|Publication number||WO2001071580 A1|
|Publication date||27 Sep 2001|
|Filing date||23 Aug 2000|
|Priority date||22 Mar 2000|
|Also published as||CN1314650A|
|Publication number||PCT/2000/1490, PCT/IB/0/001490, PCT/IB/0/01490, PCT/IB/2000/001490, PCT/IB/2000/01490, PCT/IB0/001490, PCT/IB0/01490, PCT/IB0001490, PCT/IB001490, PCT/IB2000/001490, PCT/IB2000/01490, PCT/IB2000001490, PCT/IB200001490, WO 0171580 A1, WO 0171580A1, WO 2001/071580 A1, WO 2001071580 A1, WO 2001071580A1, WO-A1-0171580, WO-A1-2001071580, WO0171580 A1, WO0171580A1, WO2001/071580A1, WO2001071580 A1, WO2001071580A1|
|Inventors||Jae Kil Kim|
|Applicant||Jae Kil Kim|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (3), Referenced by (10), Classifications (8), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: Patentscope, Espacenet|
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR BI-DIRECTIONALLY AUCTIONING BETWEEN BUYERS AND SELLERS USING A COMPUTER NETWORK
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the Invention
The present invention relates generally to a method and apparatus for performing commercial transactions using a computer network, and in parricular to a method and apparatus for bi-directionally auctioning using a computer network.
Description of the Prior Art
Electronic commercial transactions are typically classified as a shopping mall method, an auction method, a Dutch auction method or a brokerage method.
Most electronic commerce transactions adopt a shopping mall method. In a shopping mall method, sellers open a virtual marketplace on the internet and display goods to sell in the opened virtual marketplace, and buyers order goods by visiting the virtual marketplace. The shopping mall method is a seller-driven method in which a buyer buys goods after seeing the price presented by a seller. Typically, a buyer buys the goods from the cheapest shopping mall after surveying prices of the same products in a plurality of different shopping malls. Thus, a buyer has the trouble and the inconvenience of remembering the cheapest shopping mall for each of the goods after surveying prices m the plurality of different shopping malls. Also, because each shoppirg mall has different payment method, ordering metnod, delivery period and delivery fare, a buyer has tne further burden of rearranging all these conditions for each purchase.
In the auction method, a seller puts up goods at auction, a ^arge number of buyers present various prices, and a transaction is accomplished by selecting a ouyer who presents the highest price for tne goods. Because the auction method determines the hignest price by making a plurality of buyers compete with each other, it is necessary for buyers to make an effort to acquire the auction information and to participate in the auction oy finding the auction place and the auction times for related goods .
The Dαtch auction method, as disclosed m U.S. Patent No. 5,794,207, is an auction m which a certain price is set and gradually lowered by the auctioneer until a bid is received, the first bidder becoming the buyer. In a Dutch auction, a large number of sellers compete for one purchase condition, and it is convenient to a buyer oecause it is a buyer-driven transaction. However, a seller cannot expect to make a large quantity of transactions because every transaction is consummated with one buyer. In the brokerage method, as disclosed in Korean Patent application No. 1999-~S767, a transaction is consummated between a buyer and a seller whereby a buyer and a seller register a purchase price and a selling price, respectively, and a broker determines the lowest desired selling price as a contract price. In the brokerage method, a buyer and a seller register at the same time. Thus, similar to the Dutch auction, a seller cannot expect a large quantity of transactions because every transaction is consummated with one buyer. Also, the participation of more sellers is limited because a seller must register to sell to consummate a transaction. Also, the brokerage method has a problem that a seller cannot plan more positive sales strategy because a broker, rather than the seller, determines the selling quantity and selling time.
A synergy auction, as can be found at the worldwide web site of www.auction.co.kr, is a kind of a cooperative purchase method vnerein goods, selling quantity, purchase quantity, and present price are displayed and a fixed amount of money is discounted in response to the increase of the purchase quantity of a corresponding good. In this method, the quantity of goods is limited in advance. A buyer cannot present a purchase price, and the purchase price falls in a fixed rate. In addition, the discountable money is restricted. The above-described electronic commerce methods cannot accomplish the transaction of aggregate sales because they are one to one or one to majority methods between a seller and one or more buyers.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The above-described and other drawbacks are overcome by a method for bi-directionally auctioning using a computer network. The method includes displaying one or more purchase prices for gocos and a higher-price-accumuiated purchase quantity for each purchase price. The higher-price-accumulated purchase quantity being equal to the number of goods registered at and above the corresponding purchase price. One or more buyers participate competitively for a desired purchase price by referring to each displayed purchase price and higher-price-accumulated purchase quantity. A transaction is confirmed between the seller who first selects a displayed purchase price and higher-price- accumulated purchase quantity and all buyers at and above the selected purchase price.
