an opinion. CMS is a really bad solution to create a website like eBay. Meanwhile, the development of software technologies brings us advanced solutions every day. CMS was popular a few years ago. Now they look like an old lady at a students’ party.

Why WordPress (as well as any other CMS) can be not the best choice:

  • they are bad for a large strong business with a tendency for further development
  • the customization options are rather poor
  • it is old-fashioned

Thinking of the breathtaking modern website that would just blow up your competitors’ minds? Accept the fact that WordPress is not powerful enough for that.

Ruby on Rails for Auction Website Development

Here is another common solution for basically any kind of online marketplaces.

Ruby is an object-oriented programming language. Running on Rails, it is able to implement the web solution of the highest difficulty.

Ruby was created almost 25 years ago. All these years of practice made the language intelligent and easy to use. With understandable syntax and wide capabilities, it became one of the best tools for web software development.

Ruby/Rails is an open-source development tool that is able to make any idea come true. It would be a great experience to create a bidding website on Ruby.

Server-side development got better when this amazing language appeared. For now, Ruby is a choice of thousands of software experts. It can be easily embedded into HTML. Language’s good scalability makes the Ruby solutions easily maintainable. It can be simply connected to lots and lots of databases. Installed in different environments. Or used for scripting.

The built-in functions of Ruby on Rails make it possible to implement any idea

Would you like to take a look at the web solution developed in Ruby? Visit GitHub, SlideShare, or BaseCamp to see the prominent results of Ruby/Rails development.

Python/Django for Auction Website Development

One more option to create an online auction is using Python with its Django framework.

Python provides great capabilities for web development. As well as for Machine Learning and Data Science.

Python’s code is readable and simple. Unlike Java and C++, it is elegant and understandable. Python provides the software specialists with extensive documentation and powerful support of a nice community.

The original aim of creating the Python programming language was not related to web development. Django framework allows building websites of any complexity using these tools.

Python is an interpreted language. Debugging of the code is sheer poetry, which is additionally cool for your future website. Python comes right out of the box.

Modules and libraries are built-in from the very beginning. So the programmer does not have to spend excessive time. Tools for protocols and reliable support present yet another feature. The processes of connecting to databases, testing, or parsing are smooth and fast.

Numerous amazing popular web solutions were developed in Python/Django. Dropbox, Instagram, Spotify, Quora. And many other websites with millions of visitors were created by Python enthusiasts. Why not create an auction website on it?

Company vs Freelance: Who to Choose for Your Auction Website Development

As long as you decided that you need a custom solution that would fit exactly your needs… You have another decision to make. To hire a freelancer or a software development company.

The core advantage of a freelancer lies in the price-surely. Hiring a freelance developer is cheaper. But it has also a number of disadvantages.

Cons of hiring a freelance developer

Responsibility

Have you ever worked with freelancers? You definitely know that it is really hard to find a responsible professional.

Expertise

Setting up an online auction website? It is not the same thing as to launch a chatbot or develop a mobile game. To successfully develop it, your developers are required to have the appropriate experience. 

Usually, freelance developers’ expertise is narrow. Meanwhile, you can find a software development agency with a niche focus on online marketplaces.

Risks

 While agencies treasure their reputation and customers’ feedback, some freelancers don’t carry reputation risks. And you never know whether your developer would disappear leaving you with the unfinished solution

Let’s look closer at development with a software development company. First, let’s face it – this option provides many more perks, but it also costs more.

Specifics of hiring a software development agency 

Higher prices

Professional development isn’t cheap. For example, the hourly rates for web development may reach $75-180 in the USA. Though, destinations like Eastern Europe ($30-50 per hour) or Asia ($15-25 per hour).

Need to hire a team

Happen to choose an outsource development? You’ll have to spend some time looking for a team. On the other hand, choosing a company ensures you about the results and quality.

Lots of communications

Communication is crucial when you want to control the development process. Get ready to call each other every day. Use video conferencing with your team. Or even visit them to work some time together. It takes some time. But it is the perfect auction website you’ll get in return. And it is worth it.

Experience

You can search for a company that specializes in online marketplace website development. Sloboda Studio has been web developing websites for 10 years now. There are lots of marketplaces in our success stories.

Personal approach

A good software company starts your collaboration with a discovery phase of your project. Why? The discovery includes studying a competitive market. It helps with creating a business plan. Determines the key features of the future product. All this is done with an only point. Just to avoid failure and make your idea into a successful auc