Auction eCommerce

The Power of Invoices on Auction eCommerce Websites

September 8, 2022  |  5 min read

While bidding can be an exciting time for both the buyer and seller, the seemingly boring point of invoicing comes next. Fortunately, many auction eCommerce platforms come with automated invoicing so that sellers don’t need to do much (if anything) to send it to the winning bidder. In most cases, invoices are generated and sent immediately, or they are generated and await minor decisions from the seller before they are sent.

Once the invoice is delivered, the next steps are in the hands of the winning bidder, aka the buyer. Let’s discuss the various ways that invoices work and the difficult complexities of auction invoices that can arise.

auction invoices

Buyers and Auction Invoices

After the eAuction itself, invoices represent the most time a buyer will spend with the listing. Because invoices can be complex, it’s important to focus on designs—and functions—that make them easy to use...while still having powerful features.

Sorting and Filtering Multiple Invoices

Buyers may be purchasing from multiple sellers, or purchasing multiple times from the same seller, within a short span of time. Because they will be dealing with multiple invoices (maybe even hundreds of invoices), it’s important that there are sorting and filtering options to help them find what they’re looking for.

  • Sorting – Buyers should be able to sort in any way they choose, such as by date created, due date, date modified, status (paid/unpaid), etc.
  • Filtering – Filtering is important in order to only show invoices that meet certain criteria and remove any invoices that might be visually confusing. Additional options can be added based on the industry you’re serving.
  • Searching – A buyer’s invoice page can have its own search function. This is helpful if a buyer wants to go directly to an invoice for a particular item they’re looking for.
filtering invoices
multiple invoices

Paying Multiple Invoices

If you’re working in the B2B eCommerce realm, your buyers will be busy people. No matter whether they’re buying one item, multiple items from one seller, or multiple items from multiple sellers, they’re going to want a fast, effortless way to pay multiple invoices at the same time. This must also happen among different auction types.

Your online auction platform also needs to be smart enough to know when multiple invoices can’t be paid at the same time. For example, a buyer could receive three invoices with three different accepted payment methods. Your website may be processing credit card funds for one, enabling escrow payments for another, and passing along the seller’s home office address information so that the buyer can send a physical check to a third. Invoice pages should be able to make it very clear how the buyer can move forward with each of these.

Details of Individual Invoices

Sorting, filtering, and paying for multiple invoices are features of the buyer’s invoice summary page. Now let’s look at the details page for each individual invoice.

Once again, design is vital to ensure that buyers can find what they’re looking for within just a few seconds of opening an invoice. It’s also important that they can quickly take action from that page, especially when it comes to contacting the buyer or paying the outstanding invoice.

Aspects of an individual detail page can include:

invoice details
  • Item summary, including the title of the item
  • Basic information such as bid history, seller, price paid, end time, and required pay-by date
  • Sales tax due
  • Tracking information
  • Visual indicators if an invoice is overdue, consequences of being overdue
  • Driving directions if the item is going to be picked up
  • Methods of payment accepted
  • Escrow information (if applicable)
  • Easy options to immediately pay
changes to auction invoicing

Changes to Invoicing

Invoices aren’t passive parts of your auction website; users should be able to take action from these pages, the most obvious being able to pay outright.

Other features of invoice pages include the ability to recalculate shipping dynamically. The seller might offer multiple shipping methods, or your site might offer dozens that buyers and sellers can work with. This function can also be turned off if the seller only agrees to ship via one particular carrier.

Sometimes these changes must be worked out between the buyer and the seller. For cases like this, it’s very important to offer a chat function so that both parties can discuss final actions. While most of these should have been negotiated before the auction ended, there will be some circumstances where decisions involving sellers and buyers must be addressed post-auction.

Designs and Functions

The largest companies often dictate what buyers expect from website interaction. While it’s far from perfect, the designs and functions that Amazon offers have become industry standards. The minimum you can do is be as good as them, and you should look for ways to be even better.

The workings of invoice pages can be inspired by your competition. Look at other eCommerce and auction platforms in your industry to see what they are doing. How easy are their invoices to use, and where could they improve? Doing so can put your auction website a step ahead.

auction invoice design and function

Working with Clarity

Invoice pages might at first seem like a straightforward, boring part of your website. In truth, they can be very dynamic, offering customers opportunities to make (allowed) changes to their orders and facilitating easier payment. Buyers are as important as sellers, so it’s vital you take the time to design invoice pages for easy use.

ECommerce auctions share many features with traditional eCommerce websites, but they’re different enough that you should find an experienced developer that has delivered proven auction sites and worked out many of the problems that are particular to these platforms. Clarity has extensive experience in the auction eCommerce realm, and we’re ready to share it with you. We have an eAuction YouTube playlist, and the website you’re on right now has dozens of articles about the subject.

We also offer a complimentary discovery process, a free consultation that goes above and beyond simple advice. We’ll create a plan for your online auction website, whether you’re looking for a new site or want to upgrade your current one. You can take this plan to another developer or use it with us; we’re happy to help in any way we can. Get in touch to get the process started!

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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.