In another embodiment, a transaction between a plurality of buyers and a plurality of sellers is characterized by the plurality of buyers inputting data into a computer, the data including: a goods/mcael description, purchase price, purchase quantity, and purchase contract money. The computer is arranged to show one or more purchase prices, a purchase quantity for each purchase price, and a higher-price-accumulated purchase quantity, which is obtained by summing purchase quantities at and above each purchase price. One or more sellers select competitively an acceptable purchase price and higher-price-accumulated purchase quantity among the one or more purchase prices and accumulated purchase quantities of each goods/model shown on the computer. The computer then gives purchase authority of the higher-price-accumulated purchase quantity at the selected purchase price to the buyer selecting first. The computer then confirms a transaction between the determined seller and all buyers who have registered goods priced at and above the selected purchase price. In one embodiment of the above method of the present invention, buyers input data into a computer, the data including: a goods/model description, purchase price, purchase quantity, and a registration mode. Buyers also input a single purchase contract deposit amount for the plurality of goods. When a transaction is confirmed, the goods/model description, the purchase price, and the purchase quantity, input for the single accumulated purchase quantity are deleted.
In one embodiment, a seller supplies the entire higher-price-accumulated purchase quantity, and in an alternative embodiment, the seller supplies only a portion of the higher-price-accumulated purchase quantity. In the latter embodiment, the buyers can be determined using a purchase registration number rarkmg. In another embodiment, buyers can input a purchase term, registration information, and a total purchase amount. Purchase term information indicates the duration of the purchase offer. Registration information indicates whether the registration is a plural or single registration. In a plural registration mode, the user can register a plurality of goods simultaneously using one purchase registration. In a single registration mode, the user can register by appointing a product to a group of similar products. The total purchase amount is obtained by multiplying a purchase price by its accompanying accumulated selling quantity. In another embodiment, information for analyzing the fluctuation of purchase price and accumulated selling quantity is displayed to help purchase strategy. Other analysis graphs can also be included, such as a graph depicting selling quantity and accumulated selling quantity graph as to each selling price, a graph depicting confirmed selling price as a function of time, and a graph depicting the confirmed accumulated purchase transaction quantity as a function of time. These analysis graphs help a seller to register a selling price and help a buyer to determine an appropriate purchase time and selling price. An apparatus for bι-dιrectιonal__ auctioning using a computer network includes a storing means where a bidirectional auction program is storeα, and a processor that executes the bi-directional auct.on program stored in the storing means. Each seller inputs a goods/model description, a purchase price, a purchase quantity, and purchase contract money data. The processor outputs a higher-price-accumulated purchase quantity, which is obtained by summing the purchase quantities for all goods priced at and above the corresponding purchase price. One or more sellers select competitively an acceptable purchase price and higher-price-accumulated purchase quantity from those displayed. The processor provides selling authority of the higrer-pπce- accumulated purchase quantity for the selected purchase price to the seller who first selects the purchase price. The processor then confirms a transaction between tne determined seller and all buyers who registered gooos at and over the selected purchase price. The storing means includes a memoer database, a purchase registration database, a purchase registration display database, a selling offer database, a selling decision database and a registered goods database. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a drawing showing the configuration of a method for bi-directionally auctioning using a computer network of the present invention; FIG. 2 is a drawing showing the configuration of an apparatus for bi-directionally auctioning using a computer network of the present invention;
FIG. 3 is a drawing showing the configuration of a buyer member database of an apparatus for bi- directionally auctioning using a computer network of tne present invention;
FIG. 4 is a drawing showing the configuration of a seller member database of an apparatus for bi- directionally auctioning using a computer network of the present invention;
FIG. 5 is a drawing showing the configuration of a purchase registration database of an apparatus for bi- directionally auctioning using a computer network of the present invention; FIG. 6 is a drawing showing the configuration of a purchase registration display database of an apparatus for bi-directionally auctioning using a computer network of the present invention;
FIG. 7 is a drawing showing the configuration of a selling offer database of an apparatus for bi- directionally auctioning using a computer network of the present invention; FIG. 8 is a drawing showing the configuration of a selling decision database of an apparatus for bi- directionally auctioning using a computer netwcr< of the present invention; FIG. 9 is a drawing showing the configuration of a registered goods database of an apparatus for bi- directionally auctioning using a computer netwcr of the present invention;
FIGS. 10 through 13 are a flowchart illustrating the operation of a server of an apparatus for π- directionally auctioning using a computer netwcr of the present invention;
FIG. 14 is a flowchart illustrating the operation of a terminal of an apparatus for bi-directionally auctioning using a computer network of the present invention;
FIGS. 15 through 25 are drawings showing screens illustrating the operation of a terminal of an apparatus for bi-directionally auctioning using a computer network of the present invention; and
FIGS. 26 through 28 are drawings showing various analysis graphs helpful in determining a purchase price of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
FIG. 1 shows the configuration of a method for bi- directionally auctioning of the present invention. As illustrated m FIG. 1, the bi-directional auctioning method of the present invention is accomplished by a transaction between a buyer 10 and a seller 20 that is consummated through a bi-directional auctioning system 30. Payment money is paid from the buyer 10 to the seller 20 and the seller 20 delivers the purchase product to the buyer 10.
