Did you know that eBay has over 182 million active users in the US, making it the most popular online marketplace after Amazon? eBay’s popularity is due in part to some of its technical features, which we’ll discuss later in this article.
If you’re considering developing your own online marketplace like eBay, you’ve come to the right place. This article explains how to create a multi-vendor e-commerce platform similar to eBay.
Alternatively, if you’d like to try your hand at building a video-sharing network like YouTube, check our extensive guide.
What Is eBay?
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of developing a website like eBay, let’s take a moment to understand what the platform is and what it does. eBay is a multi-vendor online auction platform that allows multiple vendors to sell products.
eBay enables sellers to offer products online at a fixed price or via auctions. Users bid on products over a specified period, and the products are sold to the highest bidder.
This auction-based model creates an effective way for sellers to earn an income. While auctions can be risky because products sometimes sell at a lower price, they might close at a higher price than initially estimated.
Multi-vendor marketplaces offer buyers one-stop shopping. Rather than searching the internet for products from different vendors, they can find everything in one place. This convenience is a significant sales driver that can help increase income from your marketplace website.
Features of eBay
eBay is full of sophisticated features that contribute to its popularity. Here are just a few to consider before developing an auction website.
eBay users are able to bid on certain product listings, which often allows them to purchase products below market value—especially on niche items with little interest from other consumers. It also makes eBay an excellent place to buy antiques, which would otherwise only be found in real-world auction houses.
The platform’s bidding features enable users to purchase items at excellent prices and gives them a reason to return to the site. Users must stay up to date on their bidding status so they don’t get outbid. This is especially important when you consider that the average user visits an ecommerce site five times before making a purchase.
eBay sellers have access to an intuitive trading portal that allows them to create detailed product listings and analyze sales stats. This portal simplifies the trading process compared to other ecommerce sites.
This easily accessible seller portal removes the red tape from online sales, making eBay a popular choice for merchants—and it’s 2% cheaper to sell on eBay vs. its closest competitor, Amazon. This may sound like a small amount but it all adds up, especially when selling lower-priced products.
Advanced Product Filtering
The eBay online platform allows users to filter search queries by various parameters, including auctions and fixed-price sales. This gives users an extra sense of control over the marketplace, enabling them to easily find the products they want to buy.
Though it’s a relatively simple feature, advanced product filtering improves the overall user experience (UX). Excellent UX is essential to creating a successful website like eBay—especially when, 70% of online businesses fail due to poor usability.
How to Make a Website Like eBay
Now that you understand what eBay is and some of its most popular features, it’s time to start building your own online marketplace!
Select a Niche and Audience
The first step in the process is to select a niche for your marketplace. This can be anything from books to clothes to electronics. Once you’ve chosen a niche, determine what product categories will be included on your site. Selecting a niche goes hand-in-hand with defining your audience.
For example, if your primary audience is men ages 18–25, choosing to sell girls’ clothes would be a poor decision. It’s imperative to select a product niche that fits your intended demographic and vice-versa.
If you’re at a loss for what to sell, research your demographic’s main interests. The easiest way to do this is by looking at social media trends and hashtags, or by conducting keyword research. Understanding what products your target audience is searching for will indicate what you should sell.
Design and Conceptualize Features
Once you’ve determined your niche and audience, you should begin conceptualizing functionality. The features you decide to include must be relevant to your target audience. For example, if you’re opening a musical instrument store, you might include options to filter by instrument family.
There are many tools available to help you design and conceptualize functionality. At Idea Maker, we use a combination of Figma for design and Mockflow for web development function conceptualization. Together, these applications enable us to clearly understand how our developments will look and function.
Create a Seller Policy
Creating a seller policy that defines what merchants can and can’t sell on your platform is an essential part of multi-vendor ecommerce websites. For example, on a pet-related trading platform, you probably wouldn’t want sellers attempting to sell live animals. Though a somewhat extreme example, something like this is not beyond the realm of possibility.
Of course, a seller policy won’t anticipate and solve all of your issues when it comes to merchants trading inappropriate items. However, it can provide a level of legal protection if any major issues should arise.
Hire Expert Developers
If you lack the technical knowledge to build a website like eBay from scratch, you may wish to hire an expert development agency. In this case, there are several factors to consider before doing so.
When hiring someone to build an eBay-like website, it’s important to check out their portfolio to see examples of past work. The quality of the agency’s previous work, as well as their technical competencies, should be evident in their portfolio. Researching their portfolio allows you to assess the quality and results of their previous work to see if it’s up to scratch.
Clearly Define Development Procedures
A reputable web development firm will provide you with a thorough web development procedure to look through. This method will walk you through the ins and outs of creating an ecommerce platform, as well as where your input is required. If a company lacks a defined process, it reflects a lack of experience and poor communication skills.
Define Post-Release Support Options
After the development process, all websites undoubtedly encounter bugs. Consequently, you must ensure that you employ a firm with solid post-release support options. Otherwise, you run the risk of your multi-vendor marketplace becoming ineffective and unusable.
Not all development firms offer post-development assistance, as claimed. Examine the quality of their previous projects to see if they deliver on their promised post-development support options. Their services are likely genuine if their previous websites are still functioning correctly.
Collect User Feedback
It’s important to pay attention to how active users use your online auction website. You should also solicit comments by contacting users directly through email or by inviting them to fill out surveys while using your website. Before collecting feedback, it’s a good idea to establish a significant sample size that represents the broader user base.
After you’ve collected feedback, have your development team make the necessary improvements to your ecommerce platform. Users will be grateful for the improvements, stay engaged, and have a good experience with the platform.
Enhance and Maintain the Website
After you’ve customized your ecommerce website to meet the demands of your user base, it’s important to keep up the good work! You should continue to collaborate with your selected development firm to discover and repair functionality problems. Quickly resolving issues will ensure that your platform is pleasant for end users.
After development, ensure that your photo-sharing app is optimized. In terms of SEO scores and SERP ranks, ensuring that your application is appropriately optimized can increase its discoverability. Search engine discoverability is influenced by various factors, including speed optimization—which is often overlooked.
Build a Multi-Vendor Ecommerce Website with Idea Maker
If you’re looking to develop an online store like eBay, but lack the required technical expertise, consider Idea Maker. We have a team of dedicated professional developers ready to build an ecommerce website to your specifications. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.