Selling on Amazon vs eBay – Which eCommerce Platform is Best for Your Business

Even though many things have changed when it comes to selling online, eBay and Amazon still remain the top e-commerce contenders. When choosing the best platform for your business, it’s important to..

Adam Eleiko
Adam Eleiko
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Selling on Amazon vs eBay – Which Commerce Platform is Best for Your Business

selling on amazon vs ebay

Even though many things have changed when it comes to selling online, eBay and Amazon still remain the top e-commerce contenders. When choosing the best platform for your business, it’s important to know which one will suit your needs. This means looking at which one is easiest for you to use and will make sense for you financially.

To get you the answer you’re looking for, we’ll compare a few of the areas that would be the focus of an e-commerce business. These are:

  • The Competitive Risk
  • The selling experience
  • Customer preferences
  • The relevant fees

The Competitive Risk

selling an amazon vs ebay competitive risk

When you’re using an e-commerce platform, it’s a given that you will have some competition from other sellers. However, with Amazon, you could be competing with the online giant itself.

According to Market Watch, Amazon uses data from its third-party sellers to inform its decisions about developing competing products. Some of the information the company uses to do that includes your total sales, how much money you’ve spent on its marketing tools, and how much money it made from each of your sales. If Amazon determines your product has earning potential, it can go ahead and create its own product, which will be in direct competition to yours.

With eBay, that’s not a concern. There’s no evidence that the company is creating or distributing any products of its own. Its revenue model is still based on the fees it collects from its sellers.

In a nutshell: Amazon may compete with you if your sales are attractive, but eBay won’t. In this case, you can choose either one if you’re not concerned about the risk of competition. Of course, if your product is patented or far from original, this point won’t affect you.

The Selling Experience


selling on amazon vs ebay the selling experience

In this section, we’ll look at all the moving parts that go into selling on Amazon and eBay. That will cover areas such as signing up, putting up your product for sale, and perhaps most importantly, getting paid. With both sites, signing up is fairly easy. The aim is to ensure the companies get all the information that’s needed to make the rest of the process go smoothly.

When you’re ready to put your product up for sale, there are a few notable differences. Amazon generally offers more potential categories for your products. In some cases, you can add your product to as many as 30 different categories. This can increase the likelihood of a customer seeing your product depending on what keywords they have used in their search.

eBay, on the other hand, has more general categories and you might not pop up during a search as easily as you would on Amazon. Still, that doesn’t mean you’ll get lost in the sea of sellers. Take a look at the next point.

Amazon has a streamlined look for its online marketplace. Even if you use better product pictures, your overall page will look the same as everyone else’s. That can make it difficult for you to stand out. If you’re counting on other points such as brand loyalty price, or originality to appeal to your buyers, however, this wouldn’t matter to you.


ebay vs amazon

With eBay, you have the option to customize your selling pages. You can make your ads flashier and harder to ignore, which would get more eyes on what you’re selling. For persons with the skills to make ads ‘pop’, eBay would certainly be more appealing.

Once you’ve made a sale, it’s time to get the product to the customer. Depending on how much work you’re willing to put in, this could be where you choose Amazon. The company has a Fulfil by Amazon (FBA) option that will make your life easier if you’re not interested in packing and shipping your products yourself.

Unfortunately, you don’t have that with eBay. Having sold the product, it will be up to you to get it to your customer.

One interesting point that sometimes divides sellers and buyers is Amazon’s return and refund policies. According to a recent survey, buyers feel confident buying with Amazon because its policies for customers who are dissatisfied are clear and easily navigated.


ebay vs amazon customer service

Sellers, however, are not as happy as they feel the policies can sometimes be manipulated.

eBay’s policies for returns and refunds are less clear cut.

amazon vs ebay return policy

In fact, sellers have the option to disallow returns. While this might not sit well with some buyers, it can be a relief to sellers. If you’re selling second-hand items, especially, you might not want to give buyers too much leeway to send them back or request a full refund.

Finally, what about getting paid? At this point, the only way to get your money from eBay is through PayPal. This might not be an issue for you because, with the right set-up, your money will only be a few clicks of a mouse away. There is a fee associated with this service, though.

