eBay vs Amazon. Or, Amazon vs eBay?
You’ve decided that you want to sell stuff online. Rather than build your own website, you’ve decided to take a look where you can already sell. You’ve already asked yourself these questions:
Should I sell on eBay or Amazon?
Which is the best online marketplace for sellers?
Amazon and eBay are 2 very different creatures, 2 very different companies, doing 2 very different things that occasionally, in some way, overlap. It’s hard to believe that both companies were conceived only months apart.
As a seller in a marketplace, you need to find a balance between sales and fees, traffic and competition. It’s hard to stand out, but the potential for success is unmatched.
In this article you will learn everything you need to make the best decision that help help grow your sales:
Here’s a list of everything we cover in this article. To make the best decision, you should read this article in it’s entirety.
If one section is more relevant to you, click the link and you’ll be taken to that section.
- Multichannel selling & Amazon & eBay
- eBay vs Amazon sales stats & history
- What makes Amazon and eBay so unique
- eBay vs Amazon – which has more buyers
- The best things to sell on Amazon vs eBay
- Will your brand fit Amazon or eBay?
- Getting started on eBay and Amazon
- Selling on eBay and Amazon
- SEO for Amazon & eBay
- How to promote your Amazon & eBay stores
- Dealing with customers on Amazon and eBay
- How Amazon and eBay handle returns and refunds
- Branding your Amazon and eBay store
- Amazon and eBay selling fees and how much it costs to sell
- Accepted payment methods on Amazon and eBay
- How shipping works on Amazon vs eBayhow shi
- Closing your Amazon and eBay accounts
- eBay vs Amazon vs Alibaba vs Etsy vs Craigslist vs Jet vs Newegg
eZon or Amabay, same thing. What difference does it make?
Sure, both sales channels have similar endgames – they put products in front of buyers.
With Amazon, you get access to the customer base of the world’s biggest commerce store. Not only does Amazon have more buyers, but the trust factor is also higher compared to eBay. So, there are multiple factors that make Amazon a more reliable choice for new brand users. – Tomas Slimas, co-founder of Oberlo.
But as a seller, they are going to treat you both very very differently. Let’s quickly compare selling on eBay vs Amazon:
- You’re more likely to buy used car parts on eBay compared to Amazon
- You’re more likely to spend $1000+ in one transaction on Amazon compared to eBay.
One of these creatures can make you a bucketload more money than the other. Depending on what you sell.
Make an uneducated decision and you’re more than likely going to be chewed up and spat out – and lose all your money in the process.
Multichannel selling & Amazon & eBay
Now consider for a moment, having your own website, the home for your brand, while simultaneously using the engaged traffic of Amazon and eBay to spread your brand notoriety and grow your sales.
This would put you, the seller, and your brand, in a powerful and convenient position. It’d help you create a larger brand, a stronger presence and ultimately, more money in your back pocket.
‘A multi-channel attack on the two biggest ecommerce marketplaces is the most potent way to boost your online sales’ says Justin Golschneider, VP of Marketing for ChannelReply.
A recent study of Amazon sellers found that:
- Of those that pulled in less than $250,000 per year from their ecommerce sales, only 50% also sold on eBay.
- 62% of those that made $250,000 to $2 million sold on both sites.
- 71% of sellers that reported revenues above $2million sold on both Amazon and eBay.
‘In other words, the more successful the business, the more likely they had income streams from both eBay and Amazon’, explains Golschneider.
‘Selling on both sites expands your audience by so much that it’s hard not to do better.’
‘The hassles that stopped some sellers from going multichannel in the past are disappearing.’
Amazon and eBay – and your own website – are what this is all about.
That’s exactly what Multichannel selling is. If you cast a bigger net, you catch more fish.
eBay vs Amazon sales stats & history
Summarizing these 2 behemoths of the eCommerce world is near impossible. Here’s what you need to know to get started.
eBay is one of (if not the) original marketplaces to sell your products online. It’s grown and evolved in many ways since it’s introduction but the principle remains the same – it’s an online marketplace to introduce the buyer to seller.
eBay makes money by charging fees to those that sell on their platform.
Just about everything can be found on eBay. Both brand new products and used products can be sold on eBay.
What makes eBay so unique?
The auction format of some of its listings. You can sell something for a flat fee, or choose to sell it via an online auction – or even both. This is great when the value of your product is unknown.
This eBay listing is an auction, with a reserve price as well as an outright purchase price.
Many brands, both big and small, have an established presence on eBay as it continues to provide a huge amount of traffic to listings.
A similar age to eBay, Amazon is also a marketplace where buyers and sellers cross paths and exchange money for goods. Amazon’s model is a little more involved though.
