Auction eCommerce

Complexities of Address Books in Online Auction Platforms

August 26, 2022  |  8 min read

Creating a page on which customers input their shipping information is not difficult. If that was the only task an address book page needed to do, implementing it would be incredibly simple.

In reality, that’s not all that the page needs to do for complex situations that come up on many online auction websites. The information on an address page can influence how the auction website works on a per-user basis, which means the complexity of it is ramped up. Proper implementation is vital to the success of the online auction platform.

When you’re looking for a developer to create—or upgrade—your eAuction platform, you need to make sure that they are familiar with how powerful the information on the address page can be. Otherwise, you won’t be getting everything you can out of your platform.

auction ecommerce address book

How Address Books Benefit Buyers

Address books play a vital part in making sure people bid on the correct items and that those items get to the right locations. Let’s take a look at some of the simple and complex aspects of address books you need to consider when you launch or upgrade your eCommerce auction website.

Billing vs Shipping

B2B eCommerce deals with an array of companies, many of which will have corporate offices that are separate from warehouses. It’s extremely important that these are differentiated and that the design of the website makes it very obvious where the billing is sent and where the purchased item is physically shipped to.

buying group split shipping
Adding and Changing Addresses

Adding and Changing Addresses

Much like a customer should be able to find items quickly and easily with search and filtering options, the ability to add or change addresses should also be very obvious. A customer should not have to spend more than a few moments finding the option that lets them change or add addresses, whether those are billing or shipping addresses.

Split Shipping

Customers should have the ability to split orders between multiple addresses. They might purchase 100 widgets and want 25 sent to four different warehouses. Such shipping can get very complex, which is why it’s important to have a robust API system that’s providing an array of real-time shipping rates.

The need for split shipping may also occur for franchisees. A home office might purchase items at auction and want them shipped to various locations so that every restaurant can have the same item.

auction ecommerce split shipping
API Shipping Quote Integration

API Shipping Quote Integration

Potential buyers might not want to bid if they don’t have a good idea of how much shipping is going to cost. When their address is verified, shipping integration via APIs can give them a much better idea of how much something is going to cost from their preferred carrier.

Address Verification

Address verification for buyers can be very important to ensure shipments get where they’re going on time. Mistakes happen; employees can put in the right street address but type in the ZIP code for their own house out of habit. The address book page can automatically identify these errors and suggest options to the buyer.

Address Verification
auction ecommerce tax lookups and logic

Tax Lookups and Tax Logic

Like shipping quotes, bidders can also know how much they’ll be paying in taxes before they bid. This is also vital for calculating the taxes the eAuction platform may be legally required to collect.

Maps and Limitations

Having accurate addresses for companies can also help them decide which auctions they want to bid on. For instance, an eAuction site that offers farming equipment may not offer shipping, and a bidder might not be interested in something if they have to travel more than 200 miles to pick it up. These parameters can be a part of the filtering system, allowing buyers to filter without having to enter their ZIP code every time.

auction map
address books

How Address Books Affect Sellers

While the need for gathering shipping addresses from buyers is obvious, ensuring the address is correct—and changeable—for sellers also plays a critical role.

  • Verifying Legitimacy – You don’t want to let just anyone sell on your site, because they could take the money and run without providing the buyers with the merchandise. APIs can be added to address books to verify the legitimacy of businesses so that you are only allowing established businesses on your site.
  • Sending Checks – Depending on how your online auction platform functions, you may be the middleman for payments or hold escrow funds before dispersing the buyer’s money. Many B2B businesses are still accustomed to getting checks (often to avoid virtual currency fees), so you may be the source of checks that need to be sent to verified addresses.
  • Providing Tax Forms – It’s important to give all users of your eAuction site access to closed reports so that they can self-serve and find the information they need for accounting and tax purposes. But it’s also likely that you will be legally required to send tax forms to sellers who reach a certain threshold.
  • Sellers May Also Be Buyers – A user who starts as a seller may eventually—or immediately—become a buyer as well, especially if your online auction website is industry-specific.

Make It Mobile

We talked about the importance of design for helping customers add and change addresses. This is true not only on desktop computers but also on mobile devices.

More business than ever is taking place on phones and tablets, so it’s increasingly important to ensure every aspect of your auction website, including your address book page, is mobile-friendly. You don’t want customers to have trouble navigating the shipping options associated with their address.

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Stephen Beer is a Content Writer at Clarity Ventures and has written about various tech industries for nearly a decade. He is determined to demystify HIPAA, integration, and eCommerce with easy-to-read, easy-to-understand articles to help businesses make the best decisions.