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I'm struggling with the idea of either making separate buyer and seller accounts for a marketplace I'm creating, OR to combine the accounts.

The main hurdle in my mind is the rarity that in this particular marketplace any buyer/seller would swap roles. However this is a catch 22, because those same rare instances where a buyer would want to buy something makes me want to combine the accounts.

Are there any hybrid solutions you can think of?

Perhaps integrating a "link accounts" feature or something...?

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If you put a major restriction in from day 1, you may be creating a headache dealing with unforeseen circumstances further down the line. I'd suggest being flexible from the outset and avoid any need for 'linking' accounts. –  Roger Attrill Nov 21 '11 at 20:30
    
I have found a related post not exactly same, but may help. [building a marketplace-which-one-is-better-a-unified-registration-or-two-separ][1] [1]: ux.stackexchange.com/questions/8399/… –  pir abdul wakeel Nov 22 '11 at 11:39

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Don't differentiate by account. Preferably don't differentiate at all.

Differentiate in tasks/menu's.

Paypal is a good example of having an account to both send and receive money. E-bay probably also allows for both selling and buying. I cannot think of a single marketplace site where you are forced to have separate accounts for what essentially are just two roles or activities.

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Yes, good example, I'll go to my Paypal account right now and take a look!!! thankss –  Alien Nov 23 '11 at 0:58

I would say it depends if the public selling and buying is the same. If your marketplace is a for professionnal sellers then yes you should split your account in two.

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Thats a good point, its more on the casual side. –  Alien Nov 23 '11 at 0:57

That's how we handle it: Basic sign up is the same for everyone (just email address and password). As soon as you want to sell something, you have to fill in some additional data (billing etc.) but you don't lose the ability to buy stuff.

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Ok thats a helpful tip, I may have to integrate this strategy! –  Alien Nov 23 '11 at 0:58

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