With no auction model, Amazon sells mostly new products to buyers. Products must have a unique, universally recognised ID number (ASIN, ISBN or UPC) in order to be sold.
A buyer searches for a product and commits to the purchase. There are no (or, minimal) duplicate listings on Amazon. One product has multiple sellers.
If someone is selling the same product as you, Amazon’s complex algorithm will then weigh up who wins the sale – also called ‘winning the Buy Box’.
Amazon’s service ‘Fulfilment By Amazon’ (or FBA) is a unique feature, where sellers send their products to an Amazon warehouse in bulk and Amazon will take care of fulfilling any order you get. Amazon will also take care of any returns in this case.
Amazon Handmade is a relatively new service when small crafters and DIYers can sell their unique, small-batch products. Amazon is also in the business of digital streaming and selling their own products – Kindles, for example.
The similarities between Amazon and eBay are huge, but as are the differences. They both achieve the same thing, but do it in two different ways. Keep this in mind when establishing which of the two platforms is best for your business!
What makes Amazon and eBay so unique
When selling on eBay, you’ll spend a lot more time and effort making your listing stand out.
With Amazon, you spend a lot of time waiting to get approved for things.
Each platform comes with its pros and cons and things that make it unique.
eBay is better than Amazon because…
eBay sellers are left to their own devices in many more areas. The seller is responsible for refunds – that’s if the seller offers a refund at all. Only when either the buyer or seller asks, will eBay themselves get involved and try to settle a dispute.
eBay is truly global. It operates in some way in 36 countries. When you chose to list your product ‘globally’ on eBay, it truly is global.
2nd hand goods thrive on eBay. Entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes can make money by turning over 2nd hand items in nearly any condition. Couple this with the eBay Auction feature and money can be made from 2nd hand items of unknown value.
Nearly 9 million used products on eBay.co.uk
eBay can also double as a classified listing. eBay classifieds allow you to list items, services or properties for sale without creating a fixed-price or auction-style listing. The listing is online until it’s sold or removed.
As an entrepreneur, this means you can use the incredible amount of traffic eBay get to draw attention to your product and seal the deal outside of eBay – minimising transaction fees, but also taking more time.
In general, eBay’s fees are lower. Not to mention, they are much less confusing, too. It’s easier to sign-up and start selling and there is no need to be approved to sell in certain categories.
Selling on eBay is simply easier.
This is 80% of what’s needed to list an item on eBay
Amazon is better than eBay because.
Amazon listings get many more views. Amazon’s 304 million active buying accounts are almost double eBay’s 168 million accounts.
‘Earth’s biggest selection’
Not only is your listing seen by more people, Amazon customers usually only use Amazon when they’re ready to buy. They’re not in research mode. They’re in buy mode.
So not only does Amazon have more buyers, but those buyers are more likely to see your product when they want to buy it.
More people trust the Amazon name than the eBay name.
Sure, you can buy a Ferrari on eBay, but if you could afford it, would you?
Here’s a $5,000 water ionizer with over 100 buyers:
People trust Amazon.
Fulfilment By Amazon is a feature that makes selling to all these buyers much easier. Sure, it costs money, but it saves you a lot of stuffing around with customers. Essentially, you just have to make sure that the Amazon Warehouse has plenty of your stock.
To a lesser degree, you’re forced to be a better seller on Amazon. You must respond to questions within 24 hours. If a customer isn’t satisfied, you may not win your next Buy Box. Because of the flood of traffic, Amazon forces you to be the best seller you can.
Some businesses that thrive on eBay may sink on Amazon. Which one is best for your brand is only something you can decide. If someone is already selling your products on Amazon, are you able to compete on price? If your product is already being sold by others on eBay, what can you do to stand out?
This is where true entrepreneurship comes in. If your idea is in its infancy or you are testing whether there is demand for your product, Amazon may be best for you.
Both sales channels have different buyers at different points of their buying cycle. Use your target customer and establish which sales channel they will be on.
eBay vs Amazon – which has more buyers?
Both websites have insane amounts of traffic. There is no doubt about that. But specifically how much, and what other important stats do we need to know?
Both websites are very very popular in terms of global traffic. So it makes sense that these are great places to sell products.
However, the bounce rate sits at around 40% for both sites. This means that over 60% of visitors view more than one page at a time. – they browse these websites, looking for something.
If the only thing that is determining where you sell is how much traffic the sales channel gets, you’re doing this whole ‘online selling’ thing wrong.
While it’s clear that Amazon has almost double the traffic the eBay has, that doesn’t mean you will sell twice as much on Amazon compared to eBay.
Amazon buyers are at a different stage of their buying cycle – they’re ready to buy. If you need to educate your potential customers about a product, you will waste your efforts by selling on Amazon.
