In every niche, there is a leader who shapes the market. In the marketplace space, it is arguably eBay. In 2023, this marketplace held the second place in the rating of top marketplaces worldwide, with nearly seven minutes of average time spent on these websites. No wonder many companies aspire to learn how to create an auction website.
In this article, we’re taking our personal experience from working with eCommerce websites and sharing tips and tricks in a comprehensive guide. The step-by-step format would answer most of your questions. However, if you still have them by the end – drop us a line!
So, let’s look closely at auction app development without further ado.
What is an Online Auction Website: Advantages and Popularity
Online auction websites have gained popularity as a form of e-commerce. Their appeal lies in critical benefits:
1. No Limits on Location or Time
Online auctions break through boundaries and time zones. It means people worldwide can participate in real-time auctions on websites without being limited by physical distance or operating hours.
2. Varied Features
Online auctions offer a range of features, such as different auction formats, flexible payment options, and powerful search capabilities. Moreover, these platform apps often provide language support on the main page to accommodate users from various linguistic backgrounds.
3. A Large Community of Buyers and Sellers
Online auctions attract diverse buyers and sellers. This extensive pool of participants fosters competition, resulting in better prices for sellers and a wider variety of goods for buyers.
These advantages have contributed to the auction model’s widespread popularity, making it the go-to choice for buying and selling an extensive array of products and services in today’s digital era.
Building an Auction Website: Step-by-Step Guide
Now that you understand what auction websites are and why they are as popular as they come, let’s delve into the guide. We comprised it carefully based on practical experience with retail and eCommerce products.
Step 1: Buy Domain Name
Picking the domain name sets the tone for your project from the start. Consider keywords and domain extensions while ensuring it’s simple to remember and type. Do research on domain availability and make your purchase from a trusted registrar. Cooperate with reliable hosting service.
Step 2: Get Prepared for Website Development
Establishing a clear vision for your product to start the development process. Define the roles of the users who will interact with your product and create a list of features you want to include.
Next, decide on your web development method, such as building it from scratch or utilizing platform apps like WordPress. Additionally, consider how you plan to monetize your product and make a list of any integrations you may need, such as payment gateways or APIs.
Lastly, outline your requirements for every webpage, including hosting options, database considerations, and security measures.
Step 3: Create UI/UX Design
Good design is essential for a website that strives to capture customer interest. Focus on creating a to-use and visually attractive user interface (UI) that provides a smooth and seamless user experience (UX) on every page of the website. To ensure your website meets users’ needs, research, create wireframe designs, and develop prototypes.
Step 4: Choose Tech Stack
When building an auction website, choosing the right technology stack and hosting is essential. Consider scalability, security, and your development team’s skills and knowledge. It would help if you considered options like programming languages, frameworks, and databases that align with the goals of your project.
Step 5: Onboard Team of Developers
Communicate your project vision to your development team to synch every page of the website you envision. Work together on important decisions. Select a development approach (Agile, Scrum, or Waterfall) and implement task management tools like JIRA or Trello. Create effective communication channels to facilitate efficient teamwork.
Step 6: Develop MVP
Create your Minimum Viable Product (MVP) using the specified features and design. Make sure to prioritize security measures and content creation. Pick the right hosting service for your web app. Adopting a development approach to create each page fo the website will enable you to efficiently evaluate and enhance your auction website.
Step 7: Test Your Auction Website
Thorough testing is crucial to guaranteeing an enjoyable experience for users on every page of the website. It involves conducting tests to assess functionality, usability, security, hosting, and performance. Additionally, gathering customer feedback and promptly addressing concerns is part of the process.
Step 8: Release MVP
After successfully testing your MVP, it is time to make your website available. To prepare for launch, you should document the design and functionality of each page of your website, pump up the main page, create user guides, and ensure that your hosting environment is fully prepared for production.
Step 9: Develop New Features
Developing a website is an ending journey. It involves seeking customer feedback and enhancing your website with fresh features and enhancements. It’s crucial to stay informed about the technology trends to stay ahead in the competitive world of online auctions.
Things to Know Before Building the Auction Website
Online auction website 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 auction users.
Market research in spring 2017 showed overall profit of online auctions reached $394B. Compared to previous years, the web auctions business tends to grow by 13% annually.
Among dozens of incredibly useful eCommerce platform apps, services, and auctions. There are a number of websites that achieved the most amazing results. So how to create an auction website? Let’s find out.
Market Forecast for Auction Websites
eBay: The Story of Success
Just try to imagine: over 1 billion items are listed on the eBay website with categories on the main page.
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 this bidding website business development.
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 website 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 the bidding website 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, the bissing website’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
We formulated this list of the Top 5 eBay competitor websites 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.
Nowadays, Amazon is the strongest eBay rival. Even though it is not the same website and service as the famous bidding website, they are usually compared. The main difference is that Amazon is great for merchants that sell authentic products.
eBid website 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 more popular bidding websites. The merchants know that successful sales take time. eBid website follows the auction-style, too.
Etsy is another popular selling website 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 profitable interaction with more than 1.4 million active sellers.
Etsy is an owner of the Sellers’ Choice award for accessibility.
