While a growing number of e-Commerce companies have gone digital, many businesses are still reluctant to introduce auction solutions into their IT landscape. They use shared platforms or even worse — Excel spreadsheets, which offer little safety or reliability. We’ve got years of e-Commerce expertise and a proprietary auction module for SAP Commerce Cloud, and we believe that a powerful auction solution provides incredible business benefits.
Through discussion of the leading e-Commerce platforms we live and breathe — SAP CX (ex. SAP Hybris), Sitecore Experience and Magento Commerce — we’ll explain how a well-thought-out auction solution can benefit your business.
Auction Software: The Turning Point for Business Success
In the face of strong competition, it’s difficult for any company to boast a steadfast increase in sales, and more often than not, businesses will end up with disappointing financials. When innovative sales and marketing techniques do not garner the expected result, companies should take a look at the other side of the issue — technology.
When Auction Software Makes Sense
For companies that already sell a considerable amount of their products or services through bidding, efficient tools can increase sales and prevent their numbers from heading south. Believe it or not, auctions can also help those companies that never sell this way — they can improve sales just by introducing bidding in their trade operations.
Online bidding software can benefit a company in the following cases.
- When planning the order for manufacturing, a business is never entirely sure if products will find a market.
- A company’s products already have a market, but it’s highly likely that the company can capitalize on them even more.
- There’s a large number of non-sellers at a company’s warehouse that lie unsold for too long. In addition to not generating profits, they require a substantial amount of money for warehousing and maintenance.
The Advantages of Online Auction Solutions
An e-Commerce platform used together with an auction solution creates a synergetic e-Commerce ecosystem that significantly improves business processes, eliminates silos and encourages better results.
In this scenario, a proper auction solution is like silent but talented salespeople: you never see them, but you cannot help admiring how productive they are and how much profit they generate.
With a well-thought-out auction software, a company eliminates the hustle, and its employees only need to take care of the business side — prices, sale conditions and product ranges. There’s no need to worry about the technical aspects of the process, as these are taken care of by the software. So, an online bidding tool provides a business with the following advantages:
- A company can start an auction when required because the module enables a quick introduction of the bidding platform.
- The whole process is transparent and clear, so a company gets a 360-degree overview of all participants, prices, lots and deals.
- Most processes are automated and well arranged, which reduces workflows and paper flow.
- Process automation eliminates the need for a large staff as just a few employees can prepare and hold auctions, thus cutting down operating costs.
What Online Auction Software Has Under the Hood
Almost any company or industry can take advantage of a digital auction solution — there are no limitations or specific recommendations for its use. However, its capabilities significantly vary depending on the vendor.
To get a general idea of the basic capabilities and functionality of e-auctions, let’s take a look at SaM Solutions Auction Module for SAP Commerce Cloud. Our module is an excellent representative of the solution, so let’s dive into its technical details for guidance.
The user-friendly interface allows admins to easily navigate across the menu, manage lots and auctions, view participants and get thorough analytics.
At the same time, auction participants don’t have to go through a complicated registration process or get bogged down with tons of forms and documents. The bidding process is intuitive and reminiscent of the purchase process in an online store. And to give a boost to the spirit of competition, all participants of a specific auction get real-time information on other participants’ stakes.
The following screenshots can give you a sense of the usual solution interface.
Image 1. The Lot Catalog
Image 2. The Bidding Process
Image 3. The Checkout
The Bidding Process
Companies can conduct auctions of any type or perform any operation, while bidding and checkout are completely comfortable for customers. Average auctions include the following steps:
- Document preparation: a seller creates lots and provides all relevant documents and information.
- Evaluation: a seller sets initial lot prices.
- Coordination: if required, a seller performs all required agreements with public authorities.
- Bidding preparation: a seller creates lots, and sets rules and sales terms.
- Notification: a seller uses an automated mailout to notify all auction participants about the auction.
- The bidding process: customers bid for lots.
- Bid closing: after the bidding process has been completed, participants buy out their lots.
The software automates steps 3–7. So, a business is responsible for commercial and legal matters, while the module is in charge of every single detail that can be automated.
Image 4. The Bidding Process
With the solution, a company can use items from its online stores as lots. Whether they use an existing product or service range or create lots specifically for the bidding, they are free to manage them at their discretion — edit, clone, filter or delete.
Customers can also easily navigate through lots and manage those that they decide to buy. To enhance lot management and search, the module provides the following facilitators:
- Easy navigation and filtration
- Advanced search
- Smart recommendations
- Information updating without page reload
Real-Life Examples of Auction Modules for e-Commerce Platforms
Now that you are convinced that you need a powerful auction solution, let’s see some examples of such software. We’ll explore auction solutions created for a platform that you already use or are considering using — SAP CX, Sitecore Experience Commerce and Magento Commerce.
This list is for information purposes and far from comprehensive. These platforms are also not meant to be a perfect fit — you should give considerable thought to your choice of bidding software.
