How to build an online auction application? Benefits, features, costs

October 6, 2023

When was the last time you went street shopping and bargained with the vendor to sell their products at a lower price? If you remember that experience, imagine bringing it on a digital platform in a more sophisticated way.

Websites and applications like Ebay, BidSpotter, and Auction.com, etc. have been making it easy for the users to place bids across different segments to get products at the best price. The presence and success of these auction platforms highlight the efficacy of building an online auction app across B2C and B2B sectors.

Adding these numbers to the many benefits that the online auction space offers make the domain a profitable segment for entrepreneurs.

Benefits of online auction app

Investing in online auction apps comes with a range of advantages which makes it beneficial for entrepreneurs to start their business in.

  • Wider reach – Online auction platforms make it easy for businesses to reach a global audience.
  • Long bidding window – Online bidding stays active for a long time, giving sellers a better chance to get bidders.
  • No logistical costs – Since the products are showcased online, there is no need to store products in a warehouse or go through the entire supply chain process.

Noting the unstoppable growth in the sector and immense benefits of online auction apps, a number of entrepreneurs, across the globe, are considering real-time auction app development as their next business venture. Now the first question that they typically ask when it comes to it is how much does online auction app development costs?

Let us reverse engineer the answer by looking into the top-down view of how much does online auction app development cost and how we reached those numbers.

How much does it cost to build an online auction application?

The range of a non-complex online auction app development cost can be anywhere between $30,000 to $45,000. When we say non-complex, we mean an application without any next-gen tech integrations like blockchain smart contracts or artificial intelligence services.

Scope of work Dedicated hours
Project understanding and environment setup 60 hours
UI/UX 300 hours
Frontend development 550 hours (per platform)
Backend development 253 hours
QA testing 146 hours
Project management 240 hours
Total hours 1549 hours for one platform

You might be wondering why we are giving an hour-wise breakdown when you need details on the amount. Well, the time to build an online auction app is multiplied by the average developer hours to arrive at the final cost range.

But how do we judge the developers’ efforts to develop an online auction app? The answer to this lies in multiple factors.

Features of online auction app

Features are the number one pivotal and cost-impacting factor when we create an online auction app. Let’s look at some MVP level features to understand the development efforts.

An important thing to note here is that the entire project of online auction apps development will be divided into three modules – seller, buyer, and admin.

Sellers-focused online auction mobile app development features

Listings creations

Online auction apps make it easy for the sellers to create a listing of the product they want to sell by entering in a number of details around:

  • Product name
  • Description
  • Category
  • Images

Along with these, they can also add in information on the auction format, its duration, preferred currency, product quantity, payment options, shipping details, and reserve price.

Dashboard

It is crucial for the sellers to know how their listed products are performing. Auction bidding apps make this easier by giving them a detailed dashboard. Through the dashboard, they can get a summarized and detailed view of product sales volume, income, ratings, traffic that came on their listings and then make the next business move.

Buyers-focused online auction application development features

Besides the usual sign-in and sign-up where users can perform the actions through their email, phone or social profiles, there are a number of other key features of online auction apps for the buyers.

Product search

An online auction application makes it easy for the users to look for products they wish to buy after putting in different filters like item condition, category, price, seller rating, buying format, and the shipping options.

Product page

This part of the online auction app makes it easy for the buyers to look at the products in detail. It consists of data like product images, name and description, condition, price, bidding information, shipping and delivery details, accepted payment modes, seller information, and returns structure. The details instill confidence in the buyers about their purchase.

Bidding process

Setting up rules for bidding is crucial for both buyers and sellers. But before you decide on a bidding process, you will have to choose from three auction models –

  • Buy it now – In this model, there is a fixed price and a bid price wherein the product gets sold to the highest bidder.
  • Proxy bidding – In this auction mobile app format software is used for bidding that contains data on maximum cost of lots. This bidding system then independently makes bids for the lots.
  • Reserve price – In the model, the lot goes out to the highest bidder which can either be equal to the price mentioned by the seller or it exceeds the price.

Irrespective of what model you choose, the moment the auction is over, the product gets sold and dispatched to the highest bidder.

Shopping cart

In many ways when you develop an online auction app it is equivalent to building an eCommerce app with some added features. Through the shopping cart feature, buyers are able to pick multiple items from different stores and then buy them in one go. On this note, it is important to add in settings like changing the product quantity and managing the in-cart items.

Payments integration

Integrating payment modules in the online auction app development works in two ways – A. Sellers set their preferred mode of payment in listings and B. Buyers make payment through their preferred mode. As a business you can also choose to have a functionality where you give fixed payment modules for the sellers and buyers to pick from.
Depending on the choice, you will have two options for integration – off-site integration where the user is redirected to the payment website or in-app API integration.

[Check complete details on the payment gateway integration process]

Ratings and reviews

The feature of online auction mobile app development helps with creating credibility in the system. The buyers can decide whether or not to buy from a seller depending on the seller’s past ratings and reviews, on the other hand, sellers can work on their processes based on the ratings they get.

In-app chat

There should be a function in the auction bidding app which gives buyers the ease to connect with sellers if they have a doubt about the product or need to know more about the bidding process.

Admin-focused auction mobile app features

Users management

This gives admin the power to modify – edit and delete – users’ profiles if the circumstances demand it.

Bidding management

The app admin should have the power to edit and delete the auction bids if they don’t comply with the regulations and rules of the bidding system.

Content management system

The online auction apps’ admin are able to manage the listings content in a way that they are able to edit or delete them if they are found to not follow the platform’s rules.

