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I'm currently building a marketplace. And need to decide whether to:

  • Have two separate registration forms - one for the buyer and one for the seller
  • Have a single registration form and then when a user is registered he/she will need to choose what role they want to take (buyer/seller) and will be required to fill additional details relevant to each role

I'm asking this mainly in terms of user experience as I think that there might be a chance that a user will want to function both as a buyer and a seller (though it will probably happen only in 5% of the cases, most will function only as one).

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4 Answers 4

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Why would any user want to have two separate accounts?

If you ask me, I want one login for everything on the internet (and still retain control over my privacy, thank you).

You would build artificial hurdles. I'm a seller, and see something I would like to buy. Do I have to log out, log in with my new "buyers" account, find that product again?
Do I have to use a different browser if I want to monitor my sales while buying?
How many buyers will give up selling and go to ebay if they are overwhelmed by the separate account?

You are not enabling new functionality Any user wants to buy and sell through different accounts can still sign up with separate accounts.

Usability

Any decent UI can comfortably support both buying and selling. Even if you insist on completely separate interfaces, the choice can be made after login and remembered as default for that user - making it a once-in-a-lifetime click,

Build for easy transition. Your power users - those generating the most business - are the most likely to do both. Do you want to penalize your cash/click-cows?

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I'd vote this +2 if I could. Agree completely... –  Sam K Jun 22 '11 at 14:28
    
Excellent. Very helpful. –  Roy Peleg Jun 22 '11 at 18:01
    
+1 great answer –  Roger Attrill Jun 22 '11 at 18:34
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I have a similar marketplace-style website. The choice I made is to have a single initial registration path for everyone. In other words, everyone initially registers as a buyer. The reason I did that is because I didn't want to prevent a seller from also buying things.

In my case, I don't ask much at all in the buyer profile -- just name, email, and password. The buyer profile is a true subset of the seller profile. A user can then "upgrade" to a seller at any point. There are convenient paths to do this.

  1. There's a link at the bottom of their "my account" page to upgrade their account or "become a contributor" as I put it.
  2. There's also a link on the page with the list of sellers labeled "publish & sell your own work." If they don't have an account at all, this will take them to the registration page, and then redirect to the seller profile page to make it a seamless experience.
  3. There are also links underneath the search results of every page that say "Add Control", and "Add Illustration." These will do the same thing as link #2, with proper redirects to make registering as a seller as seamless as possible.
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+1 Make it easy for people to sign up & start buying, and let them do the additional configuration to also sell any time they want. If your site is successful then people will want to switch on the extra functionality all the time, but if you make them jump through hoops to get in at all, they'll walk away. –  Monica Cellio Jun 22 '11 at 14:25
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its depend on your requirments, how the buyer and seller will behave. if your requirments is not like other buyer and seller websites than you can keep them separate. but in common case there will be

new member

instead of buyer or seller, when new member register than they can sell or buy product, you can easily differentiate them after selling or buying products.

So in this case you can achieve user experience because its golden rule for Buyer and Seller sites, visit ebay and other b2s s2b sites you will get clear idea.

You should combine these two in one registration form, its good practice for buyer and seller to keep them combine. when you visit high profile website they keep buyer and seller in one category.

But when you look out side the buyer and seller, Like Contractor , employee These two have separate functionality so the UI Designger keep them separate because of their nature. Like

Employeer Start Here

Contractor Start Here

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This distinction is useful only if a user registered as a seller can act only as a seller, and vice-versa. If this is the case, you may have a button labeled Register that redirects you to a step form, and the first step could contains following combo-boxes

What you will do in the Marketplace?

  • I Will Buy Products
  • I Will Sell Products
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