Selling on Amazon vs eBay: The Comparison Guide for 2023
Amazon and eBay are the world’s busiest marketplaces. Recent data shows that Amazon receives over 5 billion site visits each month, while eBay attracts around 1.7 billion.
New platforms are entering the market all the time. But Amazon and eBay are still the powerhouses of eCommerce, owning 13% and 2% of the global eCommerce market respectively.
Although Amazon is ahead of eBay by quite a margin, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best marketplace for your brand. When it comes to selling on Amazon vs eBay, both sites come with pros and cons.
But one thing’s for sure, with around 44% of product searches starting on these marketplaces, you’ll want to have a presence on at least one of them. Read below to discover whether selling on Amazon or eBay is better for your brand.
38% of consumers worldwide start their product searches on Amazon. Its streamlined customer service, efficient fulfilment and other industry innovations have all contributed to its popularity. But access to these services won’t come cheap.
When it comes to fulfillment, brands selling on Amazon have a few options to choose from – which is something to consider when it comes to selling on Amazon vs eBay.
First of all, they can take advantage of Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA). You simply send your products to Amazon’s fulfillment centre and its staff will pick, pack and ship your products whenever an order comes in. They handle returns, refunds and customer service too.
The cost of FBA services will depend on the size and weight of your products. But brands will lose control over their packaging, returns policy and customer service. This may be an issue for well-established businesses. However, FBA users benefit from greater visibility in search results and an Amazon Prime badge – both of which increase Amazon sales.
Sellers who want to arrange their own fulfillment and customer support can do this through Amazon’s Fulfilled by Merchant option. But if you’re envious of the boosted visibility and Prime status that FBA sellers receive, Seller-Fulfilled Prime offers a middleground. This allows high-performing brands to gain access to the Amazon Prime badge if they meet certain criteria.
To take part, you have to ship 99% of orders on time and have a cancellation rate under 0.5%. You’ll also need to fulfill Amazon Prime’s one and two-day delivery promises, adhere to Amazon’s returns policy, use Amazon Buy Shipping Services and let Amazon handle your customer service.
The cost of selling on Amazon depends on the type of products your brand sells and whether or not you use Amazon’s FBA services.
But all sellers, however they fulfill their orders, need to pay:
- A subscription fee: Brands usually sign up for a Professional Seller subscription, which costs $39.99 per month and provides 100,000 free listings. Amazon’s other fees don’t come into play until an item is sold.
- Per-item fees: Each product you sell will incur a referral fee, which can cost anywhere between 6% and 45% of the sale price. Amazon’s cut will depend on the type of products you sell. Electronics are charged 8%, while clothing is charged 17%. You’ll find the full breakdown of referral fees here.
- Closing fees: Products sold under Amazon’s media category also incur a flat fee of $1.80. This affects book, DVD, software and video game sales.
- Refund fees: Amazon charges sellers a processing fee for issuing refunds. This costs $5.00 or 20% of the refund’s value – whichever is lowest.
Brands using Fulfillment by Amazon have additional fees to consider:
- Fulfilment fees: This differs based on product type, weight and size. Fees start from $2.92 for a small item weighing less than six ounces. Find the full fee breakdown here.
- Returns processing fee: For free returns, FBA sellers have to pay a fee based on the product’s weight.
- Monthly storage fees: For standard products, Amazon’s storage fee stands at 83c per cubic foot. But this shoots up to $2.40 from October to December.
- Long-term storage fees: If your stock is at an Amazon warehouse for too long, you’ll be charged an additional $6.90 per cubic foot. Alternatively, you can pay Amazon to return or dispose of this stock.
The biggest benefit of selling on Amazon is that your brand will gain access to a huge audience. With billions of visitors heading to the site each month, the sales opportunities are massive. So, when it comes to selling on Amazon vs eBay, this is definitely something to consider.
FBA is a big pro for fledgling brands and startups looking to expand. But if you decide to handle your own fulfillment and customer service, it’s annoying that this will negatively affect your visibility on the platform.
However, in recent years, Amazon has become a much better place for brands to do business. If you’re eligible for Amazon’s Brand Registry, you’ll gain access to lots of extra tools that can boost sales, visibility and brand awareness. These include Amazon Analytics, A+ Content, Amazon Storefronts and Amazon Attribution – to name just a few.
If you have an advertising budget, Amazon’s ad platform is continually improving too. But if you don’t, your brand may struggle to gain visibility because Amazon’s organic search results are becoming less and less prominent.
Although eBay is the world’s second busiest marketplace, it is further down the rankings in terms of revenue. This means it is an ideal platform for brands who want to boost discoverability and visibility, as well as boosting omnichannel sales.
eBay sellers generally have no choice but to arrange their own order fulfillment. Although brands based in the UK, Germany and China can take advantage of eBay fulfillment by Orange Connex.
On a more positive note, eBay’s free Global Shipping Program facilitates international shipments and handles all customs admin. This is a great way for brands to expand globally, because setting up one eBay account will provide access to customers in over 100 countries.
The Global Shipping Program also ensures customers aren’t hit with extra fees at checkout or delivery. So this is a great way to increase your eBay sales. Some brands saw a 15% boost after signing up.
When it comes to selling on eBay, here is a breakdown of the fees you can expect to pay.
- A monthly subscription fee: There are five options to choose from, ranging from $5 through to $3,000.
- Insertion fees: eBay charges sellers without a subscription 35c to publish an eBay listing. However, these can be avoided by investing in an appropriate eBay subscription. Each one comes with a set amount of free listings.
- Final value fees: When an item is sold, eBay takes a cut of the final sale price and charges 30c per order. Its cut will depend on the type of product sold and your store subscription type. 12% is most common, but you can view the full fee table here.
- International fee: On international orders, sellers are charged a percentage of the final sale price too. The cost differs by country, but is generally less than 2%.
If you’re based in the UK, Germany or China and want to use eBay’s end-to-end fulfillment service, these are the additional fees you need to know about:
- Fulfilment fees: This varies based on each order’s weight and size. At eBay’s German fulfilment centres, fees start from €2.77.
- Storage fees: eBay’s storage fees start at 33c per cubic metre per day. But this rises to 55c during the holiday season.
- Long-term storage fees: Products stored at an eBay warehouse for over a year will incur extra charges. In its German fulfilment centres, the fee is €3.50 per cubic metre per day.
eBay’s lack of fulfilment services can be a big barrier for startups. But it also means established brands aren’t punished for making use of their own logistics.
eBay’s Global Shipping Program and integrated international platforms also make it a great option for brands who want to expand internationally or test out new markets. It is also the better choice if your brand sells any second-hand, vintage or antique products.
However, despite all these perks, eBay has a much smaller audience than Amazon. So it simply doesn’t offer the same opportunities for brand exposure and sales.
There is no clear answer when it comes to selling on eBay vs Amazon. Both sites have their pros and cons. Before making a decision, make sure you understand your brand’s needs, as well as each platform’s fees. Otherwise, you might end up selling products at a loss.
Setting up listings on both sites could be an option too – especially if you want to maximise your reach.