Auction eCommerce

Key Features for B2B Auction Sites

Updated   |  5 min read
Key Takeaways
  • Business-to-business are online marketplaces where companies can buy and sell goods and services through a bidding process.
  • B2B auctions provide companies with access to a wide network of potential buyers and sellers, creating a competitive environment where buyers bid against each other for specific items or services. Buyers may be retailers or resellers themselves.
  • The real-time bidding feature allows businesses to make informed decisions quickly, while customizable auction parameters provide flexibility to fit specific company needs.
  • Transparency and trust are also key features, with detailed information about the item or service being sold, as well as the bidding process, helping to build trust between parties and foster long-term company relationships.

Basics of Business-to-Business Auction Websites

Business-to-business auctions have specific needs and requirements that differ from those of typical retailers. There are also differences between B2C (business-to-consumer) and B2G (business-to-government) and other types.

Keep reading to find out more about the capabilities your B2B auction software needs to be successful.

Key Features for Business Auction Platforms

There are several fundamental features and functions for auction platforms. Each is vital to the success of the auction site. Let's go over each one to get an understanding of what is needed for your auction website.

Purchases & Minimum Bids in B2B Auctions

A core feature of B2B auctions is the ability to offer the item to buyers at an appropriate price. Suppliers need to be able to put a minimum bid in place so that there isn't a monetary loss on the sale of the item.

B2B auction website purchasing with government institutions.

Notifications for B2B Auctions

Keeping bidders engaged is a vital aspect of an auction site. Therefore, being able to have notifications related to the auction is another core feature auction websites ought to have.

Without the notifications, and specifically without key notifications like if an item isn't getting any bids, or if something is generating traffic to another item, it is tough for the seller to adjust or get bids to be more successful.

As a user, purchaser, or someone who is bidding on a particular item, it's also important that they be able to see that it hasn't already been sold, and what the status is, such as whether they've been outbid.

The best online auction software will have the ability to have a watch list and get a notification when the item is listed, when it's at a certain bid, and if there's a certain amount of time left. Maybe someone wants to go bid whenever the amount of time left is really low and the value of the current bid is a certain value, to try to get a better deal.

Highest bidder winning surplus equipment.

Automated Bidding

eAuction software should be capable of setting up auto-bids, or automatic bidding actions, with the right logic so that the user can adjust it to a certain limit. This creates ease of use, which is important for retaining users on your platform.

Search and Filter Capabilities

It's also very helpful to have the ability to search and filter and look at detailed data on items and be able to compare and contrast them.

Ratings and Reviews of Sellers

Looking at ratings and reviews of the seller helps determine how viable of a seller they are. You can also see if those ratings and reviews have been independently verified. This helps auction bidders find trustworthy sellers, so they have a better experience on your eAuction platform.

Auction Challenges & Solutions for B2B

There are also some common challenges for online these auctions, so we've developed solutions to help you address these.

Product Fulfillment and Shipping Options for B2B Auctions

A challenge for B2B is often the fulfillment of items. Depending on what type of item it is, and it could be a fairly complex or expensive item, there may be intermediate steps that are necessary.

For example, if it's a house, it may be necessary to have extra steps, such as an inspection process or other standard processes. There may still need to be the ability to have some negotiating time period and closing process. Even though there's bidding going on, it depends on the nature of the auction process. Similarly, with a really expensive piece of jewelry, it may be necessary to get it certified or appraised.

On the fulfillment side of things, it can be really interesting to fill large pieces of surplus equipment, for example, because the shipping might vary.

We also need to incorporate language into the auction website, so that the purchaser understands the shipping options and cost will vary based on their selection. The online auction website isn't taking ownership of the shipping costs portion but can help facilitate that.

Clarity can certainly help coordinate with the company on what their processes are and establish a workflow that makes sense for companies and their customers. They'd be able to see standard options, for example, if they need intermodal shipping.

Government institutions reduce purchasing costs with surplus equipment.

If retailers need large freight shipments, we can help with the logistical coordination, or they can select their own logistics solution. In doing the latter, suppliers would need to get information about what to send and how to send it, as well as estimates and quotes on those things from their logistics provider. It's also fairly common for businesses to deal with customs and duties in international shipping, so there needs to be a process to deal with that.

Being able to deal with these things from a feature perspective tends to help up front. We can tell the potential buyer that the country they have listed will probably result in paying customs and duties, or their freight is probably going to be relatively expensive, for example. Customer returns—and product conditions that can changes during shipping—can be another problem, especially considering the considerable freight charges.