With Amazon, you can easily opt for a direct deposit to their bank accounts when signing up for a sellers’ account, which eliminates any extra steps. Overall, your money will hit your account more quickly if you choose Amazon.

In a nutshell: Once again, it depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re not too worried about standing out from the crowd and don’t want the hassle of sending packages, then Amazon is your best bet. For those who want to be a bit more ‘hands-on’, you should go with eBay. If you’d like the option to deny returns or refunds based on the product you’re selling, eBay would work well for you.

Customer Preferences

is it better to sell on ebay or amazon customer preferences

This is an important one. After all, the whole point of e-commerce is getting your product into the right customer’s hands. So what do customers prefer and how well do these platforms reach them?

Typically, you can sell new and used items on Amazon, but the e-commerce site is definitely skewed towards new products. This can make it hard for you to get buyers if you’re selling second-hand items. In any case, recent surveys show that customers are more likely to check Amazon for new products. They are also more interested in brand names and product quality than prices.

Persons who are already subscribed to Amazon Prime are also less prone to looking anywhere else for their purchases.

selling on ebay vs amazon prime

With over 95 million Americans signed up for the premier service, you could be missing out if your products aren’t on Amazon.

While eBay is well-known for selling used products, they actually have new products on sale as well. If you’re selling on eBay, you won’t be restricted in what you’re able to sell. This includes branded products that tend to be banned by Amazon. As far as buyers go, you’ll be able to reach those who are looking for both new and second-hand items when you use eBay. Bear in mind, however, buyers using eBay are usually looking for a bargain so you’re not going to be getting top dollar for your item.

If you’re comparing figures, Amazon has the edge. 49.1% of e-commerce sales in 2018 were made through Amazon and it’s expected to rise to even higher in 2020.

amazon vs ebay amazon ecommerce sales

In contrast, there were 183 million active buyers on eBay at last count in March 2020. While eBay scored over 100 million unique monthly visitors in 2018, nearly twice that number were looking at Amazon.

For global sales, both sites will give you access internationally. However, Amazon shipping is currently available in 45 countries while eBay can ship to over 100.

In a nutshell: If you’re selling a second-hand item or a brand that’s banned on Amazon, stick to eBay. Customers who are looking for your item will find you and you’ll have a greater shipping reach. Sellers who are looking to get more eyes on their new products, however, should do better with Amazon.

The Relevant Fees

The last thing we need to look at is how eBay and Amazon compare when it comes to fees. In previous years, eBay’s fees were harder to understand. Since then, they have simplified their fee structure to a 10% flat rate. This is separate from the fees that are charged to have your money transferred to your PayPal account. You should also factor in any fees that could be charged if you go over your allotted number of free listings.

Amazon’s fee structure, on the other hand, is less straightforward. There’s a $0.99 listing charge, a referral fee that can be as high as 45%, and a variable closing fee. For some products, the closing fee is calculated based on their weight, instead of what they are. At that rate, selling your product on Amazon might not net you the profits you’re hoping for.

In a nutshell: From a purely financial perspective, eBay is the more profitable option. As with the other things on this list, though, do your comparison with specific items so you can have actual figures to compare. That would make the decision more objective.

Conclusion

amazon vs ebay

Based on everything we’ve looked at in this article, you can definitely see the pros and cons of using either e-commerce platform. Amazon has a lot to offer in terms of the number of buyers who will see your items but you run the risk of having your successful product copied. The Amazon platform may not work for you if you’re selling a used item or something that it has banned. You might not have to deal with creating a customized product ad or shipping your product, but there’s a price to pay for that.

When it comes to eBay, your ideal customer might be waiting for you to show up. If you’re not selling something eBay’s customers are looking for though, you might be losing out by ignoring Amazon. With the right product and the willingness to handle the shipping, you’ll have access to more countries with eBay, as well as more of the profits. Don’t forget that eBay’s return policies are more favorable to sellers and that could be beneficial for you.

In the end, the best e-commerce platform is the one that works for your business. It’s recommended that you dig into what each one has to offer and see how your products fit in.

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Adam Eleiko
Adam Eleiko
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