The best things to sell on Amazon vs eBay
Are you looking for the best selling items on eBay? Trying to find the best selling items on Amazon so you can turn a quick dollar?
You won’t find them here.
That subheading is a lie.
The internet is full of pipedreams and quick ways to earn a dollar online. The hard truth is, earning a passive income is not easy. It may be easier than juggling two full-time jobs, but it’s not always easy to find an idea for a passive income stream that doesnt…well, suck.
And selling stuff on Amazon and eBay just to make a quick profit is a passive income idea that sucks. You’ll only succeed on both marketplaces if you’re in it for the long run and you want to build a long-term, scalable brand.
No one is going to tell you to sell X or Y to make a huge profit. Anyone that says they will, is probably selling you their own online course that claims to make you a top eBay or Amazon seller. It’s the equivalent of the Nigerian Prince email that we’ve all received.
The problem is, these products are already being sold by established sellers – you’ve missed the boat.
Over 50 people sell this same clock on Amazon. How can you compete?
You need to get creative and figure out how to find what can generate a decent profit.
Now, we will touch on how YOU can find the best products to sell on Amazon and eBay. Keep in mind, starting a business based on Amazon or eBay requires you to invest some time and money.
Drones, dashcams, smartwatches, power banks, USB hubs/cables, electronics, in general, are popular items to sell on Amazon.
However, other retailers are already selling it, and they’re probably competing with each other on price — especially things with small profit margins.
Unless you can reinvent it, you’re going to need to think harder if you want to make money selling on eBay and Amazon.
If you’re a creative little butterfly, this shouldn’t be too hard. Take a look around your house, bedroom, office, wherever. Write down your ideas no matter how awful they sound.
- Outdoor furniture
- Glasses case
- Child-proof latches
- RFID friendly wallets
- Accessories for diabetics
- Mobility tools for disabled people
- Garden accessories for apartment owners
Watch TV advertisements and see how you can complement products being advertised.
- Knife Sharpeners
- Replacement Tupperware lids
- Drill bit sharpeners
Remember on eBay, you can sell second-hand items.
- Restore old antiques
- Hunt for new old stock (NOS) car parts
- Part-out damaged industrial equipment
This product solves a problem and has very little competition. It’s not sexy, but it sells.
If you’re still struggling, take a look at popular searches on Amazon vs eBay. Look at the most popular products on eBay and think of a product that works well alongside that.
Pricing your idea
‘Price is actually the most ‘sensitive’ part of your product listing, and the most impactful thing you can optimize,’ says Kym Ellis of JungleScout.
‘With so many moving parts (demand, competitors, trends, seasonality), altering your price on Amazon can have a huge positive impact on your profits’.
Product research plays an incredibly important part in terms of pricing your product. Most products that start around the $100USD mark tend to have more room to play when it comes to establishing a profit margin.
Products priced less than $20 means that your profit margins will be quickly eaten by marketplace fees – even more so if you’re selling via FBA.
Third-party tools like Splitly can be used as an automated repricer for private label sellers. Because it uses machine learning, it is the most effective way to always have your price optimized for profit and rank.
A recent case study showed that selling a higher quality (and higher priced) product was more profitable than selling a lower quality, lower priced product. Poor quality product may save the buyer some money but ultimately leads to poor reviews and less customer satisfaction.
Choose a product that’s not fragile, easy to ship & physically small. Unless you choose to sell through FBA, you’re going to be handling a lot of your merchandise yourself.
Large, unusually shaped products are going to make it difficult. You’ll spend more time packaging it and spend more money packaging it securely. Keep it simple.
If you plan on selling ex-military jet engines online, be aware that postage may be difficult.
Unfortunately, there is no answer to ‘What makes money on Amazon’. Answering these questions is just the modern-day equivalent of a pyramid scheme. If you want to pay someone to tell you what to sell on these marketplaces, well perhaps you should look at another career path.
The best products to sell online are products that YOU know people want. To find that, YOU need to do the research, you need to find the problems these people have and then find a product that solves them.
The product itself and the business you build around it will ultimately determine whether you sell on Amazon or eBay.
Will your brand fit Amazon or eBay?
Your venture will get the most traction if you approach it as a business. Not only is Multichannel selling the future of eCommerce, but putting all your eggs in one Amazon or eBay branded basket is not a smart move.
So, by looking at yourself as a business – rather than just a guy selling stuff – and having some clear goals, morals and standards in place, we can easily see which marketplace is best for you.
‘There’s a lot of things to consider when making the leap beyond your online store to a marketplace like Amazon,’ says Brandon Chopp, Digital Marketing Strategist for INTO THE AM.
Into The AM’s presence on Amazon allowed them to explain rapidly.