The present invention differs from a general auction or a Dutch auction because, in the present invention, the registration of various purchase prices as to one product is possible and a seller can select a purchase price competitively by considering a total sum of sale money. The total sum of sale money is determined by multiplying a higher-price-accumulated purchase quantity by the purchase price. The higher- price-accumulated purchase quantity is the total number of goods at and above the purchase price. The higner- price-accumulated purchase quantity and the total sum o: sale money is displayed for each purchase price simultaneously.
The present invention gives an expectation to buyers that they can buy a product at low price by making a large number of transactions. Also, a seller can select a selling t me considering fund rotation and profit maximization. <Table 1> Table showing principle for bidirectional auction as to specific goods
Referring to Table i, an example of the bilateral auction method of the present invention can be described. In Table 1, seven buyers, each buying a different quantity of the same type of goods at a different purchase price, express a purchase intention on a bilateral auction site. The type of goods has a production cost of 30,000 South Korean won and a general selling price (retail price) of 50,000 won. Sellers can determine a sales strategy by referring to the purchase total amount, which is obtained by multiplying the purchase price and the higher-price-accumulated purchase quantity. The higher-price-accumulated purchase quantity is the sum of the purchase quantities from all goods priced at and above the purchase price. Sellers can also refer to the earnings, which are determined by subtracting the production cost of the higher-price- accumulated purchase quantity (e.g., 30,000 won times the higher-price-accumulated purchase quantity) from tne purchase total amount. It should be noted that the present invention is not limited to one form of currency. Therefore, while the present example uses South Korean won, any currency (e.g., U.S. dollars) can be similarly used .
When a seller completes a sale, the higher-price- accumulated purchase quantity is sold at the determined purchase price. For example, if a seller chooses to sell an accumulated quantity of 8 goods at 45,000 won, the goods would be sold at 45,000 won to buyers who registered at purchase prices of 45,000, 48,003 and 50,000 won. Therefore, buyers registered to buy at a higher purchase price end up buying at a purchase price lower than the purchase price at which they registered. In this example, a total of four buyers registered at purchase prices of 45,000 won or greater, as indicated by the "number of buyers" column in Table 1.
Any number of sellers can make a selling offer competitively according to the sales strategy profitable to oneself. For example, a seller having a small quantity of secured goods can offer to sell at a purchase price over 45,000 won so as to have a high profit for the small quantity of goods, and a seller who needs funds promptly can offer to sell at a purchase price lower than production cost. Referring back to Table 1, "Purchase Total Amount" shows the amount that a seller would receive if the seller were to sell the higher-price-accumulated quantity of goods at the corresponding recommended purchase price. "Earnings" shows the profit, above the lowest cost (e.g., production cost), that a seller would receive if the seller were to sell the higher-price-accumulated quantity of goods at the corresponding recommended purchase price.
Meanwhile, buyers participate competitively for the lowest price among those prices that a purchaser is likely to select. This phenomenon is a natural free market competition principle and induces a selling price of a seller to a purchase price of highest consumer' s interest . Referring now to the following Table 2, a generalized example of the present invention is illustrated with reference to specific goods G being transacted by a plurality of buyers providing purchase offer registration information. The purchase offer registration information includes a recommended purchase price P and a recommended purchase quantity A for the goods G. The received recommended purchase quantity A is added to a recommended purchase quantity Qi of a recommended purchase price Pi, where 1 < i < n, and where Pi is lower than P(ι+1) . Pi is the same recommended purchase price as the received recommended purchase price P among purchase prices between PI ~ Pn for the goods G. The higher-price-accumulated recommended purchase quantity AQn = __Qι is updated as a result of adding the received recommended purchase quantity A.
At least one seller selects a recommended purcnase price at which to sell the higher-pπce-accumulated purchase quantity of goods. A transaction is confirmed between a seller and all the buyers, where the ouyers are related to the higher-price-accumulated purchase quantity selected by the seller.
Additionally, it is desirable that the purchase offer registration information further includes eacn purchase total amount, TA ( 1 ) n = ∑Pi x Qi, and/or TA 2)n = Pn x AQn, of all the recommended purchase prices. Referring back to Table 2, TA(2)n shows the amount tnat a seller would receive if the seller were to sell tne higher-price-accumulated quantity of goods at the corresponding recommended purchase price.