B2B Auctions Verification Process

From a feature-capability perspective, the auction platform needs to be able to seamlessly handle situations where businesses sell items that are very expensive or very detailed (as far as the purchasing process goes, at least). This could be anything from real estate to farming equipment to jewelry to art.

The custom auction website should also include identity verification features and validation that the user actually has the resources available to make the purchase. Companies can perform credit verification or verification for anything that is necessary for certain purchases. This could be for an individual, or for a business that's making the purchase.

Current bid on surplus equipment in company auctions.

Auction Website Goals and Other Important Features

The goal behind the site is to build community and usage, bringing in companies that are both buyers and sellers. We want those who buy and sell to be very happy and very clear on what to expect and what the actual outcome is going to be whenever they are interacting with sellers on the site. Other important features include:

  • Interactions between buyers: Such as being able to look at what bids other potential purchasers are making.
  • Inventory count: If there is a limitation on inventory.
  • A shipping timeline or lead time: So that the customer and the business can track the order.
  • Search functionality: Easily search and filter items to find specific products, prices, and bid states so the user doesn't have to find a needle in a haystack.
  • The ability to make an offer versus having a bid: So you can have the option to make an offer on something, and there's a buy-it-now price, but you can make an offer and then the seller might capitulate and take the offer, as opposed to it being a limited time option.
  • See savings and discounts: Savings should be automatically calculated for the end user so they can easily view discounts to the price.
  • Sales tax calculation: Proper calculation of B2B sales tax from state to state, country to country, etc.
  • Evidence of a validation process: The user should be able to see how the process is completed, and any certifications the seller has gone through for fulfilling an item and meeting certain quality requirements. Ratings can be broken down into categories such as:
  • Was the item as described?
  • How was the interaction with the seller for previous purchases?
  • What was the actual lead time for fulfillment / How fast did the item arrive after purchasing it?
  • Were the charges fair for the shipping or logistics? Or was it extremely overpriced?
  • Was there equipment used that needs to be certified?
Current bid on surplus equipment.

Those are all crucial areas that users would like to know about when they make a purchase or a bid on an eCommerce auction platform. Having these capabilities in your eCommerce auction software is advantageous for B2B because they enable the business or customer to have the functionalities they need and want for a seamless interface.

This enhances the user experience of the auction sites. In turn, increases customer satisfaction, the likelihood that folks will return to the site, and revenue for the business or owner of the site.


Clarity Can Help Your Auction Site

Clarity's experts can make sure that your auction eCommerce software has all the features it needs to remain competitive and grow your business. Your platform's features are what customers look for when choosing an auction eCommerce site to interact with.

Clarity's eCommerce platform can be customized for your business's needs, including auctions and marketplaces. We offer a no-pressure, complimentary discovery process, as well as a free demo, so talk to an expert today to learn more about what Clarity can do for you.

B2B auction developer getting great deals from B-Stock liquidation auctions



Online auctions for business-to-business are auctions that occur between businesses, meaning that businesses auction items and other businesses bid on those items. Online B2B auctions are web-based, so they take place over an auction platform or auction site.


A business-to-business auction website is an auction site or online platform that facilitates and enables the online auctioning and bidding processes that make up web-based auctions. Without a business auction website, businesses cannot engage in auctions online. B2B e-Commerce auction platforms are necessary because of the large quantities of items being sold in bulk, which often require special paperwork and shipping options.


Being able to conduct auctions online is crucial for many B2B e-Commerce companies because only having in-person auctions severely limits the amount and types of auctions they can have. Online auctions for B2B expand businesses' reach and allow them to interact on a much wider scale, which is essential for business growth and development as they remain competitive in the market.

B2B e-Commerce companies often require specialized auction platforms because of the large quantities they're selling or the size of the equipment being sold. Shipping is of particular importance. With small items, B2B companies almost always sell in bulk—perhaps getting rid of excess inventory—and will require specialized shipping tools. For large items (such as vehicles) there will also be additional paperwork involved that can be helped by the auction e-Commerce platform.


B2B bidders are often wholesalers, brokers, and retailers. The more well-known retailers are large corporations, such as Walmart. Other businesses such as manufacturers and suppliers may also partake in business auctions. B2B buyers can also be buying groups, which consist of several small businesses who band together to buy as a group. This gives them more purchasing power—similar to that of a large corporation or top retailers—and enables them to get great deals from the auction site.

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Autumn Spriggle is a Content Writer at Clarity Ventures who stays up to date on the latest trends in eCommerce, software development, and related topics to provide readers with the latest and greatest. She strives to help people like you realize the full potential for their eCommerce business.