WebSphere Commerce EnterpriseWebSphere Commerce Professional


WebSphere Commerce provides an auctioning component that lets you sell products to the highest bidder. This component provides an ideal environment for implementing small to moderate-scale auctioning as part of your e-commerce solution, and for conducting auctions simultaneously. In addition, Auctions offer special advantages in these situations:

  • When you are uncertain about the size of the market and the willingness of buyers to purchase a product; for example, when selling used or reconditioned products
  • When a product's price has been set too high initially, and you want to determine a price based on market demand
  • When you want to promote new product lines or liquidate inventory

Auctions are created by merchants using the WebSphere Commerce Accelerator. WebSphere Commerce supports three different auction types, which are all governed by rules which must be preconfigured. Furthermore, each bid submitted is also subject to bid rules. When creating auctions, the merchant can specify a number of parameters, including the pricing mechanism, and the schedule according to which they run. To save time, the merchant can configure auction styles, which serve as templates during auction creation.

To assist customers using auctions, you should create a gallery, and should consider creating forums to promote discussion, and to give customers an avenue for inquiry. When submitting a bid, customers have the option of defining criteria under which the system will submit further autobids on their behalf, which will maintain a winning position for an auction, up to a defined bid ceiling.

The auctions component also incorporates the messages system to send notification messages to the customers. These messages communicate a number of different conditions to the bidders, including when an auction has started, when a bid has been overridden, and when the system has initiated order processing for a product won in an auction. Finally, when an auction ends, the winners automatically receive messages informing them of the results. Each message corresponds to one row in the MESSAGE and MSGMEMREL tables. If the recipient does not read the message within a certain time period, an e-mail message with the same contents as the unread message is sent. The DoAuctionNotify command is responsible for sending the e-mail. You can change delay times for auction messages. Before your system can send auction notification messages and e-mail, you must enable auction notification messaging.

Before designing pages for use with auctions, you should familiarize yourself with the following data models:

  1. Before you begin working with auctions for the first time, you must enable auctions.
  2. Due to a limitation, users with a negative user ID in the USERS table, are prohibited from submitting bids. This only affects administrative IDs, such as the default wcsadmin ID.