‘It really depends on the kind of products you sell, how intense the competition is, marketplace fees and restrictions, etc. The scale of Amazon’s online presence is just massive. Aside from improving sales, we were able to acquire new customers who may not have found our products otherwise’.
Which role best suits you?
Both Amazon and eBay thrive as mediums to resell products. Huge worldwide brand names like TomTom, Nike, Gucci and more are sold on via resellers. The resellers source the product from somewhere and then sell it forward to the consumer.
On Amazon, each product has to have a unique number (ASIN, ISBN or UPC) so that no duplicate listings of the same product are created. This means that if you can source your product cheaper than others, you’re more than likely to continuously get the sale. If you can’t compete on price, how else can your brand have a competitive edge on Amazon?
On eBay, no unique numbers are required to list an item. There may be dozens and dozens of listings for the same product by multiple sellers.
This creates competitive categories with no real clear winner. Products being sold for $0.99 are incredibly common. How can you make yourself stand out from other sellers?
Reselling is the usual business model on Amazon and it usually comes in two forms.
- No exclusive selling agreement with the manufacturer
- Exclusive Sourcing/Reselling agreements with the manufacturer
Amazon knows these business models make a large majority of the inventory that’s for sale. Therefore, sellers are continuously pushed to use Amazon’s fulfilment program, FBA.
Sellers ship their products in bulk to an Amazon warehouse and when a customer places their order, Amazon takes care of fulfilment. Not the reseller. Products being sold via FBA are eligible for benefits such as Amazon Prime and Super Saver Shipping.
These two benefits can make you stand out from resellers pushing the same product as you. With FBA, Amazon will even take care of returns for you.
eBay has no model like this whatsoever. They tried a similar concept in the mid-2000s but it didn’t take and was quickly removed.
Established brands expanding into Amazon.
State Bicycle Co. had established their unique brand of mountain bike in their hometown of Arizona. They had a website that sold their bikes and accessories. They ran a blog, engaged with influencers and were active on social media.
But it was time to expand.
At the time, nearly every bike being sold on Amazon in their category was mass produced in Asia and being sold by a reseller.
There was an obvious fit for their high quality and aesthetically pleasing bikes. Selling their small brand on Amazon was a way to get their name seen by thousands of engaged, ready to buy bike riders.
As mentioned before, the future of eCommerce is Multichannel selling. An independent web store and a presence in high-traffic marketplaces like Amazon and eBay mean that the seller is casting a bigger net.
External marketing builds rapport amongst communities while selling in high-traffic marketplaces gets the attention of unaware buyers.
Similarly, if a buyer hears of the brand but isn’t sure of it, seeing it listed on Amazon can build trust.
eBay struggles to provide small brand names with the same benefit in this case.
It is, however, worth noting that a brand will earn certain rights if it has a registered trademark, GS1-sourced UPC codes and branding on the packaging and the physical product. As a brand wanting to establish itself on Amazon, these things are simply essential.
Amazon Handmade is the next level of small brands having a presence on Amazon. It’s an online platform for artisans to sell their handcrafted goods, not unlike Etsy or DaWanda.
To be eligible to sell on Amazon Handmade, you must jump through quite a lot of hoops.
- Your item must be made entirely by hand, hand-altered or hand assembled
- Made by you or an employee
- Of a company size of fewer than 100 people.
Signing up for an Amazon Handmade account requires a lot of effort, too. You need to provide:
- Answers to multiple choice questions about how your product is made
- How you source your materials and make your product
- Provide photos of your product being made, and the area in which you make it
- Bank statements in English, German, Spanish or Chinese.
And the signup process takes time. As each case is reviewed by a team, it may take up to 6 weeks for you to get the OK or be knocked back.
Will your business fit Amazon Handmade? Amazon Handmade fees are higher – a 15% commission and a $1 minimum fee, while Etsy charges a simple $0.20 listing fee and 3.5% commission. Some sellers have also mentioned that the insights and analytics are limiting.
Take Amazon Handmade with a grain or two of salt. The sales may be less than an Etsy store, but that’s not to say you’re not getting seen. After all, being present in more channels can only be beneficial to selling more!
It ultimately boils down to what you’re selling to establish whether Amazon or eBay will be the best fit for your brand. If you’re making items yourself, eBay is perhaps the better route – may be even Amazon Handmade.
If your product is a day to day staple that you know people want, and you can compete on price, well then Amazon is more than likely your best bet.
Can you afford to use the services of FBA and use the time saved to grow your brand elsewhere? Or will you stick to fulfilling each order individually?
Getting started on eBay and Amazon
Getting started on eBay
Setting up to sell on eBay is a simple 3 step process.