FIG. 2 shows a configuration of a bi-directional auctioning apparatus of the present invention.
A bi-directional auctioning apparatus includes a server 100 with a processor to execute a bi-directional auction program and a storing means 110 where a database is stored. The server 100 executes the bi-directional auction program by referring to or renewing various databases stored in the storing means 110.
Storing means 110 includes buyer member database BMDB, 111, seller member data base SMDB, 112, purchase registration data base PRDB, 113, purchase registration display data base PRDDB, 114, selling decision data base SDDB, 116 and registered goods data base RGDB, 117.
The bi-directional auctioning apparatus also includes terminals 130, 140, which are connected the server 100 through a computer network like an internet 120. Terminals 130 and 140 include any display output such as a personal computer, a notebook computer, a hand computer, an internet cellular phone or an internet television.
Purchase registration and a selling offer programs are installed in a purchase registration terminal 130 and a selling offer terminal 140. The purchase registration and selling offer programs are downloaded from the server 100 through the internet, or are installed on a hard disc of terminals 130, 140 from a recording medium such as a distributed compact disc (CD) . Referring to FIG. 3, buyer member data base 111 includes fields such as ID, password, name, resident registration number, zip code, address, emergency contact, E-MAIL, new purchase registration list, bonus point, proceeding purchase registration list, purchase result list, bonus point, and credit rating.
Address includes a home address or a recipient address. Emergency contact may include a telephone number, mobile phone, or pager number.
New purchase registration list includes data for the cases when a buyer registers new goods not already registered on a server 100, or registers a new purchase price not included in the purchase prices for goods already registered on server 100. For example, if purchase prices registered to goods are 10,000 won and 9,000 won, a buyer ca register 9,500 won as a new purchase price. A buyer can reserve oonus points according to the new purchase registration and substitute it for electronic money. A member of the bi-directional auction site is awarded bonus points according to the frequency of site use or the amount of transactions made on the site.
The proceeding registration list is where a buyer lists purchase registration content for all goods that the seller is selling whose purchase term is net ended and whose sale is net decided. Therefore, a buyer can observe the progress of his own purchase registration by referring to registration list. Of course, in tne case where a buyer has multiple registrations of the same type of goods, the registrations are listed in table form, as shown in Table 1. An invalid purchase registration situation is one in which a buyer participates in purchase result list but whose purchase is not decided. A valid purchase registration situation is one whose purchase is decided and whose transaction is completed. A whole selling registration situation includes both invalid and valid purchase registrations, including the total amount of accumulated sales whose transactions are accomplished. Therefore, the rate of purchase accomplishment according to the number of purchase registrations of each buyer can be checked. As a result, a manager of a server 100 can provide electronic money or bonus goods by reserving bonus points according to purchase results by considering total number of registrations, purchase hit rates and total accumulated purchases.
Credit rating is used in buyer management. The credit rating of a buyer is automatically given by reflecting the number of cancellations after purchase registration, the number of returned goods and the purchase results of the corresponding buyer.
Referring to FIG. 4, seller member database 112 includes an ID, password, name (corporate name or company name) , resident registration number (business registration number), zip code, address, emergency contact, E-MAIL, new purchase registration list, bonus points, selling result list, bonus points, and credit rating. Seller member database 112 is similar to buyer member database 111, with the addition of a new purchase registration list field for seller member management. The content, such as purchase decision content, goods, quantity, total amount of sales related to a purchase price selected by a seller, and total amount of sales related to an accumulated purchase quantity, are listed in the selling result list.
Seller member management is accomplished with automatic-graded credit rating. The credit rating is determined by considering the number of new purchase registrations, bonus point reservations according to selling result, the rate of returned goods, the number of buyer dissatisfaction complaints, and the number of delivery accidents.
Referring to FIG. 5, purchase registration database 113 includes a purchase registration number, name of goods and model, purchase price, purchase quantity, purchase term, buyer ID, total amount of payment money, purchase contract money, credit card number, term of card validity, name on card, purchase registration mode, and other items. The purchase registration number is given automatically by the server 100 according to the order in which the purchase registration is received. The purchase registration number has different numbering systems to distinguish between single registration mode and plural registration mode. For example, single registration mode and plural registration mode are distinguished from each other by making the purchase registration number of the single registration mode as S-XXXXXX and the plural registration mode as M-XXXXXX. The single and plural registration modes are describee in further detail hereinafter. The purchase term is determined by the buyer, w-o considers the amount of time available to make the purchase. The total amount of payment money is determined automatically by multiplying the purcnase price by the purchase quantity. The purchase contract money is calculated automatically as a portion, for example 10%, of the total amount of payment money. Purchase contract money is not repaid when a purchase registration is cancelled and is repaid when the purchase term ends. The purchase registration mode comprises a single registration mode and a plural registration oαε. In tne case that there exists the registered goods of tne sa^e kind as the goods whose purchase price is to be registered, the single registration and plural registration can be selected. In a plural registration mode, the user can register a plurality of gooos simultaneously using one purchase registration. In a single registration mode, the user can register by appointing a product to a group of similar products. Mode selection information is stored m the purchase registration database. Referring to FIG. 6, purchase registration display database 114 includes a goods registration number, name of goods and model, selling price, brief description, link information of similar goods of the same kind, purchase price, purchase quantity, higher-price- accumulated purchase quantity of higher price, total amount of money, and % of a day purchase term closing quantity among total accumulated purchase quantity.
