Have you ever wondered how easy it would be to set up an eBay-type auction site? Thanks to WordPress auction plugins, it is much easier than you think, as I will show you.
What Are WordPress Auction Plugins?
In 1985, a new trend in selling both goods online began. It was the online auction, and the trendsetter was, of course, eBay. eBay started life as a marketplace that allowed private individuals to sell their unwanted items in a competitive bidding environment. Since then, eBay has grown and diversified into the platform we all know and love today.
Of course, anything successful tends to get copied or mimicked, and eBay is no exception. The platform has inspired lots of other auction sites, none of which have seen the massive success of eBay, but many have done quite well, nonetheless.
Fortunately, it is actually quite easy to create your own auction site in WordPress using an auction plugin. These work in several different ways, namely by:
- Integrating eBay into your site. The advantage of this method is buyers and sellers have the standard protections offered by eBay, plus the eBay marketplace is massive.
- Creating a standalone auction site that you have total control over and are not subject to eBay’s rules and regulations, although you do lose the buyer and seller protections and access to a massive, readymade marketplace.
- Integrating auctions into existing eCommerce sites such as WooCommerce. This allows you to leverage the features already available to you, such as payment gateways, templates, etc.
Therefore, it is a good idea to put a little thought into the kind of auction site you want to create before looking for a plugin.
Another important consideration is how much traffic you believe your auctions will generate, as many items and bids will consume lots of bandwidth. Therefore, you must ensure that your hosting provider and package are up to the job.
What Is the Best Auction Plugin for WordPress?
There are quite a few auction plugins for WordPress available, and which you choose very much depends on what kind of auction setup you need on your site.
However, to help you on your way to giving eBay sleepless nights, I am now going to show you seven auction plugins that, in my opinion, are the best currently available.
Dokan Simple Auctions
Dokan is an online marketplace plugin for WordPress that lets you create a site promoting and selling other people’s and businesses’ products. Therefore, a facility to auction products in that online marketplace is a natural progression as it increases selling options for vendors and more buying choices for shoppers.
Dokan Simple Auctions allows you to create a bespoke auction marketplace selling goods by competitive bids only. Alternatively, you can create a marketplace selling auctionable products alongside regular ones. The plugin works in conjunction with WooCommerce, WooCommerce Simple Auctions, and Dokan, so your site needs to be running all of those before you can add this one.
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- Your vendors can sell auctionable items alongside regular products
- Create an eBay-style marketplace where you charge vendors to list items for auction, and buyers can be charged a buyer’s fee
- Straightforward installation and configuration documentation
- Needs WooCommerce, WooCommerce Simple Auctions, and Dokan to work, and having so many extra plugins cause site speed or compatibility issues, particularly when one of the plugins is updated but others aren’t
- If you are starting an auction site from scratch, you will need to factor in the cost of up to four premium plugins
Dokan Simple Auctions costs $49 per year (excluding the cost of the other plugins it needs to function) and is a good option if you already run a marketplace using Dokan and want to offer your vendors and buyers more options.
If you are looking to build an auction site from scratch without integrating with eBay or setting up an eCommerce store, WP Auctions is a good option. It has bags of features and setting up and running auctions is super easy – just add an item, set the starting and reserve price, select the start and end dates, and that’s it!
Security is always a concern with auctions sites due to the number of devious people that plague our planet. Thankfully, WP Auctions offers three levels of security features to prevent bogus bidders or others hellbent on abusing your auctions.
- Impressive range of functions and features for setting up and managing auctions
- You are not at the mercy of eBay’s rules and regulations
- Good security features built-in
- Flexible shipping options
- As it does not leverage eBay, you will have to promote your auctions yourself
- Not covered by eBay’s buyer and seller protection
- Only one integral payment gateway (PayPal). However, it is possible to offer other payment options via email
The WP Auctions plugin costs $59 for a one-site license and $99 for three sites, including a year of updates and support. A stripped-down free version is also available through WordPress, although I recommend investing the $59 to get the entire suite of features.
Ultimate Auction for WooCommerce
Moving on to an auction plugin that adds bidding functionality to an eCommerce store, we have Ultimate Auction for WooCommerce. As the name says, this freemium plugin works with WooCommerce to add auctions to your site.
Ultimate Auction for WooCommerce has excellent functionality, allowing you to quickly and easily set up and run your auctions. Furthermore, even the free version includes basic automatic email notifications to bidders and administrators and an eBay-style “Buy Now” button, while some Pro versions automatically collect credit card payments from the winning bidder and deposit them into the auctioneer’s Stripe account.
Three annual Pro plans are available, costing $99 (one domain), $149 (three domains), and $249 (unlimited domains). Features are the same across the plans, except the cheapest one does not include the auto-credit card payment collection plus a couple of other features.
- Pro versions include extra features to help you set up and manage auctions
- You are not subject to eBay’s rules and regulations
- All plans, including the free one, allow bidders to create watchlists
- Participation can be restricted to registered users only
- A 14-day refund policy means you can try the Pro version risk-free
- It needs a WooCommerce site to work
- Does not leverage eBay, so you must promote your auctions yourself, and you don’t get the buyer and seller protections that eBay provides
- The features included with the free version are limited
- The auto-credit card payment collection/deposit feature is only available on the more expensive plans
Ultimate Auction for WooCommerce is an excellent option for running auctions on an eCommerce website. Moreover, it is a popular plugin with over three thousand downloads from WordPress alone, where it has accrued a 4.8/5.0 star rating.
