Hello readers! If you are finding yourself in the need of creating an auction website, then you are in the right place. After we have seen the general way to launch an auction website, in this article we will try our best to explain how to build an auction website like eBay. We are trying to cover the cheap and the expensive way too , so you can have multiple options to choose from. If you want to have a site for auction like ebay, this is the article to read. We will try to make some light and show you what are the options to have auction sites like ebay.
First, what is an auction website?
If you do not know what an auction website is, then you must know, that an auction website, is a specialised website that is very similar to a marketplace website. People post items for sale, and other people buy them directly (with a buy now price or add to cart) or engage in a bidding war. And the items they post can be professional items, vintage items, handmade items, hardware or any item in fact. Whoever bids the last, wins the goods. They are engaging in a bid competition, and whoever puts the highest bid , wins the auction.
Of course, this is the most common and most spread auction type that is and its the same on eBay as well. Giving that fact, eBay can be considered a multi seller marketplace website. But there are other auction types too: lowest unique bid auction, dutch auction, penny auction and so on.
Where can I actually start building an auction website ?
If you have no prior knowledge about the IT sector or do not know how things work with websites, do not worry. The best entrepreneurs are IT illiterate, so you just go to people that know about websites. Like you reading this article. Anyway, to get started you will need some hosting space and a domain name. And at the very fist stage of your project, you should start small. Because you want to keep the costs down. Specially spend money on the development side. And that is the auction software creation side and the marketing side. We want to spend as little as possible on other things. Of course, the hosting space, doesnt have to be garbage. We want something decent.
So the first thing is to go and get some decent hosting. And we advise to get something that costs at least more than 15-20$ a month. So, a VPS server would be the best fit, or even some cloud hosting. Get that, and while there, most hosting companies offer domain in the host package. After that, start doing some cheap branding, like a landing page and some logos. At least placeholders just to get an idea of what you like and what you don’t.
How do online auction websites like eBay, make money ?
There are several revenue models for an online auction website. You can read a more detailed article about monetisation options. For example eBay earns their money by implementing seller and buyer fees in the following several ways:
Listing fee for the seller – sellers pay a listing fee each time they post an auction or an item for sale. There is also a possibility to charge a featured listing fee , so your item will appear at the top of the searches. The site can also charge a fee to show the item on the landing page. That is a common feature on many classified and online auction websites.
Category Fees – sellers pay a different tier of fees based on the product categories they post in. For example you can charge a smaller fee for some item that is cheaper and a higher fee for an item that costs more (like a computer). Also here you can charge a flat fee or a percent fee.
Commission fees – This is for the seller side as well, where you charge a fee out of the sale price. This can be as well flat fee, or a percent based fee.
How to build an online auction website ?
Before reading this next part, you have to think and understand that not all online auction websites are the same. There are different features that can be active on different auction websites. As you will see below there are a few different auction website types. This would be similar to an online auction website builder. Also before you dig into the mini list, you can read about the 5 best practices when building an auction site.
Step 1: Figure out what kind of auction type do you need ?
There are different auction types on which an online auction website can rely on. We present you the most important and most common online auction types of sites below:
Dutch auction – where the start bidding price starts at a big over valuate price and it progressively gets lowered as the bidding goes. The first winner will take the product and will pay at the highest price, and the next winners will be paying less.
Sealed bid auction – Here the bidders can bid only once, and the bids get sealed, meaning nobody will know each others bid. In the end the person that bids the most, will get to win the goods.
Traditional Auction – eBay has the regular traditional type of auction, where the price increases as the biding process goes on. Whoever bids last, wins the goods.
Reverse Auction – where the seller and buyer roles are reversed, basically the winner will be the person that bid less than anybody else. So means the winner will be paid the smallest out of all bidders. Find out what is a reverse auction.
Step 2: Define the user role types ?
