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How to Make a Bidding Website?

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Yuri Musienko
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This article will provide you with guidance on how to make an online auction and tender platforms like eBay, Etsy, or Karl&Faber. We’ll tell you in detail how a niche influence design and features, how to decide on the optimal auction model, when a website can be created by yourself, and when you can’t do without outsourcing, how much the development costs. We’ll consider these and many other important aspects with examples.

What does a website niche influence?

Website niche. All  can be divided into three groups on this criterion. The first group is platforms, where anybody can sell anything to anyone like on eBay. The second group is websites, which limit the reach to one but broad niche like Etsy, where the handicraft, vintage, and collectible items are sold. The third group is sites, which work with one narrow group of products like Hubzu that is selling real estate.

If we compare these sites, we might notice a few key things. For instance, the design of eBay and Etsy is polished whereas Hubzu’s design isn’t so impersonal: it immediately shows what the site is selling, the people and the logo in the shape of the house are showed. Even the fonts are «softer» and «warmer»; in other words, homier.


Design of eBay and Etsy is maximally neutral because they are selling a wide range of product categories whereas Hubzu’s design shows right away: they’re selling real estate here.

The thing is that the design of bidding websites with a big number of various categories should be maximally neutral. In so doing, the people won’t feel rejection if they aren’t the site’s target audience: «If the website design is tailored to gadget advertising, then there’s no reason to look for a refrigerator or socks here». Conversely, if the platform has a quite narrow niche, then the specialized design will provide better users’ feedback: «Everything speaks of real estate on the first page — that’s exactly what I was looking for!»

Besides the design, the niche also influences the site features – starting with the search filters and ending with social tools. For example, if you’re selling physical products, then you need integration with postal services. If you’re selling digital products, then you need file storage and a data upload feature. You need the opportunity to limit the impressions to the supplier’s area to sell local services. You need a product authentication service to sell expensive vintage items.

Niche influence the textual description as well. For instance, the sale of real estate, automobiles, large equipment, yachts, websites, and wholesale requires a detailed and accurate description of the product inasmuch as people prefer making expensive purchases after a thorough overview. Whereas when selling cheap products you better bet on emotions i.e. pictures, photos, animation, and short videos.


The product description on Trulia provides far greater detail than on eBay

Target audience. This factor also influences the website design. The simplest example — if the site is selling products for young people, then the pictures should feature young people; expensive jewelry — rich women; sporting goods — famous sportsmen or ordinary people working out (not the fitness models). In other words, the photos need to feature the target audience.

The other example is fonts. For instance, if the website is selling children’s toys, the fonts should be rounded and playful. Those, who are buying sports cars and motorcycles, like fonts, which imply speed, — italics, and sharp corners. People aged 50+ like bigger and well-distinguishable fonts. If the site is selling things related to Harry Potter, it can’t do without the font of the same name or a similar one.

What else the target audience influence?

  • Young people mostly prefer to use smartphones and the older generation chooses personal computers and laptops.
  • Social tools. For example, the youth browses recommendations and prefers Instagram and TikTok, business people — legal documents, business partners and LinkedIn, neighbors — Nextdoor and Facebook.
  • Interface language.

What type of auction to choose?

A classic auction (English). The most known and simple type of auction, which is used to sell any item or service offline and online. It’s sometimes called «automated» in online stores.

A reverse auction (Dutch). It’s used when parties at the auction swap the positions: the buyers accept bids from item sellers and service providers receive bids from potential buyers. For instance, when a large company conducts a massive tender for the purchase of construction materials or when the government is looking for a contractor to clean streets.

A sealed-bid Dutch auction (Reveal). It’s used in the case of a wholesale. The seller auctions the whole lot or it's batch; the bidders gradually lower the price until someone accepts it.

A Scandinavian (penny) auction. Such auctions are known as Penny Auctions in the United States and Europe. They were invented to add more excitement to the ordinary auction. You can put up anything to auction — starting with costume jewelry valued at $1 and ending with Ford Mustang valued at $20 thous.

A unique bid auction. It’s frequently used on online markets to entice buyers with intrigue, excitement, and opportunity to save. Relatively cheap and not so necessary things for the buyer are sold with its help: jewelry, gadgets, interior items, toys, etc.

A first-price auction. A sealed-bid auction. All bidders submit sealed bids once. The sale is made to the highest bidder. It’s usually used to sell cars, real estate, and government procurements.

A second-price auction or a Vickrey auction. Conditions are the same as in the first-price auction, only the winner pays $ of second-highest bid rather than his own bid. In so doing, the trading platform limits a price hike a little bit in the last few seconds of the auction. It’s used on many online markets, eBay for instance, with slight modifications: there's an opportunity to submit the second reserve bid, which will kick in if the first one loses.


What features need to be implemented


Features, which are implemented on the eBay website. Source

Core features. Every e-commerce product has its core and additional features. Bidding websites like eBay are no exception. Core features of such platforms are the following:

Additional features. Various things that improve the user experience and / or distinguish the platform from the competitors. For instance, a mobile app, an auction calendar, an advanced filter, reports, and analytics, push notifications, marketing tools, funds reservation, integration with social networks, a separate page for a seller, etc.

Besides, if the website is a niche one, it’s oftentimes necessary to implement tools specific to this niche. For example, a real estate auction needs:

  • Video tours or 3D tours. They also can be implemented in VR.
  • User roles for a real estate agent / agencies.
  • Maps with data about neighbors, infrastructure, crime, entertainment, and other things in the area of concern. Like on Trulia and Zillow.
  • Educational content about how to choose an apartment in the listing, how to sell it, how to verify the contractor, how to do the paperwork, etc.
  • Tools to verify the owners and to establish the ownership of the real estate.
  • Other things.

How much the website development costs

Final word

If you have a desire to create and launch a bidding website, first of all, think about a niche and value, which you provide each user group with. Thereafter think about what features can help you create this value, and go ahead with implementing them.

If you still have questions on the topic, feel free to leave comments below :)


How to Make a Bidding Website? key takeaways:

#1. What does a website niche influence?
#2. What type of auction to choose?
#3. What features need to be implemented
#4. How much the website development costs
#5. Final word

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Yuri Musienko
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