Oct 262013

In the battle for ecommerce, it’s eBay vs Amazon. Each is trying nonstop to lure new independent sellers to their site. Both have taken huge steps to try to gain the largest market share. Each site has its own pros and cons, and each site has some things where it really excels over the other.

In our article we will compare and contrast these two online giants to help sellers decide which is the better option for them, We will also take a look at which is the cheaper way to go depending on what selling niche you’re in.

Selling on Amazon

Amazon has made a name for themselves as a great place to sell your merchandise. It is easy to join and manage your account, plus you will get access to millions of buyers, far more than on eBay. The selling experience here is very mechanical, as there are notifications for just about everything. Such as when your item has sold and when your money has been sent.

Amazon.com website.

Indeed, Amazon has everything down to a science. It just feels professional and streamlined. Listing an item is really easy.  You do not even have to take a picture. All you have to do is enter the model number or ISBN code of whatever item you want to sell and then describe and price the item. Then, all you have to do is wait.

The costs on Amazon are fair as well. You can either sell for $.99 USD per item, or you can sign up for an upgrade that costs about $40 per month and provides free listings. The latter option also allows you to list an item that is not yet available on the site, though this is obviously rare.

With the former, you will not pay anything if your item does not sell since no listing price is charged until the item is sold. Other fees include referral fees that average at about 15% of the sale price and also the variable closing fee for media that is $1.35 per item. There are also many services that Amazon provides, such as fulfillment and payment that could cost a dollar or two more depending on what you have decided to utilize.

For managing your account Amazon has many tools. These include the aforementioned notifications, as well as tools for your shop page and the ability to see what price other shops are selling their products.

As for payments, Amazon doles them out to sellers at a fairly slow rate and the money can take two weeks to reach your account. Again, this is part of the mechanical feel of selling on Amazon compared to selling eBay.

Selling on Ebay

The selling experience on eBay is actually quite different from Amazon. For starters, you have to make not only an eBay account, but you also need to make an account with Paypal. Paypal is the normal method of payment on the site and will be required in order to sell there.

eBay website.

The selling process is also a little more complicated than on Amazon. You must take a picture of each item you want to sell, write a bidding narrative for the item, and then set up the specifics. These specifics include price, shipping costs (free if you so desire), and whether you want your sale to be standard or an auction. It is true, however, that you will get your money from the sale much faster than on Amazon, as the money will simply be put in your Paypal account.

The fees associated with eBay are much more confusing, though. There is a listing fee of $0.30 USD per item, but this only applies after the standard 50 free listings per month. It is also possible to subscribe to eBay in order to have a shop on the site. You can sign up for a basic store for $19.95 per month, a premium store for $59.95 per month, or an anchor store for $199.95 per month.

These stores each come with their own levels of free listings (ranging from 150 to 2500) and also listing prices after free listings have been used (ranging from $0.25 to $0.05 per item). So, technically, a larger scale store could escape listing prices altogether via a subscription.

On top of these fees, there is also a final value fee that eBay takes from the sale price. This is 10% for normal sellers, and varies for different kinds of items for eBay subscribers. One must also not forget the Paypal payment processing fees that are 2.9% + $0.30 USD of the final price.

Ebay provides many tools for understanding the consumer base, and also for managing your account. For example, eBay allows you to see what price others are listing their products at with their completed item search and allows you to see at what rate those products are selling.

Comparing Ebay and Amazon

In deciding between selling on eBay or Amazon, personal preference seems to be the driving force. This is simply because there is no major difference in cost of selling on one over the other. When you add up the fees for both Amazon and eBay, the difference is negligible. It costs about the same. So it really has more to do with what you are selling, condition of your item, and how much control you want.

That being said, Amazon is the clear winner when it comes to selling new or like new items. The buyers on this site are usually looking for new products, and it is much more difficult to list an item in bad condition.

eBay, on the other hand, is the king of selling old items. It is the go-to place for selling old toys or other items that have aged well and are enjoying a rise in price. This is because eBay allows for auction sales, something that some sellers love. In other words, Amazon is better for more mass-produced items that are all alike, while eBay is better for one-of-a-kind or rare products.

The issue of control is also important. Amazon takes most of the control out of the seller’s hands. This makes it easier, more mechanical, and more conducive to beginners. However, it can also be frustrating as there are fewer options and you have less control of pricing and shipping. Ebay, on the other hand, allows you to set whatever pricing and shipping you want. This comes at the expense of a streamlined process and easier access for buyers. There are more steps to sell your item, but this only indicates the level of freedom. It is more time intensive, but more personal.

The Verdict

For my opinion, I would choose Amazon. It gets the job done, and is just easier. You are also more likely to make a sale, as Amazon supports you with lots of discovery tools. Ebay is a great place to sell as well, but it is more for a certain kind of seller that wants control, a very forum-like atmosphere, and the ability to sell older items. In the end eBay is for lovers of selling and Amazon is for those that just want to get the selling done.

  3 Responses to “Selling on Ebay vs Amazon Which is Better?”

  1. Tired of people saying Amazon is better- NO they are not! Ebay is way easier to start with selling and you don’t have the hassles of requesting to sell in certain categories, giving them your birth certificate, right hand, etc. Paying $40 a month to sell maybe 1 or 2 items.

    For me it’s Ebay!

  2. I had decided to use Amazon and was all ready to go, but then I was told I had to sign up for a “seller’s account” and the terms & conditions were absolutely abominable–a total of 33,819 words. That would take me nearly four hours to read! And you can’t just “agree” to the terms, reading it is mandatory. I cannot use Amazon for this reason alone and I am surprised there is a single person on the planet who has had the patience to spend hours reading through all that incessant legal drivel.

  3. Try vFlea.com – a better alternative and great customer service.

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