Our research has shown that e-auction software for SAP CX is quite scarce, but it’s elaborate and versatile, and aimed at medium to large enterprises. Sitecore hasn’t come up with auction extensions yet, probably because their e-Commerce expertise is still quite young. As opposed to these enterprise-level solutions, the Magento Marketplace is rich in auction add-ons. However, these are simple and affordable, so small stores can use them.
For companies that consider vendor-specific solutions insufficient, we provide an example of a highly rated stand-alone auction website builder. And keep in mind that custom development is always an option, although quite a costly one.
So, let’s dive in!
SaM Solutions Auction Module for SAP Commerce Cloud
What we know from our experience is that many businesses don’t perform at their maximum capacity because they fail to properly streamline processes. This inspired us to create a module that companies can easily introduce into their e-Commerce landscape to improve their online commerce operations — SaM Solutions Auction Module for SAP Commerce Cloud (former SAP Hybris Commerce).
The module is based on the SAP B2B Accelerator, which means it facilitates data exchange and is an integral part of the whole ecosystem. In developing it, we took into consideration the best practices of online bidding systems and focused on companies’ key requirements for auction marketplaces.
SAP has certified our digital auctioneer as an SAP Qualified Partner-Packaged Solution.
The module covers all technical aspects of the auctioning process — from bidding preparation to closing — which eliminates the need for businesses to deal with those technical aspects.
So, what’s under the hood? The following features and capabilities:
- English auctions (ascending price biddings that start at a minimal price)
- Dutch auctions (descending price biddings where prices fall as bidders compete)
- Multilingualism, whereby a company can localize its solution and translate it into various languages
- User role management, which provides security and proper information handling
- Full-fledged participant user accounts, which keep information on bidding history, provide access to auction dashboards and won lots, and allow for auction tracking
- Automated notifications sent out to auction participants
- Protection against accidental stakes
- Comprehensive statistics and analytics of closed, running and planned auctions
For an understanding of how the SaM Solutions Auction Module for SAP Commerce Cloud works, see the following video:
Auctions for SAP Ariba Sourcing
To help their customers find the best suppliers and products and streamline sourcing, SAP created the Auctions module for easy e-biddings. The solution is based on and is purposed for SAP Ariba, a leader in the Forrester Wave’s Source-To-Contract Suite category.
The module supports both RFx (“request for”) events and competitive biddings, which helps companies make faster and smarter decisions on all sourcing matters and provide compliance.
The module has the following functionality:
- Predefined reverse, forward and Dutch auction types
- Easy customizing to individual requirements
- Template-enabled auction creation
- Real-time event monitoring through the Auction Monitor
- Online interaction with suppliers
- Dynamic dashboards and full bid reports for holistic information about closed, running and scheduled events
- Automatic and manual awarding of line items
- 20,000 spend categories
- Support for 19 languages and 220+ currencies
- Formula-based ownership cost calculation
Magento 2 Marketplace Seller Auction by Webkul
To drive sales, store owners can also initiate online biddings with Webkul’s Marketplace Seller Auction for Magento 2. To use this add-on, companies first need to install the Magento 2 Marketplace module.
The add-on has the following functionality:
- Incremental, automatic and reserve price auctions
- No support for configurable products
- Seller-specific option configuration
- Automatic notifications about outbidding
- Email notifications
- Event scheduling
- Multi-store compatibility
- Multiple languages
Magento 2 Auction Extension by Landofcoder
Another auction add-on for Magento Commerce, the Landofcoder solution is quite similar to Webkul’s in its capabilities and feature set. It has the following functionality:
- Automatic, standard, incremental and reserve price auctions
- Support for all product types — virtual, simple, downloadable and configurable
- Easy customization of product features and auction rules
- Event scheduling
- Automated mailout to event participants
- Purchases based on the set price
- Multiple languages
- Outbid notification messages
- Search engine optimization
Easy.Auction Website Builder by Eastern Unity
A highly rated ready-to-use auction website builder, Easy.Auction was created by Eastern Unity — a company with more than 20 years of niche experience in the industry.
With Easy.Auction, a company can create a website to host its auctions, using a new or existing domain name. Deployed in the cloud, this solution provides flexibility and versatile functionality. However, unlike a module that is based on an enterprise-level platform, an auction website doesn’t provide seamless integration, company-specific feature customization and ultimate security.
Easy.Auction’s features are:
- Silent auction
- Online reverse auction
- Multiple- and single-seller modes
- Absentee and online bidding
- A variety of themes and back-end options
- The support of all currencies
- Automatic mailout
- Anti-sniping tool
- Search engine optimization
Boost Sales with Online Auctions
Unremarkable sales performance can be devastating for a business, and everyone will tackle this challenge in their own way. Quite frequently, we can make things better simply by optimizing operations. In such cases, efficient auction software can be an easy solution.
If you’d like to learn more about our module for SAP Commerce Cloud including its capabilities and use cases, have a look at the demo, or get any other information that you require, contact us.