Your website will be having real people signup on it, and each user will have his own role, weather they list products for auction or for sale, or just buy them. We can differentiate the following roles:
Seller – Posts products for sale, posts items for auction, ships the product after selling it. Has a dashboard with all his sales, statistics, finances, and exchanges messages with the buyers.
Buyer – Bids for online auctions, buys products, pays for the products. He has a dashboard where he can exchange messages with the sellers.
Administrator – Controls everything in the website, manages orders, manages other users.
Step 3: Figure out the features needed in your online auction website ?
As we discussed earlier, the set of features in your online auction website, is variable and should adjust based on the type of auction, and the niche you are pursuing. We present below the most common features that an online auction website will have:
Posting a listing page – Products or goods need to be posted through a form in your website. You must collect the title, description, category, pictures, starting price and many other important details from the seller. Once everything is created, you can list the item live on your website for others to bid. Here also you can control the listing time, and start date, if its scheduled or live.
Seller Dashboard – the auction website will have a seller dashboard, where the sellers can see their current listed products for auction. In the same place they can see the bids in real time, see their finances, what they have sold. Also they exchange messages with the buyers and administration users. They can also control reviews and membership subscription if your website will have that.
Product Search – a good auction website should have a product search page, where the users of the website will be able to search based on category, price, ending time. Basically these filter will help the buyers choose the product they want much more easily. The other filters can be: price range, category, shipping area, item condition and so many others.
User Profile – During user registration, the buyer and sellers are required to fill in their personal and public information, like the shop name, their shop address, first name , last name, shipping and billing address and others. Each seller has a profile or a shop page, where we can see their posted items, more important their previous reviews from other buyers.
Auction site Tools – The site will have to have a lot of tools, like buying and selling tools for your buyers and sellers. They could sell all kinds of items like handmade items, professional items, hardware, vintage items. They can also set fixed prices, selling fees, transaction fees and even free shipping. If you want to create a website similar to ebay, you have to create an alternative to ebay. Like any online marketplace website. And you can also charge the users a membership fee like a monthly fee or something like that.
Step 4: Choose your tech stack for your online auction website ?
At this point the most crucial thing is to determine what type of tech stack you will use to build your online auction website. You have two main choices: either go for a prebuilt cheaper solution or go for a totally custom website. Each of these two choices have advantages and disadvantages. Although we can implement both types of solutions, we are happy to provide consultation for whatever approach you choose. We recommend to start with wordpress path to reduce costs and effective time to go live. Giving that, we detail below the two approaches from the time and cost perspective.
Step 5: Begin development process of the site
Development of auction websites can be a tedious and lengthy process. Because the functionality of such website is complex, you have to hire a good team of developers to get this done in time. And not only in decent amount of time, but with proper working state of the auction app. Because when developing you have multiple stages that include: client-side scripting, security installation, networking issues and debug, hosting maintenance. And most likely you will opt in for custom development by a team of experts or freelance web designers. The cost range can be between $5,000 – 50,000$ when doing an auction app or site.
How can I build an auction website like eBay ?
You have a few methods or ways to do this because there are a lot of tools there to get started. First is a hosted tool like Wix or similar, but we do not recommend that for any somewhat serious projects because that way. This is because the company that providers you the software, basically will own your database and everything. And the upgrade path will be almost impossible, unless they will help you with that.
The way we prefer to build our auction website, is where you have your own server (just like eBay or any other big marketplace website) and you have your own software. Basically you will own everything in the site, and nobody else besides you, will have access to your database, customers, files.
Start with WordPress
When starting an auction website or any kind of new business, you would want to go cheaper at first. Giving that fact, WordPress is a cheaper way to start, rather than having everything done from scratch. So when building a website like eBay, you would want to start cheaper, and the solution is to try with WordPress.
And we do offer a complete wordpress auction theme, which can start you from nothing to a complete mvp solution for your auction website. Find out more about our auction theme and pricing here. The auction theme is just like an online auction website builder. This is a true ebay auction script. And much better than traditional auction scripts.