- Sign up for a seller account. Confirm your name, address and phone number and specify a method to pay your eBay fees. Paypal is recommended.
- Create your listing. Add pictures, write a title, product description and other item specifics
- Post your listing. If you’ve listed your product as an auction, you now have to wait for the length of the auction and be ready to sell send the item once payment is received. If there’s a buy it now price, be ready to post your item as soon as it’s sold and you’ve been paid.
Getting started on Amazon
Signing up to Amazon is a little more complicated and involved.
It’s near impossible to summarize in a few dot point. You will need tax information and the process only gets harder if you’re a non-U.S resident.
Before getting started on Amazon, you should know how you want to sell, how you want to ship and a wide range of other info.
- Business info – Your legal name, address and contact info.
- Email address
- Credit Card – To charge fees to.
- Phone Number – Needed for verification and support.
- Tax ID – You will need to provide tax documents. Non-US sellers will still need to complete an IRS tax for to show that you’ll be exempt from paying tax in the US.
- State Tax ID – Some US states will require you to at least submit tax documentation for your Amazon activities.
Some other things you’ll need to know before sign-up that’ll make selling much easier:
- Where do you plan to send returns? WIll you handle them yourself or will they be sent on to a company that specialises in reselling returns?
- Will you use FBA? (Fulfilment by Amazon) Will you be sending your products in bulk to Amazon Warehouses so orders are fulfilled by Amazon?
- If you use FBA, will you co-mingle your products? If you do use FBA, will your products be mixed with the same product from other sellers? This will save you money but leaves you open to counterfeit items being sent on your behalf. That is unless you become a ‘stickered’ FBA account.
- Will you use a DBA (doing business as) name or your registered name? If you’re selling your own brand on Amazon, you make like to trade under a different name so other resellers don’t know you’re selling directly to the customer.
If signing up for Amazon handmade, be prepared to show bank statement and provide images of your raw materials and where you make your work.
Clearly, the process to begin selling on these platforms are hugely different from one and other. If you’re committed to selling on Amazon, be prepared to invest the time in telling them what they want to know.
Selling on eBay and Amazon
Amazon and eBay list products that can be bought in a traditional way – for a flat price.
eBay has long been known for its auction platforms. A product is listed for it’s starting price and buyers bid in increments down to the last second. The final bid is the final price.
This eBay seller is selling brand new novelty cutlery in auction form – starting at £0.99
This unique feature means that things like pieces of toast that look like god have been sold for incredible amounts. Funny in that sense, but also an interesting concept for the online seller to explore – and possibly exploit.
Products on Amazon are sold at the listed price. Where Amazon gets confusing is behind the scenes. If you’re the only one selling your product and someone purchases your product, well then, you get the sale.
However, if someone else is selling the same product as you, both parties then ‘compete’ to win the buy box.
From Amazon themselves:
’A key feature of the Amazon website is that multiple sellers can offer the same product. If more than one eligible seller offers a product, they may compete for the Buy Box for that product.
To give customers the best possible shopping experience, sellers must meet performance-based requirements to be eligible to compete for Buy Box placement’.
These performance-based requirements include:
- Pricing your products competitively
- Responding to questions quickly
- Offering multiple shipping methods
- Always having stock on hand
These are just a handful of things that Amazon state can increase your chances of winning the Buy Box.
Over 15 sellers selling the same product means sellers must add value to the buyer.
While eBay offers more ways of selling, it’s actually Amazon’s process for the seller that’s complicated. eBay sellers have to pay attention to their competition and offer value for money and competitive pricing. Free postage is also a bonus.
Amazon sellers, on the other hand, are placed quite literally next to their competition. The Amazon seller has to compete on a micro-level to win the Buy Box.
SEO for Amazon & eBay
SEO is confusing at the best of times. When writing a blog or website copy, one must always be conscious of how the words used will affect the page’s result in a Google search.
In your own eCommerce store, it’s essential to optimise all pages in order to generate revenue.
But optimization, specifically for search engines, goes beyond using relevant keywords in your product description. Let me make this clear:
SEO is more than just keywords.
It’s about doing everything possible to make your search appear as high as it can.
When you have a problem that you’re not too sure how to solve, you use Google. Within 30 seconds, you may very well have your answer to that problem.
But Amazon is a buying platform, not a problem-solving platform. People don’t use Amazon to solve their problems. Instead, Amazon’s search engine (called ‘A9’ by those in the know) is used when a buyer knows exactly what they’re looking for. They’re close to the point of purchase.
Amazon is well aware of this and they’re constantly trying new things to make more sellers commit to more purchases, more frequently.
When optimizing your listings, remember that Amazon wants to sell things. Help Amazon do that and Amazon will reward you.
These are the listing details that you want to pay close attention to.
