Choosing between selling on Amazon vs. eBay can make the difference between building on your business's success and bringing your online sales to a screeching halt.
While they both have long histories as online marketplaces, the two are drastically different from one another.
So, is it better to sell on eBay or Amazon?
In this article, we'll go over the pros and cons of both platforms to help you decide which one will work best for your business.
Amazon: Pros and Cons for sellers
Massive market share
Amazon boasts of a sizable advantage over the competition when it comes to sheer market share—the online retail giant practically controls the space.
Just take it from analysts at Bernstein: “In typical Internet fashion, a winner-take-most model played out with Amazon now accounting for 40% of US [gross merchandise volume].”
Thanks to Amazon's large number of regular customers, it’s much easier for sellers to make sales than it would be on other platforms. Amazon has a reported US ecommerce market share of over 49% in stark contrast to eBay’s 6.6%.
You need visibility on such a crowded marketplace—and AccelerList can help. It combines competitor pricing research and optimized product listing solutions in a single, seamless suite.
On a huge platform like Amazon, scanning and listing products manually can be an unavoidable time-suck. Not to mention, restricted product categories don’t make it any easier for sellers. AccelerList helps here, too, with intelligent alerts for restricted products through the Profit Print Chrome extension as you scan.
Flexible fulfillment options
Ensuring customers receive the items they’ve ordered on time—and in working condition—keeps them coming back for more, while shipping slip-ups can cause them to close the door for good.
Amazon shines by offering sellers the choice between fulfilling their own orders or using the company's in-house shipping solution. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) covers all bases of the shipping process: picking, packing, shipping, returns, and even customer service.
To use FBA, you simply set it up in your account and send your products to one of Amazon's warehouses. This can easily expand your business's reach to countries around the world, while incurring a minimal base fee as well as shipping fees.
High(er) fees for sellers
Amazon charges fees as high as 45% for some product categories. Clothing fees, for instance, are as high as 17% of the price and artwork fees can reach 20%.
Navigating Amazon’s varied fee structure is difficult to do manually. Fortunately, you can simplify the process with special pricing utilities like AccelerList’s Profit Reprice, which helps you set appropriate pricing with ease.
With clear integration in your AccelerList dashboard, Profit Reprice gives you a simple minimum profit protection option that can be changed quickly as you list items. You can also access detailed reporting options, featuring visualized repricing events and sales figures to simplify strategic adjustments.
Mixed reviews of seller support
Some sources say Amazon’s seller support has improved over the last few years, while others insist it’s as bad as ever for sellers new to the space. Generally, it seems as though many sellers may have a hard time getting through to the support team at Amazon whenever an issue arises.
eBay: Pros and cons for sellers
Open to (almost) any product
While sellers may be dismayed by Amazon's restrictive product quality standards, they should feel more than welcome on eBay, where used and unrefined products are sold to happy customers every single day.
eBay makes it easier to sell items that wouldn’t be allowed on Amazon (such as used parts, used clothing, etc.); however, not all items can be sold on eBay. Among many other things, most forms of alcohol are prohibited (with the exception of wine).
Low(er) fees for sellers
The selling fees on eBay are fairly straightforward and lower than Amazon's by about 3% on average.
By using eBay, you can take advantage of the platform's smaller percentage with or without an "eBay Store," though setting up a store further lowers the base fee from 10% to 9.15%. An important difference between eBay and Amazon's fee structures to keep in mind, however, is that eBay uses PayPal, leading to an additional 2.9% fee plus $0.30 getting added to the base fee.
Risk of buyer scams
Malicious buyers (and sometimes competitors) can negatively impact your account's overall rating with unfair negative reviews. This tactic is especially effective against new sellers who don’t have many sales or positive reviews to preserve their score on the website.
New sellers can sometimes even be forced to issue refunds by customers falsely claiming an order never arrived. They may also threaten to leave negative reviews if they don’t get a refund.
Protection against these types of malicious buyers is a bit lacking on eBay, leaving sellers to navigate a complex system of buyer-leaning legalities and policies. Most buyers aren’t malicious, but those who are pose a real threat to new sellers' success.
Opaque product visibility practices
When companies choose eBay, they’re thrust into a marketplace ruled by the platform's mysterious "best match" search algorithm which may arbitrarily erase their products' presence for browsing buyers, leading to lost sales and revenue. Worst of all, there’s not much sellers can do when this happens.
Selling on Amazon vs. eBay
If you need flexibility, lower fees, and a wide-reaching customer base, eBay might be for you. If you’re looking for an established platform that can help with order fulfillment and customer service, you’ll find it on Amazon.
When you're ready to start selling and want to fast-track your product listings on either of these two retail giants, AccelerList can help. Start your trial today to see how!