Think of any situation, and there are likely pros and cons. The same is true when deciding whether to expand your sales to Amazon. The fact is, neither eBay nor Amazon can claim to be the best across the board nowadays.
Many eBay sellers have wondered radio if it’s really worth selling on Amazon. Some feel there are too many rules and it wouldn’t be worth the effort. Some have asked for a point by point comparison between the two sites. Here are a dozen points of comparison that may help sellers make a decision.
2. Format (Auction vs. Fixed-price)
9. Average Sale Price
10. Payment Methods
11. Return Policy
Most sellers agree that fees between the two sites are almost a wash. Especially when you consider that you pay for every item to be listed on eBay whether it sells or not. When you consider unsold items, time spent relisting items, and time spent dealing with unpaid items, my opinion is Amazon comes out ahead.
Amazon collects the payment for the seller, and deposits the funds into your checking account. There are no fees for this, while PayPal fees are substantial. If eBay moves to a PayPal only model in the U.S., they can increase fees for collecting payment at will.
2. Format (Auction vs. Fixed-price)
eBay popularized the auction format listing. Amazon failed at auctions and only offers fixed-price listings. Which is best?
For collectibles, auctions are the best way to get market value. eBay is better if you are running an antique store online and want the best prices, and shoppers looking for unique items.
But most businesses, do not deal in collectibles, they sell “practicals,” commodity items that people want to buy and get on with their day. Buyers can readily find these items, and buy online for convenience. It’s easy to set a fixed-price for these items.
While Amazon is the fixed-price king, eBay is moving in that direction by downplaying auctions and encouraging fixed-price listings. The advantage is in the buyers. The Amazon buyer is more affluent, and pays a higher average price for products.
Advantage: Auctions: eBay
Advantage: Fixed-price: Amazon
eBay sellers are very involved with eBay buyers. The transactions can be extremely interactive. Amazon buyers and sellers rarely interact. The Amazon buyer tends to expect high customer service and they don’t expect to have to ask if an item has shipped.
Because of the higher interaction with customers, eBay sellers have to spend more time per transaction. Amazon transactions take less time.
Online retailers rely on the stability of their chosen platforms to operate smoothly. Changes cost time. Sellers have developed systems that allow them to list, sell, and deliver items. When rules change, or things don’t work, the systems break down and profit is lost.
Amazon has had very few major changes in the past few years. Even though there are some restrictions, they generally stay the same, and are enforced consistently. When changes have been made, they tend to stick and sellers can adjust.
eBay has had major changes over the past year, including Feedback, fees, digitally delivered items, search results, Detailed Seller Ratings, eBay’s affiliate program, and more are to be expected. Sellers have been greatly affected in real and perceived ways. Some changes have been rolled out, only to be reversed causing even more consternation among sellers.
Both eBay and Amazon have a feedback system allowing buyers and sellers to record their impression of a transaction. Both sites allow buyers to leave negative comments for sellers. Both sites allow sellers to leave only positive comments for buyers.
The eBay culture has given much more weight to feedback than their Amazon counterpart. Amazon buyers can see the seller’s feedback score, but tend to overlook it more readily than eBay buyers. Amazon’s A-z Guarantee may have a bearing on this by making the buyer feel more protected when purchasing an item.
Amazon does not “disadvantage” sellers, as eBay does, by moving them down in the results when shoppers perform a search. eBay does this by considering the seller’s feedback score and making them less visible to shoppers, rather than letting buyers make the choice themselves.
Advantage (especially for sellers): Amazon
Amazon restricts sellers from reaching out to buyers and marketing to them. Traditionally, this has been an advantage to eBay since eBay allowed sellers to link to a site off eBay from the seller’s About Me page.
Recent changes at eBay have virtually eliminated the ability to use eBay as a lead generating tool for off-eBay business. eBay has all but forbidden any outside links from any eBay pages including custom store pages. The only place a link may appear is on your eBay About Me page. This has effectively neutralized eBay as a “branding tool.”
eBay sellers have always struggled with photos. How to take good photos, how to get the photos to show up on eBay, how many photos. Each item, no matter if it’s exactly the same as another, gets its own photo on eBay.