WooCommerce Simple Auctions
Staying with WooCommerce-based auction plugins for the moment, the WooCommerce Simple Auctions plugin on another option for creating a WordPress auction on an eCommerce site.
As you might expect, this plugin offers many of the functions that Ultimate Auction for WooCommerce has, including lots of email notification options and some security features to discourage bogus bidders. Additionally, bidders have a “My Auctions” page where they can conveniently view all their bids.
- Pro versions include plenty of features to help you set up and manage auctions
- You are not subject to eBay’s rules and regulations, which can be onerous
- Add-on available that requires verification of credit card and payment details before a user can place a bid
- You can use any payment gateway that WooCommerce supports
- Elementor support
- No free version is available
- Only works in conjunction with WooCommerce
- It does not leverage eBay, so you don’t get the buyer and seller protection
- No auto-credit card payment collection/deposit feature
WooCommerce Simple Auctions plugin is great value at just $29, including support and updates for six months. Furthermore, the plugin scores a very respectable 4.70/5.00 on Code Canyon, and almost seven thousand licenses have sold to date.
WP-Lister for eBay
WP-Lister is a freemium plugin that connects your WooCommerce and eBay stores together, meaning you will be able to push products from your products pages to eBay listings. What’s more, it is possible to create listing profiles and apply to multiple products, plus you can verify items and listing fees prior to publishing.
The free version bundles plenty of features to get you started. However, for $149 per year, the Pro version also allows you to do things like synchronize sales, upload product images to eBay, plus it adds advanced eBay options.
- Products are listed on eBay, so you have a much wider audience
- The plugin does not convert your site to an auction site per se; instead, it sends your products to eBay
- Everyone enjoys the benefits of eBay’s buyer and seller protections
- Payments are made through eBay
- The free plugin has good functionality to start you off
- Some of eBays rules and regulations can be restrictive and annoying
- eBay listing fees are payable
- It is not possible to upload images to eBay with the free version
- Only runs with WooCommerce
- The plugin is only tested up to WordPress version 5.7.4. However, the developer has been doing regular updates and contributions to the support forum
WP-Lister for eBay is a superb option if you need to keep your site as a regular eCommerce store but also want to offer your products on eBay. It has a user score of 4.5/5.0 stars in the WordPress download repository.
Woo Auction Software
Woo Auction Software is another plugin that works in conjunction with WooCommerce to help you create an eBay-style auction site in WordPress. Not only can you create forward auctions, i.e., where the highest bidder wins, but you can also run reverse auctions where there is just one buyer with several competing sellers.
The free version contains plenty of great features like defined bid ranges (i.e., incremental prices), scheduled auctions, email notifications, pricing configurations (reserve, buy it now, etc.), multi-language compatibility, and more. Upgrading to Pro – which costs just $49 per year) – adds several extra features, such as multi-vendor and penny auctions.
- Suitable for many different auction types, particularly the Pro version
- The free plugin has lots of useful features to get you started
- The Pro version has a generous 30-day moneyback guarantee, so trying it is risk-free
- This is not a standalone WordPress plugin – it is more of a WooCommerce extension
- Unlike plugins that use eBay, you will need to promote your auctions yourself, plus you and your buyers don’t have any of the protections offered by eBay
In my opinion, the Woo Auction Software plugin is definitely an option to consider if you want to create a website running some of the less common auction types.
WordPress Automatic Plugin
I’m kicking off this list with WordPress Automatic Plugin. This allows you to incorporate content from external sources such as social media platforms, RSS feeds, blogs, and of course, eBay directly into your website. The great thing about adding auctions in this way is eBay is doing most of the hard work for you, and it is a great way to get started.
- The auctions are live both on your WordPress site and on eBay, so you have a much wider audience
- eBay has lot of protection measures for sellers and bidders
- Payments are captured and processed through eBay
- Auctions update automatically on your site in real-time. Furthermore, when adding a new auction on your eBay profile, the plugin pushes it automatically gets pushed to your
- An easy option for adding online auctions to your website
- Some of eBays rules and regulations can be restrictive and rather draconian
- You need to pay the eBay listing fees
WordPress Automatic Plugin is an excellent option for integrating your eBay auctions into your WordPress website. Furthermore, it allows you to add content from other sources, which can help draw traffic to your auctions. The plugin costs just $50 on Code Canyon, where it has a 4.82/5.00 average user rating.
What Is Your Favorite WordPress Auction Plugin?
In summary, online auctions can be a great way of selling products, and many people enjoy using them. Bidding for items can often create competition between bidders, particularly with unusual or rare objects, thereby ensuring the maximum price is paid. Furthermore, people often perceive they are getting a better deal when buying from an auction, as they have had some control (albeit very little) over the price they pay.
If any of you are already running an auction-type WordPress site, I’d love to hear from you, and please do let me know what plugins you are using to do it.