- The title is the most important part to nail. Be sure to get the brand, product range, material and/or main feature, colour, size and packaging/quantity. Right-side ads limit your title to 29-35 characters, down from nearly 150 characters in an organic search. What does this mean? Put your most important keywords first.
- All listings have 3 bullet points where you can add other important info. What’s put in here will not affect your ranking. Provide info about compatibility, warranty and other benefits, not just features.
- Just like the bullet points, the A9 search engine doesn’t crawl your product descriptions for keywords. Instead, use this space to build a story and really engage with your potential customers. A well-crafted product description can be all it takes to convert someone.
- Previous sales, high-res photos and positive reviews also play a big part in determining where Amazon places you in a search. The more, the better.
- Fill out as much information as you can. The more information you provide about your product, the more the Amazon search engine can learn about it.
Switch on ‘Advanced view’ to fill out more information about your product.
eBay’s relationship with SEO is more like Google than Amazon.
A search on Amazon will (ideally) not give you duplicate content. That is to say, each result is a link to one listing. That listing may have multiple sellers.
Search for the same product on eBay and the results will be multiple listings of the same product from various sellers. More like Google.
But there are ways we can tweak and modify eBay listings to make sure they rank as high as possible.
- eBay generally gives preference to ‘good sellers’. That is, the better your conversion rate and the more sales you’ve made, the more likely you’ll appear higher in a relevant search.
- Fill in as much information as you can. Any ISBN/SKU/UPC numbers, names, product lines, colour, material, size. The more items specifics you fill in, the more eBay will like you.
- Be mobile-friendly. If you’re using templates in your product descriptions, make sure they’re compatible with mobile devices.
- Alt text plays a super important role at how eBay (and in this case, also Google) look at your images. If you’re feeling brave, head into the HTML code of your listing, and put your keywords in the alt text of your image. Look for:
<img src=”image.jpg” alt=”PUT KEYWORDS HERE” title=”image tooltip”/>
- Don’t use acronyms. Especially in your titles. VGC, NOS, just use the correct vocabulary. Does BNWOB mean ‘brand new with original box’ or ‘brand new with out box’?
- 200 words are the minimum amount to have in a listing description. Stuffing your keywords into the product description will only help so much. According to eBay, your keywords should be at the beginning and toward the end of your listing description. It’s much better to craft a product description that’s clear and informative than it is to stuff works like WOW and [email protected]@K into there.
SEO is more than just putting keywords in the best possible place. To optimize your listings on Amazon and eBay, a lot of work around the way you operate is required.
Both Amazon and eBay require sellers to be trusted – and to get that, you need sales. This means getting started is quite difficult and you may need to struggle to get that.
Look at successful sellers in similar categories – what do they do differently to you? Mimic this in your own store and you’ll see yourself ranking higher in search results.
Want to know more about increasing your ecommerce conversions?
Read the article:
How to promote your Amazon & eBay stores
Like any other sales channel, the more effort you put into it, the more you get out of it. Amazon and eBay are no different. However, the same amount of effort put into each channel may yield different results.
Here, we’re going to discuss 2 different kinds of marketing. Paid and unpaid. Both kinds of marketing have their pros and cons.
Personally, I’ve always been apprehensive and paying to promote a marketplace listing. You pay to get someone to your listing where they might buy. If they do, then you pay listing, sale and transaction fees on the sale.
If you have the right product, you won’t need to spend money promoting it. Especially when it’s listed on a marketplace full of engaged buyers that want to spend money now.
Before actively marketing your channel make sure that each listing and your overall store and account are optimized the best they possibly can be. Also, take maximum advantage of the free marketing tools the platform offers you.
If your sales aren’t naturally coming to your eBay or Amazon listing, an unpaid marketing campaign should be your first resort.
- Make sure your listings are optimized. Fill out as many details as you possibly can. Put the most relevant keywords in a title and use your product descriptions to tell a story.
- eBay auctions starting at $0.99 are a great way to get your product seen. Just be sure you can afford to sell your product for $0.99 if no one bids.
- Social Media. No, don’t just share your listing on your personal page and hope it sells. Find active Facebook groups that have your target customer in there. Never dump a post and run. Post a link in response to a direct problem your product can solve.
- Go the upsell and mention your other products in your product description. ‘Check out my other products’ is not the way to do it. If you’re selling leather laptop cases, explain how you’re selling a matching iPhone case.
- Influencer marketing can get your product seen by a huge crowd if done correctly.
If you still feel your unpaid effort aren’t being rewarded, a little bit of paid marketing may help get the ball rolling. Both Amazon and eBay like sellers who have some sales – so some paid Social Media campaigns might be the answer.
