At the beginning, there was the internet, and if you were looking to buy something online you needed to know exactly where to go and have very little concern about blindly giving away personal information and free access to your bank account.
Nowadays you have huge, safe online stores that sell anything from fresh produce to ancient toys, and this opens a whole new set of opportunities for buyers and sellers alike.
There are many great online stores but today we will focus on the two most popular ones, eBay and Amazon.
“eBay is a multinational e-commerce corporation that facilitates consumer-to-consumer and business-to-consumer sales through its website. eBay was founded in 1995 and became a notable success story of the dot-com bubble. Today, eBay is a multi-billion-dollar business with operations in about 30 countries. The company manages eBay.com, an online auction and shopping website in which people and businesses buy and sell a wide variety of goods and services worldwide. The website is free to use for buyers, but sellers are charged fees for listing items after a limited number of free listings, and again when those items are sold“
“Amazon.com is an American electronic commerce and cloud computing company that was founded on July 5, 1994. The tech giant is the largest Internet retailer in the world as measured by revenue and market capitalization, the amazon.com website started as an online bookstore and later diversified to sell video downloads/streaming, MP3 downloads/streaming, audiobook downloads/streaming, software, video games, electronics, apparel, furniture, food, toys, and jewelry. The company also produces consumer electronics—Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets, Fire TV, and Echo — and is the world’s largest provider of cloud infrastructure services. Amazon also sells certain low-end products under its in-house brand AmazonBasics.
Amazon has separate retail websites for the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland, France, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Australia, Brazil, Japan, China, India, and Mexico. In 2016, Dutch, Polish, and Turkish language versions of the German Amazon website were also launched. Amazon also offers international shipping to certain other countries for some of its products.”
Why sell on Amazon?
If you could look inside the brain of every person on Earth, it would be rare to find someone who hasn’t heard of Amazon.
Amazon sells products in every category imaginable – their mission is to become the “Earth’s most customer-centric company where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” Amazon shows no signs of slowing down, and it doesn’t seem like American consumers want them to: their valuation has ballooned to $50 billion, and their stock price of $535 has soared.
But in some ways, they aren’t even close to the popularity of eBay.
The Catalog Pages
Amazon works with a Catalog page system (Which is different from the customized pages system that most online shops use).
What does it mean?
Well, a catalog-based system means that not each item that gets listed on Amazon gets a unique page, for example, two brown hats from different sellers will share the same item page rather than a different page for each of them.
Why is this good?
Having your item share a page with different sellers means that the buyers can compare the item they are planning to buy and decide from which seller to buy based on the price, quality etc. you won’t have to deal with losing customers just because they did not check your item first.
Another perk of the catalog-based system is that it will exempt you from the need to provide a UPC when listing an item – providing that the item already exists in the catalog.
Why is this bad?
This type of page listing is sometimes very restricting, and not all sellers like to be ‘bunched’ up to the same place and be thrown into the sale arena in order to fight for the buyer’s affection.
Another downside is painstaking process of finding the right page to match your item (Also know as ‘ASIN Matching’) when this process is multiplied by the number of items you have, it could be a nearly impossible task – unless you are using a company that offers an ASIN Match service
The Increased Sales
Amazon throws many obstacles in the way of their sellers, they limit the customizability of their pages, they restrict their categories and are not flexible at all when an item is not perfect, but they do provide a safe-feeling respectable-looking marketplace that customers like, buying in Amazon is like buying an item in a fancy shop, it may be hard to list there, but once listed, nearly guaranteed to be sold.
Another option That Amazon offers is the option to use their exclusive ‘Filed by Amazon’ (FBA).
What does it mean?
Filed by Amazon means that Amazon will take care of your item for you, it will pick it up from you, pack it and send it to the customer, it also provides free customer service on your behalf.
Why is it bad?
The short answer is that it is expensive, sometimes so expensive that you hardly see any profit at the end of the day.
Why sell on eBay?
eBay has been running the game for years, pioneering the third-party marketplace business model early on. eBay, who hosts both live- auction and fixed-price items in 36 countries, prides itself on “enabling economic opportunity around the world.”
While it may seem that Amazon has eclipsed eBay, both platforms are successful in different ways. It’s clear that eBay is still a major player in the e-commerce world – they have 25 million sellers worldwide.
So, which marketplace is right for you? We decided to give you a quick run-down on the basic features of both online selling sites to help make the decision a bit easier.
The Option to Auction Your Items
The most popular feature on the eBay platform is the ability to auction items, this is why it is a preferred platform for collectors and hand-crafted items, where the value is based on what people are willing to pay for rather than required to pay for.
Why is this bad?
Handling items with no fixed price value can be hard and confusing at sometimes, and in many cases, they also under-sell from their desired price.
The Customized pages and easy listing
In contrasted to Amazons catalog-based system (read above) eBay gives you the option to fully customize your item pages, it gives you nearly no restriction on how to build your page it has no restrictions on the image requirements, no limit for the descriptions and in many cases, it does not require a genuine UPC.
Why is this bad?
Sellers are sometimes like children, they don’t always know what’s best for them, having some restriction can add to a page overall look and if Amazon is like selling in a fancy store, eBay is like selling in an open market.
The third parties that will list your items for you
There are many companies that can list items on eBay for you, this is an easy option when it comes to listing thousands of items at once, they usually come with custom templates and helpful services that cater to your needs.
Who has the lowest fees?
eBay has a bad reputation among e-commerce sites, earning the nickname “Feebay” from many internet bullies. However, when you compare what it would cost to sell the same item on each site, the results tell a different story.
For this experiment, we compared the free memberships of eBay and Amazon. Here’s a breakdown of the different fees that each marketplace charges:
- Monthly fee – This is the fee each month that sellers pay to sell on the platform.