Link information of similar goods of the same kind includes the registration number of goods registered as similar goods of the same kind.
Purchase registration display data is provided to terminals 130 and 140 in real time in order for a buyer and a seller to evaluate the purchase registration situation.
Purchase quantity is a total purchase quantity registered at the corresponding purchase price, and higher-price-accumulated purchase quantity indicates the purchase quantity obtained by summing the total purchase quantity of goods having purchase prices above and equal to the corresponding purchase price.
The distribution of registered purchase prices for similar goods is concentrated around the prime cost, where there is a high probability that the registered price will lead to a successful purchase. The number of registered purchase prices deceases rapidly as the purchase price approaches the retail (selling) price, and decreases rapidly as the price approaches zero. In other words, the purchase quantity for each purchase price can be depicted as a bell-shaped curve. However, because the goods comprising the accumulated selling quantity are all sold at the higher selling price, the accumulated selling quantity draws a S cnaracter curve having high slope around the prime cost. However, because the goods comprising the higher-pπce- accumulated purchase quantity are all sold at the lower selling price, tne higher-price-accumuiated purchase quantity draws an S character curve having a high slope around the prime cost.
The total amount of money is calculated automatically by multiplication of the higher-price- accumulated purchase quantity and the purchase price. The total amount of money helps a seller determine the total amount of money needed for the purchase. Also, the buyer can determine the time at whicn to sell by viewing the purchase quantity whose purchase term is ended when the day passes as a percentage to the total accumulated purchase quantity.
Referring to FIG. 7, selling offer database 115 includes: selling offer number, goods registration number, name of goods and model, purchase price, higher- price-accumulated purchase quantity of lower price, total amount of purchase money, buyer ID, purchase contract money, credit card number, term of card validity, and name on card.
Selling offer database 115 comprises data inputted when a seller registers through a terminal 130 or 140. Purchase contract money is calculated automatically as 10% of the total amount of purchase money. Purchase contract money is drawn from a seller' s bank account using the inputted credit card number, and must be paid on to an account of an operator. The selling authority is given to the seller who pays first. When selling is cancelled, purchase contract money is not repaid but is distributed to the related buyers as an indemnity.
Referring to FIG. 8, purchase decision database includes a purchase decision number, goods registration number, name of goods and model, purchase price, higher- price-accumulated purchase quantity, total amount, seller ID, IDs of total related buyers, and other items.
The purchase decision database is automatically created by reference to the selling offer database and the purchase registration database. Purchases of all buyers related to the selected purchase price and the higher-price-accumulated purchase quantity are decided by a selling offer.
Referring to FIG. 9, the registered goods database includes a goods registration number, name of goods and model, selling price, brief description, detailed description, large classification, medium classification, small classification, accumulated sales quantity, manufacturing company homepage link information URL (UNIFORM RESOURCE LOCATORS), and link information of similar goods.
The brief description of registered goods dataoase includes a photograph of the goods, a representative specification, a simple presentation of the goods ana the manufacturing company. The detailed description includes a concrete detailed description, structure, various photographs of goods, and includes the reliability and a narrow view of the goods. In case tnat it is difficult to register concrete information for goods, the additional information of the goods can be added by an operator.
Link information of similar goods includes the registration number of similar goods of the same type. FIG. 10 shows a flow chart to illustrate the server operation in a bi-directional auctioning apparatus of the present invention. The process begins which server 100 checking for a specific time 1002. For example, 11:59 p.m. may be checked 1002 everyday. At the specific time, server 100 deletes purchase registration instances whose purchase term ended on that day, referring to PRDB 113. Server 100 also investigates 1004 the purchase quantity of the purchase registration instances whose selling term ended on the next day. Here, when deleting related purchase registrations, purchase registrations as to goods registered in plural mode are deleted simultaneously. Server 100 renews the purchase quantity, higher-price- accumulated purchase quantity, and total amount m the PRDDB of each goods relating to the deleted purchase registration instance. Server renews 1008 PRDDB by calculating the percent (%) of the next day's purchase term closing quantity among the total accumulated purchase quantity for each type of good, and then registers 1008 in BMCB and SMDB. If time is not checked in step 1002, the server checks 1010 whether tnere is an application for member admission from terminals 130 and 140.