- Social Media – a paid Facebook campaign to a highly targeted audience may be what you need to get your first handful of sales.
- Amazon Sponsored Products Ads are a Pay Per Click (PPC) model that lets you promote your listings amongst search results. Let Amazon’s algorithm targets the best possible buyers.
- Similarly, eBay Promoted Listings get your ad placed at the top of a search. Essentially, you’re paying for a higher placement.
- Google is probably the only website with more traffic than Amazon and eBay combined. Google product Ads can drive traffic directly from Google into your listing.
Facebook Pixel & Email marketing
Conventional email marketing and use of the Facebook pixel for remarketing purposes is not possible using Amazon and eBay.
Consider traditional retail shopping for a moment. When you’re looking for a new pair of shoes, you go to the mall or the shopping centre.
There, you may find a wide range of independently owned shoe stores, or perhaps a department store that sells shoes. You enter that store, find the shoes you like and buy them.
You pay the store, the store owns the sale. Not the shopping mall that the store is located in.
It is the complete opposite in regards to Amazon and eBay.
When selling something on Amazon, you’re not entitled to the email address of your customer. This is something that the marketplace itself owns. There is no opportunity to add your Amazon or eBay customers to an email marketing list.
eBay, however, offers you an option of building an email list. With the most basic form of account, you have up to 1000 people on your eBay email list. You incur a fee for every subscriber you have other that number.
Emails sent via eBay can only have links to eBay listings and text, no external links. If most of your eCommerce presence is on eBay, this may be a good feature for you to use to build your sales. Again, you do not get access to the email address itself.
It is not possible to add the Facebook Pixel to the checkout of your Amazon or eBay store. If you use Facebook to promote links to your Amazon or eBay listings, there is no way to keep track of how many orders have come from these websites. The same applies to Facebook Remarketing Ads.
Marketing your eBay or Amazon store is a vicious circle. Sure, you may very well increase your sales, but if you’re paying for your marketing, you’re spending money to spend more money.
The best advice possible is to absolutely exhausted every single unpaid promotional channel before you even consider adventuring into the world of paid marketing.
Paid marketing for a marketplace listing is going to drastically decrease your profit margins.
Dealing with customers on Amazon and eBay
The jury is still out on whether old adage ‘The customer is always right’ rings true today.
One can be sure though, that both Amazon and eBay will go out of their way to keep their customer – the buyer – happy. Amazon and eBay offer a variety of ways that buyers and sellers can interact, asking and answering questions, resolving issues and leaving reviews.
Both Amazon and eBay give the seller the option of asking you a question about your listing.
eBay gives the buyer the ability to ‘contact the seller’. eBay first tries to solve the question by showing questions users frequently ask (postage, handling times, returns etc.) If this doesn’t answer the question, the buyer can then ask the seller a specific question either privately, or publically for all to see.
Amazon allows buyers to connect with each other in order to answer questions specific to the product. Amazon usually frowns upon questions specific to an order as all the necessary info should already be on the page. All questions asked and answered are publically visible on the listing page.
Many situations can arise that leave a buyer unhappy. Long postage times and the item not being as described are two of the most common. In this situation, both Amazon and eBay encourage the buyer to open a dispute and communicate with their seller.
Amazon and eBay then follow a stair-step approach to conflict resolution. The first step is looked at by A.I (artificial intelligence), The A.I. cross-references the current situation with the terms & conditions of the marketplace, and in most cases, can solve a problem then and there. If no resolution can be found, the case is then escalated to a real person.
Both Amazon and eBay offer the ability to leave feedback and reviews of a purchase. In fact, Amazon has become known for some of the most hilarious product reviews online. Amazon knows reviews play a big part in helping customers make an informed decision about their purchase.
eBay puts a feedback rating (total number of transactions) next to a sellers name. The higher the number, the more a seller is trusted – in theory. Clicking on that link will take you to that seller’s feedback page.
Short sentences are left by buyers after each transaction with a positive, neutral or negative sentiment. Most feedback is about the transaction, rather than the product itself.
Feedback and seller reviews are important but don’t play a bigger part on eBay as they do on Amazon.
Feedback and reviews with Amazon are there to serve a purpose – to build trust between a buyer and a seller.
Amazon feedback is focused wholly on the product and rarely on the individual transaction itself. A buyer is prompted via email to leave a review once they receive their purchase. A seller can also request that a buyer leave a review of their product.
Amazon also collates User Generated Content – a very important concept in the world of eCommerce. Buyers create media that sellers use to persuade more customers to buy.
User-Generated Content of something as simple as a USB hub.
Reviews are also a contributing factor in where a product ranks in a search. As a seller, your hardest task will be getting your first review as very few buyers want to be the first to leave one.
