You want to be selling your stuff online? Welcome to the club!
Online retail provides amazing opportunities to reach a huge crowd and carve out your niche. In fact, retail ecommerce worldwide reached 4.2 trillion dollars in 2020 and its share of global sales will go up to 21.8 percent by 2024.
So, what are you waiting for? The moment provides perfect opportunities to build your business and start making some (or even a lot of) cash.
Obviously, this optimistic picture is a bit over-simplified. To be a successful online retailer, you’ll have to make a couple of strategic decisions. Choosing the right platform to sell on is one of them.
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Amazon and eBay are two of the biggest marketplaces you should definitely look into. But how do they compare? Which one’s better? Which one’s cheaper? So many questions to answer and so little time! Today, we’ll try to give you a detailed comparison to make the decision about selling on Amazon vs. eBay a little bit easier. Let’s check out the essentials.
The Market Size: How Do eBay and Amazon Match Up
Selling is all about reaching the right people and convincing them you’re their guy or gal. This is why you need to understand the market share and demographic profile of a digital platform that you plan to employ.
When examining potential clients, however, you shouldn’t just look at market size and take into account the latest statistics on where shoppers usually begin searching for the desired products.
Amazon is very well known for its customer-centric approach. This means that building your reputation and winning the trust of potential clients is easier on Amazon, especially if you’re committed to product quality and exceptional customer service.
Amazon’s customer support is stellar – there are guarantees, return policies, customer reviews and many other perks for clients to enjoy. eBay gives the seller more freedom but creates some difficulties for buyers who’d like to return products or get a refund.
Final verdict: Amazon has a bigger audience and it also provides easier opportunities to build trust and ensure client satisfaction.
Types of Products to Be Selling on Amazon vs. eBay
Next comes the product range sellers can present on either platform. The good news is that both Amazon and eBay offer a lot of freedom when it comes to selling a huge range of stuff. It doesn’t matter if you’d like to feature auto parts or organic cosmetics you’ve concocted via special recipes – you can do both.
If you haven’t made up your mind about what to sell, you may want to explore some of the most popular product categories on Amazon and eBay.
Looking at best-sellers and featured products can give you a pretty good idea about what’s hot and what potential buyers are seeking.
Statistics right now suggest that some of the top product categories on Amazon include:
- toys and games,
- electronics and gadgets,
- books and ebooks,
- home accessories.
In comparison, eBay sellers rock categories like:
- clothes and fashion,
- home and garden.
These lists don’t mean you can’t sell other stuff on eBay or Amazon. In fact, seeking out a smaller niche that isn’t over-populated yet could be a good approach towards business establishment. The examples listed above just illustrate what buyers are currently most interested in.
Final verdict: Both Amazon and eBay provide excellent opportunities to sell a diversified range of products. If you’re interested in selling second-hand items or collectibles, eBay may be a better platform.
Fees: What Will It Cost You?
When assessing selling on Amazon vs. eBay, we also have to talk about fees and charges.
Amazon Seller Fees
The type of product being sold and the fulfillment method will determine the seller fees on Amazon. The good news is that Amazon gives you access to a convenient selling calculator you can use to determine what percentage of the product price will go to the platform itself.
The expenses you have to account for include a seller plan (either per item or per month, depending on the subscription you choose), referral fees, fulfillment fees and potential other costs like long-term storage fees.
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Ebay Seller Fees
Here’s a detailed guide on eBay seller fees that shed light on the costs.
The charges will once again vary on the basis of product category. Depending on the sales volume and the price of an individual item, the fee could either be a percentage of the price or a fixed amount. eBay gives you a very thorough chart you can use to calculate charges and costs within the sector you’re interested in.
This one’s fairly easy to discuss due to the fact that eBay doesn’t give you a ton of freedom as far as fulfillment goes.
In other words, you have to pack and ship items yourself.
Some sellers really enjoy this opportunity because it ensures autonomy and freedom from corporate models. If you’d like to get a bit of assistance with fulfillment, however, Amazon may be a better choice for you.
Amazon gives you two choices:
- Fulfillment by merchant (FBM): in essence, this is the option you have with eBay. You’re the sole entity responsible for how fulfilment is going to be handled. There aren’t any differences between eBay fulfillment and the FBM methodology put together by Amazon. Anyone looking for self-sufficiency can count on both.
- Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA): this is the perk that really sets Amazon apart from other ecommerce platforms out there. In this case, Amazon offers a lot of assistance in terms of picking up items, storing them and shipping them to clients whenever you have an order. Returns and refunds are also handled by the Amazon team, which is a nice added perk. Obviously, the fees are higher when you choose FBA as your fulfillment method but you could benefit from more affordable warehousing and shipping than in the case of handling such processes on your own.
Final verdict: If you want to deal with fulfillment on your own, you can use both eBay and Amazon. For managed fulfillment that eliminates the burden of warehousing and shipping, Fulfillment by Amazon gives you a better choice.
Advertising, Marketing and Outreach Tools
When selling, you also have to think about promotion. Because after all, you could have the best product on the face of the planet but you’re not going to accomplish anything if people don’t know about it.
Amazon Advertising Methods
To reach more people, you can try Amazon Sponsored Products. The program allows your products to reach the first page for certain keywords that buyers are interested in. This is a pay per click (PPC) opportunity, which means you spend money every time someone generates a click via a relevant keyword.
But needless to say, if you’re serious, you’re not going to rely solely on Amazon promotion to reach customers. Social media marketing, search engine optimization and even email outreach will be required to get people seeing your products.
Sure, you can get started by counting solely on the Amazon marketing tools. Such an approach, however, isn’t optimal and it will deprive you of huge opportunities to ensure the long-term sustainability of your business.
eBay Advertising Methods
eBay Promoted Listings are the answer to Amazon Sponsored Products. The program works pretty much in the same way, allowing you to surpass the competition and boost your visibility.
You have to bid (PPC model, once again) in order to have your promoted listings reaching the right demographic.
Since eBay is a less competitive platform than Amazon, however, you will potentially get a bigger bang for your buck by advertising here.
Final Verdict: The advertising options are similar for eBay and Amazon sellers but since eBay is less competitive, promotion there could ensure better ROI.
To Sum Up: Amazon or eBay (or Both?)
So, where should you be selling your products?
Should you join the Amazon gang? How does selling on eBay work in comparison to what the world’s biggest eCommerce giant has to offer? We hope that you’ve gotten some clarity on the topic.
It’s up to you to decide if you’d sell on eBay or Amazon. Both opportunities give you perks. The one and probably most important thing to keep in mind is that size doesn’t always matter (especially when it comes to ecommerce). Sometimes, a smaller and more niche audience is a better choice than a large and generic audience that doesn’t have any interest in your products.
Let’s sum up how eBay and Amazon perform compared.
Amazon gives you a larger audience and a managed fulfillment option. The range of advertising tools is also somewhat bigger. In comparison, eBay isn’t as competitive and you will find it easier to build your niche. There’s also some evidence that selling internationally is a bit easier via eBay.
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You can easily try out selling via both platforms to assess performance. You have the facts and you can continue digging for some additional info before making up your mind. What matters is being confident in your choice and committing to it. Establishing a successful ecommerce business will take some time and patience, so don’t be afraid of building your presence and sticking through the slow moments until the respective platform starts revealing its full potential.