Selling luxury products is Auction King’s main feature. On this website, interested customers can easily find designer accessories like bags, watches, jewelry, etc right on the page. It has a narrower user base compared to the bidding websites we covered above. But still shows a high level of seller profit.
Auction King Homepage
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 website 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.
3 Key Features of Auction Websites
Each product has its core and complementary features. Bidding websites are no different. Let’s take a look at these 4 essential features of auction websites.
A payment gateway is used to process the transactions between website stakeholders and their customers. Thus, it is required for almost any e-commerce platform.
The most popular modern 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 Payment Gateways
Community Builder Tool
Use a Community Builder to arrange your user connections on the website. Community Builders are mainly responsible for communication on various sites. 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.
Community Building Tools
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 platform apps.
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 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 Auction Website
Considering how to build a strong bidding website? 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.
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.
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 platform apps. 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
Ready-made software tools for bidding platforms 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.
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 the 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 better provider you choose, the more expensive may be the 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 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
Community Building Tools
Sounds good, doesn’t it? But things look not so well when diving deeper. For example, into WordPress profitability for auction-model sites.
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 student’s 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 marketplace.
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 on Rails Features
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 web platforms 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 sites 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
Have you ever worked with freelancers? You definitely know that it is really hard to find a responsible professional.
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.
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
Differences Between Professional Company and Freelancers
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
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.
You can search for a company that specializes in online marketplace website development. Sloboda Studio has been developing websites for 10 years now. There are lots of marketplaces in our success stories.
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 auction website.
When choosing a company, you can focus on any technologies, industry expertise, and needed skills. Choosing a company specializing in technologies like PHP, Python, or Ruby on Rails? Then, you’ll get a team with a solid knowledge of needed technology.
How to Find and Choose a Software Development Agency
Want to create an online marketplace like eBay? It is crucially important to find and choose a really good service provider.
When looking for an outsourcing partner, be attentive to such significant details as:
- experience and expertise
- business goals
These 4 aspects would help you to understand whether a company can fulfill your tasks. Moreover, to create the best web solution for you.
Before getting involved in cooperation, evaluate the management and development specialists’ competence.
The outsourcing company must offer you a service in the following aspects:
- back-end development
- front-end development
- project management
- quality assurance
The Back-End and Front-End Development of The Auction Website
How to build your own auction website? Both the back-end and front-end are crucial here.
As it was mentioned above, Ruby on Rails and Python/Django are tools for service-side development. The back-end includes all of the processes that remain invisible to the user. Back-end developers build the whole website functionality.
The front-end team creates a nice interface, buttons, scroll buttons, etc.. Front-end means every single element of the web page that a user can see. The user-server interaction is impossible without it.
- web design
- front-end development
Project Management and QA: The Processes That Should Not Be Abandoned
The opinion about the negligibility of IT project management and product quality assurance is completely mistakable. Not a single successful, high-quality product can be produced without proper management and careful QA.
Why do project managers matter? Here are some main reasons:
- organize the universal chaos
- estimate efforts and create a plan
- provide the means of continuous communication
- encourage and inspire
The project manager is the soul of the team.
The special role in a team belongs to quality assurance processes. The quality of your auction website depends not only on developers’ skills. But also on checking if they did everything right.
Quality Assurance engineers ensure that everything developed looks and works properly. A QA engineer reviews the website from the customer’s point of view while creating a website like eBay.
Effective cooperation of skilled under the control of a responsible project manager. Also, a good QA team is needed to build an e-commerce website like eBay.
Sloboda Studio Experience in Online Marketplaces
We’ve been developing marketplaces for 10 years now. Below you can find a couple of our case studies.
Salita is a B2G and B2C marketplace. It offers access to different interpreters over video and phone conferences.
Homepage of Salita
We met our client at the idea stage. It was an idea of connecting interpreters with businesses, governments, and individuals. How? By providing private meeting rooms with in-person assignments.
First of all, we implemented the video call function. It allows the interpreters to work from home or from specially equipped video rooms. The video call function was implemented with Pexip, an application based on WebRTC.
Our next goal was to help the customers by searching for the right interpreter. We introduced a matching algorithm. It offers the user a list of available interpreters and sorts them according to relevance.
Cleaning Marketplace Software
This cleaning marketplace is a service that connects customers with local professional cleaners. Customers can book cleaning services for their apartments.
Payment is made only after the cleaning is completed. At this point, our client had some technical issues related to payment processing.
First of all, we chose to set up a notification about the failures. Now, customers can receive notifications about payment failures via email. Therefore, the customer is invited back to the dashboard. Here it is possible to pay for the cleaning service.
In the dashboard, the customer can see the reason for the payment error. Here, we also connected the Stripe system. It helps with defining the types of errors.
Want to create an online auction? Then, feel free to use this guide. Or you can just hire a software development company to take all the issues off your shoulders.
In Sloboda Studio, we love creating new solutions and facing new challenges. Your great idea and our solid experience in web development? Let’s turn it into a profitable service. You can rely on our experience in questions related to:
We are ready to create a one-of-a-kind auction website for you. One-click registration. Convenient personal web cabinet. The lovely interface developed by us would do its job. The terms of the development depend on your requirements and wishes. After discussing all of the details, we are ready to start.