In the case that there is an application for member admission in step 1010, the server 100 cnecks 1012 whether it is an application for buyer member admission or for seller member admission. If it is an application for buyer member admission in step 1012, the server 100 inputs 1014 buyer member data and registers 1016 the inputted buyer member data in BMDB . If it is an application for seller member admission in step 1012, the server 100 inputs 1018 seller member data and registers 1020 the inputted seller member data m SMDB.
If it is not an application for member admission in step 1012, the server 100 checks whether there is purchase registration offer from terminals 130 and 140. In the case that there is purchase registration offer in step 1022, the server 100 checks 1024 whether it is a new registration. If a new registration is found in step 1024, the server 100 checks 1026 whether it is a new goods registration. If it is a new goods registration m step 1026, the server 100 inputs 1028 the name of goods and model, purchase price, purchase quantity, purchase term, buyer ID, credit card number, term of card validity, name on card, and purchase registration mode, and registers 1030 the inputted goods and model in DGDB. If a new goods registration is not found m step 1026, the server 100 inputs 1032 purcnase price, purchase quantity, purchase term, buyer ID, credit card number, term of card validity, name on card, and purchase registration mode.
If it is not a new registration m 1024 step, the server 100 inputs 1034 purchase quantity, purchase term, buyer ID, credit card number, term of card validity, name on card, and purchase registration mode.
The server 100 then checks 1036 for the receipt of money by requesting purchase contract money from a payment account of a credit card number inputted in steps 1030, 1032 or 1034. In the case that purchase contract money is not received in 1036 step, server 100 handles 1038 as an error. In the case that purchase contract money is received in step 1036, server 100 registers 1040 purchase registration content inputted m PRDB, renews 1042 the related content of PRDDB, and registers 1044 purchase registration content in BMDB or SMDB of the related ID.
If there is no purchase registration offer in 1022 step, server 100 checks 1046 whether there is a selling offer. In the case that there is a selling offer from terminals 130 or 140 in step 1046, server 100 inputs 1048 seller ID, credit card number, term of card validity, and name on card, and registers 1050 the inputted selling offer data in the SODB.
Next, server 100 requests 1052 the payment of sales contract money from the credit card settlement account of the inputted selling offer and checks whether it is received or not. In the case that sales contract money is not received at step 1052, server 100 handles 1054 the case as an error. In the case that sales contract money is received in step 1052, server 100 determines 1056 the seller whose contract money is received first.
When a seller is determined, server 100 registers in the SDDB by referring to PRDB, SODB, and renewing the purchase registration content of the determined sale in the PRDDB. Server 100 also deletes the purchase registration content in the PRDB, and registers 1058 the selling decision content of the confirmed sellers and confirmed buyers in the BMDB and SMDB. Here, for the cases of the plural registration mode among each purchase registration case of selected purchase price, server 100 deletes all data in the purchase registration list of related similar goods of the same kmα. Then, server 100 settles 1060 the purchase money payment by receiving the remaining money left, except the contract money of the purchase money, from each credit card settlement account of related buyers.
Server 100 creates a delivery list of all related buyers by referring to the BMDB and provides 1062 the delivery list to the seller.
If there is not a selling offer in step 1046, server 100 checks 1064 whether there is a data output request. I If there is, server 100 outputs 1066 related data by referring to the database.
If there is no data output request at step 1064, server 100 checks 1068 whether there is a delivery completion report, and when a delivery completion report is received, server 100 pays 1070 the selling money and selling contract money of related buyers to a seller as settled purchase money by referring to the SDDB.
FIG. 14 is a flow chart to illustrate the operation of terminal 130 or 140 of a bi-directional auctioning apparatus of the present invention, and FIG. 15 through FIG. 24 show screen state drawings.
Referring to Figures 14 and 15, in terminals 130 and 140, if a user clicks a bi-directional auction icon on a window start screen, a bi-directional auction program is executed. For example, a user can gain access to a bi-directional auction site through the internet via a web browser. At step 1102, if access is gained to a bi-directional auction site, a server 100 and terminals 130 and 140 are interconnected through the internet 120. The server 100 provides a bi-directiona. auction homepage of FIG. 15 and displays a homepage screen on the terminal by the request of the terminal.
On the homepage screen of FIG. 15, there is a main menu including: home, member admission, purchase registration, selling offer, purchase list, registered goods list, and selling decision list. On the left of the screen is a goods retrieval tool. The gooos retrieval tool can perform retrieval using goods classifications or through character and number input such as goods name, goods registration number, purchase registration number, sale checking number, ano purchase price. The center of the screen displays information indicating the large classification name for goods retrieval and the number of purchase registration instances of each large classification. The displayed large classification name is only one example, and various large classifications and names thereof can be selected.
