The business of online auctions is attracting startups not for nothing. One of the greatest of them, eBay, has more than 167 million active users, each of whom spends more than 150 minutes every month on using the application (). In 2016, a record amount of goods posted on the site at the same time has reached 1 billion. All these figures clearly show that such a business is very effective, but the fact that 56% of the profit comes from outside the US demonstrates that other countries are actively opening up to a new product. It is quite logical that the question of how to make a multi vendor app that will be no less promising and highly profitable than eBay or Poshmark comes to mind of many people.

Despite the high income of large platforms for online auctions, there is little point in competing with such giants (if your idea does not have a unique function capable of surpassing them). Anyway, in this article, we will discuss how to make an app like Poshmark and start making money on sales by auction.

The Most Famous Multi Vendor App Examples

To see how this business usually works, let’s overview some great examples.

online auction app development


It’s difficult to find a person that does not know eBay. It is the largest and the most famous online auction in the world. It provides a selling platform worldwide, expanding from auction-only sales into a full-fledged e-commerce platform. Here, the ways of selling and shopping are combined with the numerous online money transfers offered. Its monetization strategy lies upon charging sellers for listing and selling items, with free access for buyers.

However, not all the auction apps are so multiproduct and use the same monetization strategy. To see how niche auction apps work, look at the next buy and sell fashion app development gems.


This is a reselling app, that made lots of buzz thanks to its reselling social events. Usually, it is used for selling clothes and fashion accessories, including luxury brands collections, which requires the authentication of goods. The platform is gaining money by enabling commission fees for sellers.


One more app for selling clothes right from your wardrobe, Tradesy, has gained traction due to its image cleanup feature, which makes it possible to highlight an item in all its glory. Also, it involves an inner currency, Tradesy Cash, that can be used to purchase the other items from the platform or to be withdrawn to PayPal or a bank account for a 2.9% fee.


Unlike the other resale apps listed above, Mercari takes zero commission from sales and gives more opportunities for selling items for men. Though, the absence of item authentication does not exclude the ability to buy counterfeit goods instead of quality brands.

How to Make an App Like Poshmark?

Find your niche

Each good product starts from the market analysis before the mobile development. There is not much point in trying to invent one more eBay, so it is up to you to find some relatively new niche and occupy it. You may focus on a particular country or on a certain kind of goods, for example. There are enough ways to make your idea financially sustainable. When the niche is chosen, think of a business model or monetization techniques that are compliant with a particular audience. To conduct a sustainable analysis of the market one can ask professional marketers, business analysts, and project managers, or try to do it oneself if there are enough time and resources.

Possible problems and weaknesses

The initial phase of such a business can involve some difficulties, and there is a need to think over how to fight with their negative influences. Here you should be aware of:

• problems with delivery

• security challenges

• fake products and cheating

• weak initial engagement

• tax laws struggles

• global competition with the other apps

However, there are also many attractive moments, such as wide exposure to clients worldwide and opportunities for marketing the business adding some interesting features to the app, so if you feel like you will succeed to make an app for selling stuff, go on reading the next stage.

List the features

Next, you should decide what features your app should have. To make the process of building an app similar to Poshmark more sustainable, give answers to the next questions:

• What kind of products will your app specialize in?

• What is the users’ benefit of using it?

• Describe your target customer.

• What is (or what makes) your offer unique?

Pay attention to the last question. Despite the online marketplace businesses, as a rule, provide the same opportunities, it is often enough to add some small unique feature to make it attractive for a certain group of customers. It can be a money-back guarantee, customer referral fees, free shipping, or a profitable loyalty program.

The ordinary eBay alternative app includes such features as:

Buyer features Seller features General features

• create a buyer account

• placing bids

• filtered search

• product feed

• a list of trending items

• shopping cart

• create a seller account

• add item

• download description/photos

• fix the time

• dashboard

• shop statistics

• customer support

• incorporating fees

• max bid algorithm

• payment gateway

• shipping integration

• messaging

• instant notifications

• reviews and rankings

When all the features will be settled, it is time for writing user stories that describe every atomic piece of functionality together with their priorities. They will be necessary for dividing the full project to small iterations consisting of several user stories that will be gradually implemented to the end product and will help to define the cost to develop an app like eBay.

Big vs Small apps: pros and cons

On the Internet, you can often find articles on how to quickly create a site for online auctions using ready-made solutions, such as WordPress (as the engine) and special plugins for adding auctions connected. Such solutions also have the right to exist, since it has all the basic necessary functions. However, before you decide to use such a solution, you need to familiarize yourself with the shortcomings of the platform:

• It is compliant with a relatively small site for your personal use, with a limited number of designs, count of possible authorizations, and is not a good fit if you are looking for a big worldwide platform.

• The WordPress sites maintenance requires a lot of technical work, so it is necessary to spend much time on making a research or pay to developers.

• It is still only a website, so to build an app to sell things or to develop a huge platform providing both the web and mobile solutions you’ll need to create the engine from scratch.

How Much Does it Cost to Build an Online Auction App?

online auction app

To give an approximation we will assume the development of Android and iOS apps solely. Here, we will need a full list of features to be implemented, or a full list of user stories (that is better). Each piece of functionality should be estimated in man-hours, and then multiplied by an hourly rate of your development services provider. For example, such time-consuming features as a shopping cart, payment and shipping integration can be implemented in 30-50 man-hours each (depending on their required complexity). During this time a team of specialists of different development areas will work on your app.

The possible team cast to develop a Mercari clone app:

• Project Manager

• 2 iOS developers

• 2 Android developers

• Backend developer

• QA engineer

Also, we should notice that there are two different apps should be developed in case of an e-commerce platform: for the user and for the seller, and that also will influence the cost to build an online auction app. According to our approximation, it will take around 1400-2000 hours to develop such an application.

Summary: How to Make a Multi Vendor App?

E-commerce apps, such as online auction apps, become increasingly popular worldwide. In this area, the one who first occupied a niche wins. It is up to you to find the most promising niche and start making money. This article proves that there is nothing to be afraid of, just conduct a research and come up with a clear vision of your application.

How to Make an Online Auction App like eBay
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