- Listing fee – This is the fee that is charged each time you list an item. As a seller, you are charged the listing fee whether or not the item sells.
- Final value fee – The final value fee (FVF) is the commission percentage that each marketplace keeps from your sale.
- Closing fee – This is the fee that a platform charges once you’ve sold an item.
- Paypal fee – Sellers who accept payment through Paypal must also pay a fee to use their service.
After running four tests, we discovered that Amazon fees were higher than eBay fees across the board. eBay charges 10% FVF, while Amazon charges 15%. Also, eBay does not charge a closing fee. Amazon charges their closing fee based on the type of item you sold. If it was a media product (books, movie, music, etc.) the closing fee is a flat rate of $1.35. If you sold a non-media product (furniture, clothing, etc.) the closing fee is a flat rate of $0.45 plus $0.05/lb.
The only fee that eBay charges that Amazon does not is the Paypal fee. This is 2.9% of the sale price plus a flat rate of $0.30.
Winner: eBay – sellers keep an average of 5.13% more of their profits than if they sold the item on Amazon.
For a more in-depth fee comparison of all our featured marketplaces, visit our marketplace fees example page.
Which site has more shoppers?
When it comes to traffic statistics, most sites don’t even come close to competing with the performance of these online selling sites. Both Amazon and eBay have bounce rates under 25%. This means that over 75% of shoppers view more than one page on the site.
What’s more, those shoppers browse these marketplaces for astounding lengths (11 minutes, 32 seconds on Amazon and 13 minutes, 10 seconds on eBay). One explanation for the high amount of time shoppers spend on eBay is that shoppers are spending time “watching” the auctions they want to win. It’s also possible that users stay on Amazon so long because their catalog of items is so immense, shoppers have many results to sift through.
Winner: Tie – both sites get insane levels of relevant and engaged traffic.
Which site offers more seller tools?
The selling tools provided by a marketplace can be a major draw for online merchants. Unfortunately, this is an area where both eBay and Amazon seem to come up a bit short. On one hand, eBay has options for shop analytics and seller success tips – but only for those willing to pay. On the other hand, social media integration, shop analytics and tips for seller success are missing altogether from Amazon’s seller toolbelt.
One reason for Amazon’s missing tools could be that the company was initially created to provide online shoppers with an easy and convenient experience. Online merchants were invited to sell on Amazon a few years later, so seller tools weren’t an aspect of Amazon’s original business model. Although Amazon does offer some pretty great services for their shoppers, they provide minimum tools to help guide their sellers.
So…which one should I use?
When selling products online, it’s nearly impossible to compare apples to apples (or, in this case, marketplaces to marketplaces). We’ve done our best to take a look at some of the major factors that online sellers seem to consider when choosing the best place to sell online. Ultimately, different marketplaces will be better fits for different people, but hopefully, this data can help you make your decision. Many online sellers choose to sell on multiple platforms, so you can pick which one is best for you when starting out and then consider selling on both once you’re established.
selling on eBay is great, it is easy and free, selling on Amazon is Also great, it is hard work but at the end of the day, it gets the job done.
There is no easy way to choose between them, and it mostly boils down to freedom vs efficiency.
The best option is to list on them both simultaneously but the need to manage the inventory between the two stores can prove to be sometimes too much to handle (especially if you are selling one-of-a-kind items).
big companies tend to choose eBay because of the availability of the third party listers.
Is it possible to sell on both of them?
The short answer is yes, if you have an existing eBay store, you can transfer it to Amazon and sync them, there are a few options to do so with different levels of feasibility depending on your stores’ size:
Inventory file loader
Amazon allows you to manage the inventory (add, delete, update) via uploading excel files (.xlsx or .csv). It is much easier than uploading manually since the Inventory file loader allows you to upload a group of items at once. The main problem is that it’s only available if the product page already exists.
More information at https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html?ie=UTF8&nodeId=3149261
The Turbo-Lister is an eBay tool for managing eBay inventory. Although it is an eBay tool, Amazon supports uploading files (.txt) that were created by Turbo-Lister.
Since this tool was created, it was very slow and inefficient. Customers who are still using it, often call it “Turtle Lister”. The main problem is that Amazon only supports files from the following categories: “Sports Men, Cards & Fan Shop”, “Entertainment Memorabilia”, and part of the category “Consumer Electronics”.
More information at http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?nodeId=201285120
Inventory management companies
There are many Inventory management companies like “Sellbrite” and “Solid-Commerce”. These companies have inventory management as their main focus. Also, for a monthly payment + setup costs, these companies will upload your products to Amazon (and other sites, depends on price height and customer requests).
To get started, you’ll first need to import all your listings from eBay. And then, you’ll need to link every item on the listing to your product and attach the SKU (custom label) to each of them.
When all the work is complete, you will still need to categorize each of your products by selecting a category from Amazon categories. So basically, the seller still needs to do a lot of work.
As of now, this company specializes only in exporting from eBay to Amazon or to Ebid. The company doesn’t require the seller involvement in the exporting process at all, from the beginning to the end. There is no need to tag products to their Amazon category. And The company has a database with a fully matched category for each eBay product. Also, the company manages an inventory of barcodes, and a one of a kind ASIN match system that can search Amazon for those hard to find perfect matches, so that the customer doesn’t need to “deal” with that at all. They also provide a full, real-time sync, so the product quantities and prices are always equal to their eBay counterparts. And there are no additional setup fees.
This is a guest post by Nathan who is an experienced eBay and Amazon seller; the lead developer in ExportYourStore that specializes in exporting eBay stores to Amazon. ExportYourStore offers exporting service from eBay to Amazon with one click, real-time synchronization, barcodes management, and troubleshooting to eBay and Amazon sellers.