If the user clicks 1106 the member admission menu item on the homepage screen, a member admission screen of FIG. 16 is displayed 1108. If the user clicks buyer member on the member admission screen of FIG. 16, a buyer member input window is displayed as shown. If the user clicks seller member, a seller member input window, similar to the buyer member input window, is displayed. If the user inputs member information m the input fields of FIG. 16 and clicks the member admission button on the screen, the inputted member information is sent to the server 100 and registered in the BMDB or SMDB of database 110.
Referring again to Figure 15, if member admission is not selected at step 1106, the server 100 checks 1112 whether there is a goods retrieval command. A goods retrieval command is inputted by clicking one category among the large classification of goods displayed on the screen or using the retrieval tool on the left of the screen. If the user clicks "1. furniture/commodities" among the large classification m FIG. 15, a small and medium classification screen of FIG. 17 is displayed. If the user selects "lighting apparatus" on the small and medium classification screen of FIG. 17, a registered goods list screen of FIG. 18 is displayed 1114.
On FIG. 18, if the user clicks 1116 on a desired good, for example "inverter desk lamp" on the screen displayed at step 1114, a purchase registration list screen of an inverter desk lamp of FIG. 19 is displayed 1118.
If the user clicks "graph view" on the screen of FIG. 19, one can see the analysis graphs of FIG. 26 through FIG. 28. For example, one can see a graph depicting purchase quantity and accumulated purchase quantity as a function of purchase price (FIG. 26), a graph depicting decision purchase price as a function of time (FIG. 27), and a graph of decided accumulated purchase transaction amounts as a function of selling decision data and time (FIG. 28) . A buyer or a seller determines a desired purchase price by referring to the above graphs . On the screen of FIG. 19, if the user ci_cks 112C on one of the purchase prices, a selection window for selecting either purchasing or selling is displayed on the screen. If the user selects purchasing on the displayed selection window, the purchase registration screen of FIG. 21 is displayed 1126. If the user selects selling on the selection window, the selling offer screen of FIG. 23 is displayed 1134.
If the user clicks "view similar goods of the sa^e kind" on the screen of FIG. 19, the purchase registration lists of all the similar goods of the same kind is displayed as shown m FIG. 20. For example, one can see the purchase registration list of inverter desK lamp B and inverter desk lamp C. Therefore, one can look at the purchase registration situation for similar gooos of the same kind.
If the user clicks 1124 the purchase registration menu item on the main screen of FIG. 15, the purchase registration screen of FIG. 21 is displayed. If the user clicks 1132 the selling offer menu item on the main menu of FIG. 15, the selling offer screen of FIG. 23 is displayed. If the user clicks 1142 the purchase registration list menu item on the main screen of FIG. 15, the purchase registration list screen of step 1118 is displayed. Of course, because in this case there is no goods selection, a sequential listing of purchase registration numbers is displayed. If the user clicks 1144 the registered goods list menu item on the main screen of FIG. 15, the registered goods list screen of step 1114 is displayed. Again, because there is no category selection, a sequential listing of registered goods is displayed. In the case that a desired good is not registered at step 1114, the user selects the purchase registration menu item of FIG 15. to move to the purchase registration screen of FIG. 21, and then clicks en the purchase registration menu item on the screen of FIG. 21. On the purchase registration screen of FIG. 21, if the user clicks "new registered goods" on the screen to register new goods, all input fields are displayed as blank (without data) . The column of similar goods of the same kind is displayed as a blank column because there are no established similar goods of the same kind. If the user clicks "new purchase price registration", the name and model of recorded goods, and a list of registration numbers for these goods are displayed in the appropriate input fields.
If the user clicks "participation of registration purchase price" , the name and model of recorded goods a list of the corresponding registration numbers, and a purchase price selected in advance are displayed in input fields.
Thus, a buyer inputs 1128 purchase registration information using a desired input field. If the user inputs purchase quantity, the total amount of payment money and the purchase contract money are calculated automatically and displayed in the corresponding input field.
During the purchase registration mode, the user selects either the single registration mode or the plural registration mode. If the user selects the plural registration mode, plural registration is enabled. The selection of similar goods of the same kind can then be accomplished by checking the goods registration number in a drop-down selection box arranged on the right hand side of the window. If the user clicks each goods registration number, the user can see a related purchase registration list. The user can perform a purchase price registration on the purchase registration list screen of each similar goods of the same kind.
