Selling on Amazon vs eBay: What is the Difference?

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If you’re thinking of becoming an online seller, Amazon and eBay are probably at the top of your list. Amazon and eBay are a couple of the oldest online selling platforms. They rank #1 and #3 on Web Retailer’s list of highest performing ecommerce sites. 

We take a look at the benefits of selling on Amazon and eBay and discuss the differences between an eBay vs. Amazon seller. 

Pros of Selling on Amazon and eBay

Two of the most significant benefits of selling on these platforms is their audience and their reputation. As a new seller, you have some great products to sell, but you probably also have some concerns.

  • Who are your buyers? 
  • How will you get potential customers to visit your website?
  • How can you build trust with these potential customers? 

Selling on Amazon or eBay can solve those issues. Billions of people visit these sites every month because they trust the quality of the products. And most wouldn’t hesitate to trust them with their payment information either.

Another benefit of selling on Amazon or eBay is the convenience factor. These sites appeal to the one-stop-shop mentality. It’s more convenient for shoppers to purchase all the products they’re looking for in one place. Plus, if they frequently buy on Amazon or eBay, purchasing is rarely more than a couple clicks away.

Cons of Selling on Amazon and eBay

The biggest drawback when it comes to selling on a big platform like Amazon or eBay is the merchant fees. If you don’t do your research and carefully price your items, these fees could cut into your profits. It might mean that you have to sell your products for more than you wanted just to make a profit.

If you sell on multiple platforms, it can be challenging to keep track of inventory. Why? Because selling a product on one site won’t automatically update the other sites that you sell on.

Another challenge is that you have less control. Amazon and eBay don’t want you to create a following on their platform and then move your sales elsewhere (like onto your own website). Some sellers have done that successfully, but it isn’t easy. Amazon and eBay might limit your branding, interactions with your customers, and so on. So that’s something to consider if your goal is to stop using platforms like these eventually.

So you’ve thought through the pros and cons of selling on large marketplaces and you’ve decided that they’re just what you need right now. After a bit of research, you’ve narrowed it down: Amazon or eBay. Which one should you use? Aren’t they pretty much the same anyway? Keep reading to learn more about each marketplace.

What You Should Know About Selling on eBay

eBay is an advocate for online sellers like you. Whether you’re an individual, small business, or large organization, eBay will welcome you as a seller. 

Unlike Amazon, they don’t compete with their sellers. If you’re comparing eBay vs. Amazon seller benefits, this is noteworthy. Amazon takes a big piece of the pie as a seller. With eBay, their success ultimately depends on your success. How does that benefit you? eBay provides sellers with educational programs like Retail Revival and the eBay for Business podcast. These programs teach you how to sell on eBay successfully.

Of course, you’ll have to pay merchant fees on any platform you choose. But Ebay’s costs are usually lower than Amazon’s. So if you have a tight budget, eBay might be the best choice.

Auction Listings vs. Buy-it-Now Listings

eBay offers two different types of listings for your products: Auction and Buy-it-Now. Buy-it-Now allows you to list items at a fixed price. That’s how most eBay products are listed. However, you can also choose the auction option. You can set a time frame for your auction, set a minimum price, and then let the bidding begin! At the end of the auction, the highest bidder wins.

Auction listings are great if you have a rare or low-stock item that’s in high demand. But Buy-it-Now is the way to go if you have a large volume of a particular product or something you sell regularly.

Challenges of Selling on eBay

If Ebay’s so great, then what’s the catch? Here are some things to consider before selling on eBay.

  • There are added fees for selling in more than one category.
  • You’re responsible for packing and shipping your products.
  • eBay doesn’t offer any inventory storage.
  • There are low selling limits for new eBay sellers.

Plus, when it comes to eBay selling vs. Amazon FBA, eBay doesn’t have a program that can compete with that.

How to Become an eBay Seller

Now that you know everything you need to know about eBay, how can you become an eBay seller? Should you get a personal account or a business account? 

If you’re just planning to sell items from your home that you don’t need or use anymore, a personal account is perfect for that. It’s for the more casual seller. But if you have bulk inventory to sell or if you’re planning to do a lot of buying and reselling, a business account would suit you better.

After you’ve figured out what type of account you want, registering with eBay is quick and easy.

  1. Go to an eBay website like ebay.com.
  2. Click on “register” in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.
  1. Choose the account type you prefer.
  2. Fill in all the requested information.
  3. Click “register.”

Once you’re registered, you can go to any eBay page and click the little “sell” button at the top. It’ll walk you through everything you need to do to list your products. Are you done? Congratulations! You’re officially an eBay seller!

What You Should Know About Selling on Amazon

Although Amazon is the pricier option, it has many features that eBay doesn’t. The Amazon Prime membership program is a big draw for sellers. 