Progress tracking

Another thing an admin will need a control on when you build an online auction app is tracking their app’s progress in terms of traffic, number of transactions, products’ sales overview, etc.

Second to the features, the next factor which impacts the online auction app development cost is the number of platforms you want to launch your app in. Typically, entrepreneurs choose to launch their bidding solutions on mobile apps and websites. With the feature sets being the same, there are some different elements that get added when you create an online auction website. Here’s what they are and their cost range –

Factors Price
Domain $300-$600 per year for exclusive domain
Host $60 per year, if shared
$1200 per year, if individual
Design $6,000-$15,000
Development $50,000 to $200,000
Content $500-$1000 per month
SSL authorization $150- $1500,000 per year depending on guarantee
Add-ons $120-$180 per year

Online auction app design

Once you have finalized the features and the platforms, the next factor that comes up in answering how to create an online auction app is the UI/UX of the solution. The application should be easy for both beginners and frequent bidders to work in – a requirement easier said than achieved.

At Appinventiv, when we design an online auction app we step into the users’ shoes to see what would make them frequent, in addition to this, we run a thorough competitor analysis to identify the areas in which they lack and get a leg-up. This extensive design analysis and UI/UX comes at an addition to the costs to build an online auction app.

Also Read: How much does it cost to design a mobile app?

Technology integration

The last element that defines the online auction app development cost is the right technology integration. In case of a non-complex application, the tech stack which is used generally looks like this –

However, when you decide to add next-gen technologies like Blockchain, AI in the mix, everything from the tech stack to the costs to build an online auction app changes.

Let’s briefly touch upon how these technologies can make the auction ecosystem better.

AI in auction  – Artificial Intelligence should be used to automate the journey of bid management by notifying the sellers when they get the highest bid and automatically closing the auction when the level is achieved in the specified time.

Blockchain in auction – Through the capabilities of blockchain smart contracts, businesses are able to define the ownership of the item and bring the entire auction and withdrawal process on the blockchain, ensuring that the buyers whose bid didn’t go through are refunded and the one who won is sent the product in time.

Everything that we have covered until now – features, designs, and the technology stack, when merged together doesn’t just answer how much does it cost to build an auction app like Emirates Auction or something similar, but also shapes the online auction app development process that starts with brainstorming and app design, features and tech addition, to testing and launch.

How to build an online auction app?

Creating an online auction platform is a multi-stages process. Having a clarity on elements like user roles, features, and technology stack can help with starting the process on the right step. With that information established, let us get down to the process details.

Choose the auction type

Finalizing the auction type can help set up the application for success from day one. Here are the different options to try from –

  • English auction – The bid starts at fixed reserve price and it starts at ascending order after which the product is sold to the highest bidder.
  • Dutch auction – This auction type starts at a high price and gets progressively lowered as the bidding progresses. The first winner gets to pay for the goods at a high price and the other winners then pay for less.
  • Vickrey auction – In this auction model, goods are given to the highest bidder but they will need to pay the second-highest bidding price. For example, there are two bids – $10 and $30, the one who bids $30 will win but they will pay only $10.
  • Double auction – Here the buyer and seller both submit a price to an auctioneer who then chooses a price that would create the market. The seller with less asking price than one set by the auctioneer will be able to sell and the buyers who place their bid higher than the price can buy at the price set.
  • Sealed bid auction – The buyers only bid once and it gets sealed. Once the bidding is complete, the sealed bids get opened and based on the rules, the highest bidder wins.
  • Penny auction – This auction type is fixed at a minimum amount. The bidders can bid with fixed increments as many times as they like. When there are no bidders anymore, the auction time will run out and the last bidder becomes a winner.

UI/UX design

Once the auction type is fixed, the designers work on creating user journeys around the online auction app features. Every element, icon, click, and scroll is built to give users an intuitive, organic experience with minimal learnability curve.

The end product that is generated following this process is a prototype and wireframe which is then used by the developers to build the application on.

Backend and frontend development

Once the design system is ready, the frontend and backend development work starts. On the backend, the server and APIs are set up to make the platform scalable, secure, while on the frontend part, the focus is on making the app ready for an intuitive user movement in-app by working on all the design elements.

App testing

After the development is done and the codes are ready, the application gets into manual and automated testing stages. Here, the efficiency of the app is tested against security breaches, glitches, and bad user experience in a simulated environment. At Appinventiv, we take it one step ahead by following a strict user acceptance testing model where we work with real prospective users and ask them to give feedback on your application.

App launch

Once the app is tested, we move to the launch stage where the app is deployed on the platforms they are made for – mobile and web. Once the app is launched following the stores’ compliances, the app development company keeps a close eye on the feedback the application is getting to see the app adoption rate.

[Also Read: How to submit an application to the Play Store and the App Store?]

Where does Appinventiv fit in?

At Appinventiv, we answer the question of how to create an online auction app with a solution that is a merger of extensive market study and innovation.

In the online auction platforms we have worked on (both B2B and B2C), we have kept the foundation in line with eCommerce, since it is what the users resonate with the most, and have added scalability and innovation in it through design and smart features.

So what separates us as an eCommerce firm that operates like an on-demand app development company is the fact that we build an online auction app based on the target audience. The amount of research efforts that we put in behind your platform is what makes us reliable for both businesses and government-grade clients.

Witness the benefits of online auction apps at the back of our developmental efforts, today. Schedule a call!

THE AUTHOR
DIRECTOR & CO-FOUNDER
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