Amazon or eBay: A Sellers’ Guide to Choosing the Right Site

The two most popular sites for online sellers, it would be difficult for Amazon and eBay to be more different. You can find staunch supporters of either platform, but this will bring you no closer to determining which is the better option for you – Amazon or eBay. Instead, by examining what makes these two sites so different, you can decide which would better fit your requirements.

Concept –

Amazon is a marketplace with reviews of products and fixed products. In contrast, although eBay also has the option to “Buy It Now,” allowing customers to purchase products immediately, it also has a popular auction feature. This allows multiple users to bid on a product, driving the price up.

Types of Items –

Listing on Amazon is fast and easy: simply find your product, write a one-sentence description, and choose a price. There’s no need to maintain your inventory beyond changing the number of items you have available and adapting prices. You can also list products not already on the site provided they have a UPC or EAN code.

For unique items, eBay is the better (and sometimes the only) option. You’ll have the chance to describe your product in full, upload your own pictures, and add tags to ensure users find the listing.

Fees –

There are no fees to list on Amazon until you make a sale. If your items fail to sell, you can list them again without paying anything. On eBay, however, you must pay every time you list an item. Bear in mind that multiple re-listings may eat into your profits.

Shipping –

You have no option to set your own shipping rates on Amazon: shipping is automatic, calculated according to location and type of product. In theory, this should make your life easier. However, as shipping rates are not always accurate, it is best to calculate for yourself and adjust prices accordingly to ensure you always receive the amount you expect from sales. eBay, on the other hand, gives you full control of shipping costs.

Another difference between the two sites in regard to shipping is contact with the customer. On Amazon, you have minimal contact — you simply receive the buyer’s address. On eBay, you receive the full contact information of the customer, which you can use to discuss shipping and other aspects of the transaction. It is even possible to meet in-person to hand over the goods.

Neither Amazon or eBay is inherently better, but picking the right platform for your needs can have a huge impact on profits. Choose between the two by considering all the above criteria, taking into consideration that some products may be better suited for one and some items for the other.

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