Why? Members are more likely to shop on Amazon frequently because they pay a monthly fee. And they don’t want it to go to waste. 

On average, non-Prime shoppers spend $600 a year on Amazon, while Prime members pay $1400 a year. It’s fast, easy, and reliable, everything an online shopper wants.

But Amazon’s dedication to customer satisfaction isn’t all that they offer their sellers. The real golden ticket is their FBA program.

eBay Selling vs. Amazon FBA

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Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA) is a program that solves many of the headaches of selling online. What can Amazon FBA do for you?

  • Amazon will store your inventory in their warehouses.
  • FBA takes care of packing, shipping, and order tracking
  • They handle all refunds and returns.
  • FBA provides round-the-clock customer service over the phone, via chat, and by email
  • You get discounted shipping rates.
  • Fast delivery

Amazon FBA pays you every two weeks. They deduct any merchant fees from your earnings and then automatically deposit the rest into your account. When comparing eBay vs. Amazon seller benefits, this is hard to beat. The whole process is relatively hands-off.

Without Amazon FBA, you’d have to rent or buy a warehouse to store your inventory, deal with packaging and shipping, and occasionally take calls from unsatisfied customers who want their money back. That sounds exhausting, expensive, and time-consuming. With this program, you leave the details to Amazon and focus on other aspects of your business.

Challenges of Selling on Amazon

But, of course, it’s not all butterflies and rainbows. Amazon has its challenges too. Here are a few things to think about before becoming an Amazon seller.

  • Amazon makes recommendations and comparisons to assist its shoppers, resulting in a highly competitive environment for sellers.
  • Amazon’s biggest seller is… well, Amazon. So you’re competing against them too. And they can easily undercut you.
  • More expensive fees.
  • In the FBA program, you have to keep inventory moving to avoid racking up storage fees.

How to Become an Amazon Seller

Do you want to become an Amazon seller? The process is pretty straightforward. There are two types of seller accounts: individual and professional. Individuals can sell 40 products in 20 different categories for $1 each. Professionals can sell in up to 30 categories (possibly including some of Amazon’s restricted categories). Professionals pay a monthly fee of $39.99.

Similar to Ebay’s personal account, individual accounts on Amazon are useful for casual sellers who might want to make some extra cash off of things they have around the house. The professional plan is for those who are planning to move a lot of products. But you can switch from the individual plan to the professional plan later if you want to start slow.

Unlike eBay, Amazon also gives you two possible fulfillment methods. FBA, as described before, is a pretty hands-off method. Amazon takes care of storing, packing, and shipping your products. They provide excellent customer service, and it’s easier to expose your products to prime members. 

The FBM (Fulfilled By Merchant) option might mean a little more leg work for you. But you’d also have fewer fees and a little more control over the process. An FBM seller has the option of fulfilling orders himself or using a third-party fulfillment center. This option means you’d need to figure out where to store your inventory and how to care for customer-service related issues. But on the flip side, you wouldn’t have to adhere to Amazon’s stringent FBA requirements.

That might feel like a lot to think about, but remember that you’re not married to these decisions. Amazon makes it easy for you to change your account type and fulfillment method at any time. Have you made your choices? Great! Now there are just a few simple steps ahead of you.

  1. Go to Amazon’s Seller Central page.
  2. Click the “sign up” button in the upper right-hand corner.
  1. Fill in all the required fields. They’ll ask for your business’s name and address, necessary tax information, phone number, and payment information.
  2. Select your account type.
  3. Select your preferred method of fulfillment.

Have you finished? Nice job! You’re now an Amazon seller!

eBay vs. Amazon Seller – What’s the Best Choice for You?

eBay and Amazon can both give you access to a huge audience that would be hard (if not impossible) to build on your own. There are pros and cons to becoming a seller on either site. Generally speaking, one isn’t necessarily better than the other. But there might be one that’s better for YOU. It depends on what your goals and preferences are as a seller.

If you just want the cheapest option, eBay is probably your best bet. eBay is also suitable for those who prefer to be more hands-on throughout the selling process. Plus, they offer educational materials and programs to help you grow your business.

When comparing eBay vs. Amazon FBA, you’re looking at price versus convenience. If you want someone to take on the bulk of the selling process so you can focus on other aspects of your business, Amazon is the way to go. Amazon FBA means higher merchant fees, but it’s probably cheaper than what you’d spend on your own.

If you have more of a garage-sale approach to selling and it’s not part of a business plan, both Amazon and eBay have good options for that. Their personal/individual accounts are inexpensive and user friendly.

So Amazon or eBay: which platform is best for you? The best platform is the one that more closely addresses your needs. Feel free to refer back to this guide so you can make a fully informed decision.