Amazon vs eBay: which marketplace should you sell on?

Amazon vs eBay: which marketplace should you sell on?

Amazon was the most-visited e-commerce site in the world in 2017, followed by eBay.

While there are a growing number of marketplaces available to new sellers, these two titans of online shopping still stand head and shoulders above the rest. But which marketplace is truly the best? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of Amazon vs eBay, so you can make an educated choice when it comes to deciding which one to sell on.

Amazon vs eBay

Selling on Amazon: pros

With over 300 million customer accounts, 200 million visitors a month and around 2 million sellers, there’s no question that this lucrative marketplace is full of potential for any e-commerce business with the right approach.

Amazon offers “individual” and “professional” accounts. With regards to fees, sellers with either account will pay a percentage of each sale to Amazon. This ranges from 8 percent to 25 percent, depending on the item category. Professional accounts cost $39.99 per month on top of this. Individual accounts are free to operate, but require an additional flat rate of $1 per item sold, so anyone selling more than 40 products per month would benefit from a professional membership.

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a popular service in which Amazon picks, packs, ships and provides customer support for orders. Plus, FBA products are eligible for free shipping on qualifying orders.

Professional sellers can also sign up for an Amazon Business account, which provides a platform to reach business-only customers, separate to the standard consumer-facing marketplace, without incurring additional fees or charges.

Selling on Amazon: cons

Amazon is a competitive marketplace, not least because of its mysterious algorithm that picks which products win the Buy Box. That’s where 82 percent of the site’s sales happen.

While Amazon doesn’t disclose exactly what a seller needs to do to end up in the coveted top spot, it has said its algorithm is designed to choose whoever will offer the best shopping experience, based on pricing, availability, fulfillment and customer service.

Amazon vs eBay

Selling on eBay: pros

eBay has roughly 167 million active users as well as 25 million sellers, and while it’s well-known as an auction site, over 80% of eBay merchandise is new and sold at a fixed price.

However, unlike Amazon, eBay doesn’t require that a product be on a listing page before being sold. This opens up the marketplace to more niche sellers, which allows for greater product variety.

Fees are lower, too. On average, sellers retain 5.13% more profit than their Amazon counterparts. The fees for listing and selling on eBay vary depending on item category, and include a flat rate (insertion fee) for listing an item and a final value fee, a percentage of each sale.

Another plus: eBay does not allow customers to leave feedback on a product unless they have bought it. By comparison, anyone with an Amazon account can write a review there, regardless of whether or not they purchased that particular product through the site (verified purchases are marked as such).

eBay also offers more in the way of developing a unique brand that people will remember, with personalized HTML coding and other design tools available to sellers. Meanwhile, a shipping calculator helps to determine how much it will cost to deliver an order.

Selling on eBay: cons

eBay doesn’t currently offer fulfillment, meaning items have to be packaged and shipped by the seller or a third-party service. This can be a major drawback for some users.

Another issue: as eBay was originally designed with individual sellers in mind, its customer support network isn’t equipped to manage ticket volume like other marketplaces.

Amazon vs eBay: the bottom line

Some of the cons we outlined above can be amended by implementing software solutions. For instance, xSellco Repricer can help you win the Amazon Buy Box—and at the best price, not the lowest price. Our repricer uses Amazon Web Services to ensure you are repricing faster than your competitors. You can also spy on your top 10 rivals, see who is beating you to the Buy Box and take action to increase your sales.

Want to improve your reputation on Amazon or eBay? Target positive reviews by requesting feedback on the right products, from the right customers, at the right time with xSellco Feedback. After all, 90 percent of online shoppers rely on reviews to make their purchase decisions, and the more you have, the higher you will rank in search results.

Enlisting an e-commerce help desk can help both eBay and Amazon sellers alike to provide better customer service. With xSellco, you can manage support for all your marketplaces, online stores and social channels in one connected dashboard.

At the end of the day, to say that eBay or Amazon is inherently better than the other would not be accurate. Different businesses have different needs. The important thing is to carefully consider those needs and identify which marketplace best meets them.

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Lyndsay McGregor

A journalist turned marketer, Lyndsay has transferred the skills she honed writing about the retail industry to the world of content marketing.