Inputted purchase registration information is transmitted to server 100 through the internet 120, and the transmitted purchase registration information is registered in various related databases. Then, a purchase registration confirmation screen of FIG. 22 is displayed 1130. The user checks the accuracy of the purchase registration number and registered content and, if they are accurate, then clicks a confirmation button on the purchase registration confirmation screen. The purchase registration procedure is then completed.
In the case of a plural registration mode, a purchase registration content for the iouyer' s plura_ιty of registrations is displayed. For example, FIG. 22 shows the case of a plural registration of similar goods of the same kind of 3 different companies. That is, the example shows the state of displaying the purchase registration content of inverter desk lamp B and C, which are similar goods of the same kind as inverter desk lamp A.
At step 1126, information related to purchase price selected by a seller is displayed withm the input fields on the purchase offer screen of FIG. 22. Such information may include the name of goods and model, purchase price, higher-price-accumulated purchase quantity, total amount, and sales contract money. A purchase offerer inputs 1128 only the content of seller ID, credit card number, term of card validity and name on card. After inputting, if the user clicks a bidirectional auction selling offer button on the bottom of the screen, the selling offer confirmation screen of FIG. 23 is displayed 1138. Inputted selling offer information is sent to the server 100 through the internet 120, and the server 100 processes the inputted selling offer information and registers the processed offer information in a related database. The server 10C then processes the receipt of sales contract money from the credit card settlement account of a seller. If the purchase contract money is received and the sale is determined, a selling confirmiation result such as the "congratulations: shown in FIG. 24 is displayed.
If the user clicks the "next' button on the screen after the selling confirmation result is displayed, a delivery list screen of FIG. 25 is displayed 1140. Contents of the delivery list include the names of all buyers related to the purchase price selected by the seller, the names of all buyers related to all higher purchase prices, purchase quantity, address, and an emergency contact. A seller prints the delivery list and delivers goods to each buyer on the list. The seller then provides a receipt confirmation signature to a bidirectional auction operator after sales money and sales contract money, minus commission, are settled.
One example mentioned above is the case where only a seller who can supply the whole quantity of higher- price-accumulated purchase quantity can make an offer to sell. This is to secure purchase quantity of lower price in order to induce a large amount of sales.
Alternatively, it is possible to offer sales of a portion of the higher-price-accumulated purchase quantity, even when a seller cannot secure the wr.oie quantity. In this case, the buyers are determined, and the transaction is consummated, according to the purchase registration ranking among the total buyers related to the selected purchase price and higher purchase prices. The other buyers outside the ranking are maintained as they are. The use of this method will induce competition for the purchase registration of buyers .
In the above-mentioned example, a credit card settlement method is described, but settlement methods such as an electronic bank transfer or electronic money such as cyber money or e-money are possible.
Also, the above-described example illustrates the display of the closing % of the day to help to establish a sales strategy. It is also possible to show tne change in rate of purchase registration per hour, the purchase quantity corresponding to each purchase price, and the higher-price-accumulated purchase quantity in the form of various graphs. Moreover, it is preferable to show analysis data or an analysis graph for analyzing the purchase registration situation of a buyer to determine sales strategy. As described nereinabove, the present invention can obtain tne effect of mass sales and the effect of reducing purchase price due to mass sales simultaneously by allowing sellers to make selling offers competitively according to his or her own sales strategy, and by opening information to a number of sellers through internet. Such information can include various purchase prices for the same goods, the purchase quantity according to each purchase price, the nigher- price-accumulated purchase quantity, and the total sales. Also, sellers in groups and buyers in groups participate m purchases and sales competitively because buyers tend to participate at a purchase price having a high possibility of transaction consummation so that selling price is determined to lower price. Therefore, it is possible to embody a complete free market competition principle on the internet by allowing the purchase price to be determined synergistically through mutual competition. The present invention can be embodied in tne form of computer-implemented processes and apparatuses for practicing those processes. The present invention can also be embodied m the form of computer program code containing instructions embodied m tangible media, such as floppy diskettes, CD-ROMs, hard drives, or any otner computer-readable storage medium, wherein, when the computer program code is loaded into and executed by a computer, the computer becomes an apparatus for practicing the invention. The present invention can also be embodied in the form of computer program code, for example, whether stored in a storage medium, loaded into and/or executed by a computer, or transmitted over some transmission medium, such as over electrical wiring or cabling, through fiber optics, or via electromagnetic radiation, wherein, when the computer program code is loaded into and executed by a computer, the computer becomes an apparatus for practicing tne invention. When implemented on a general-purpose microprocessor, the computer program code segments configure the microprocessor to create specific logic circuits. While the invention has been described with reference to a preferred embodiment, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted for elements thereof without departing from tne scope of the invention. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the invention without departing from the essential scope thereof. Therefore, it is intended tnat the invention not be limited to the particular embodiment disclosed as the best mode contemplated for carrying out this invention, but that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims. What is claimed is :
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