So, how much does it cost ?
Our theme prices start from $99 USD, and could get close to 6 grand if you get the mobile app too, which by the way, we do that as well. We do native iOS and Android apps for all our themes, or even custom apps. Although this option costs some money, is better than having a free auction script, which comes with 0 support.
Do not hesitate to contact us for a quote. To get started and be sure it will be a success, we recommend you to start with the $99 yearly version, because it includes everything you need to start off completely. Also we think this is better than shopify auctions or wix auctions.
> See complete list of pricing for the auction theme <
Start with a standalone or from scratch auction script
Another way of starting, would be to hire a freelancer or an agency to build up your auction website from scratch. Usually these agencies or freelancers use an auction script which is a bit more sophisticated. This approach also needs more work and specialised programming than wordpress. The “from scratch” methods include PHP, Laravel, Reactjs, Python, Node as backend, Vue for front end and so on. We also offer services to do websites from scratch, so if you want to have something bigger realised, do not hesitate to ask us for a free price quote.
Want a live auction website ?
If yes, then the live auction website template we have is the perfect solution for you. Of course you still have to do some custom coding. And we provide great web development agency services. Do not hesitate to contact us for a free price quote for a live auction website template. And yes this is the ultimate wordpress auction plugin and theme.
How much does a custom solution cost ?
A custom solution made from scratch, would cost for sure more than a wordpress based system. That is why is better to start with the wordpress auction theme. Still if you desire to have a more robust website (like handle over 1 million customers) from the start, then sure, you can do a custom site too. The cost for this would start somewhere from 5k$ up to even 100k$. If you want a price quote for a custom website or an app, then contact us. And this is how you can build ebay like auction sites, just using a proper wp auction theme.
Choose the right payment processors ?
When building an auction website, for sure you will need an online payment processor. Because processing credit cards is the main concern when it comes to auction websites. And processing credit cards you have multiple choices: stripe , authorize.net, 2checkout, ccbill and many others. These options come with different processing fees and they depend a lot on the country you are in, but also in the country where your customers are. Also different countries have different tax laws, like the ones in europe have VAT system, and the ones in Asia have GST (Australia, India, New Zealand).
Choosing the perfect add-ons or plugins
When you want to turn your website into an auction one, you will need several other features. These extra things are referred usually as add-ons. The further will make your website more enjoyable by the customers. And also this enhances the overall functionality of your website. But this is better than a wix auction plugin.
When you want to open an online shopping website, you will require some e-commerce add-on. This will let your users do things like “add to cart” , “comment” , pay online, subscribe, and even comment to your posts. Demand and supply is very important when choosing the right add-ons for your site.
Other Features include:
- Shopping services;
- Private messaging feature
- Messaging platform;
- Comments feature;
- Mailchimp email tool;
- Analytical tools;
- Social media blocks;
- Advertising support, etc.
- Verification of the bidder as well as the seller;
- Statistical data for admin
This is a small guide on how to create an auction site like ebay. Basically a way for you to build the next ebay alternative. If after reading this entire article you still have doubts about building the ultimate auction website, you need to contact us and ask us more questions. We can build the site for you, and build a website like eBay using our amazing auction platform software. You do not need shopify or wix or other platforms, as those are not for this. And you can request assistance or customer service from our development team for installation and setup. Because we also support long term customer relationships, we can help you maintain the site long term.
If you are looking for the easiest way to create an auction website, a website similar to ebay, you should try the auction theme for wordpress. Or maybe even if you want to have a multi vendor website, you can do the same with auction theme. And if you want a less detailed guide, check this mini guide on how to create an auction site.
Need a good web developer ?
Get in touch with our team of web specialists and web programmers. We answer fast!
We really like to have custom built sites, so if you want a more complex site for your auction idea, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are mostly online via the live chat anyway. But in any case you can still use the contact form.