As an eBay seller, your feedback rating plays an important role to grow your brand. As an Amazon seller, building positive reviews is the only way to create a profitable Amazon presence.
Both Amazon and eBay exist to please the buyer. Asking questions, resolving conflict and reviews are all things that are ultimately there to please the buyer.
Some customers often exploit this (eg, leave scathing reviews when they simply don’t get their way) but some people think they’re exceptions to the rules.
Both marketplaces go out of their way to help both buyer and seller be transparent and honest. eBay focuses more on the transaction and the individual seller, whereas Amazon tends to focus on the product that’s being sold.
How Amazon and eBay handle returns and refunds
No matter how hard you try, you won’t please everyone. At some point, you’ll have an unhappy customer that will want their money back. Both Amazon and eBay deal with these situations differently.
The number one influence on the health of your Amazon store is how you handle returns.
One of the reasons that signing up to Amazon is so complicated is because they need to put their faith in you. If a customer receives a faulty or damaged product, it’s Amazon’s name on the line, not yours.
Handle returns well and Amazon will reward you.
Amazon offers a 30-day refund on nearly every product sold (exceptions). Whether it’s shipped from an Amazon warehouse or your own garage, selling on Amazon means you offer a 30-day refund period from the date of receipt.
Previously, a buyer would have to get in contact with the seller before sending back a return. An Amazon policy change in October 2017 saw that policy removed. Buyers now don’t have to get in contact before sending the item back.
Amazon also introduced ‘returnless refunds’. This means that sellers can refund buyers without taking back the item, due to logistical or reselling expenses.
Needless to say, Amazon sellers are not happy.
One of the benefits of selling via FBA is that Amazon handles all refunds on your behalf. You specify how long the returns period is, and Amazon handles it all. Unhappy customers are Amazon’s problem now, not yours.
Refund periods are dictated by the seller on eBay. The process happens through the eBay platform, where the unhappy customer can upload photos to document the condition of the item bought and received.
Most refunds go smoothly, but if there are any disagreements, the buyer can ask eBay to get involved and mediate.
Amazon forcing its return policy on all sellers may be concerning, but it’s a step to building trust with buyers. Being able to dictate a 0 returns policy on eBay may scare away potential buyers.
Amazon’s FBA feature can make customer interaction a thing of the past.
Have your own returns policy clearly defined, don’t let the marketplace define it for you.
Branding your Amazon and eBay store
Branding your own part of eBay or Amazon is a difficult task. You are, after all, selling on someone else’s domain, quite literally, under their own banner. Whatever you do to help make your brand more memorable on Amazon or eBay will also help you perform better in search engine results.
However, your options to customise your store are limited.
- eBay allows a seller to add a store name, description, logo and customise the product description.
- The standard Amazon seller can upload a logo, pick a store name and add a brief description.
- Amazon ‘stores’ is a feature that lets a seller customize the homepage and showcase their products using their Amazon store homepage.
- You can include promotional material (eg, discount code in your independent web store) in your product packaging unless you sell via FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon).
A very well branded eBay store.
While it’s true that an independent web store is best for creating brand awareness, it’s not impossible using eBay or Amazon.
A quick word about actually branding your product – It’s often speculated if Amazon knows of your brand trademark, you’ll be referenced in a search. If you can sell via FBA and provide a branded product in its own branded packaging, that’s only going to help your cause.
Your presence on Amazon and eBay may be the main touch points for your business, but quality packaging and branding on your product really says ‘I go the extra mile’. This is what makes brands survive the long term.
Follow up your branding with some quality customer service. Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO himself is well known for putting the customer first. Make this the motif of your brand, rather than cash flow of profits.
eBay, Amazon, Etsy, Alibaba, Gumtree, Folksy – These are marketplaces and you’re selling your products under someone else’s banner.
They own the sale, not you.
And there is nothing wrong with that.
You need to be clever in finding ways to make sure people say ‘oh I got this from ‘Johns Leatherwork’ instead of ‘I got this on Amazon’.
Amazon and eBay selling fees and how much it costs to sell
Buy something at a garage sale for $10 and sold it on eBay for $25? The government probably won’t lose any sleep.
Moving $100,000+ worth of goods on eBay? Well, you may just have a knock at the door soon.
Of course, tax restriction vary from country to country and state to state. The IRS, CRA, HMRC or the ATO are going to want to know if they can get a piece of your profits. Because there are so many different solutions, we clearly can’t give you the best advice for your situation. However, here are some things to remember.
Taxes on eBay
Naturally, eBay is reluctant to get involved when it comes to sellers paying their fair share to the government. eBay, as a company, will not provide information to tax offices.
Actually, it’s impossible, since they have no way of knowing if a buyer actually paid for an item or not (perhaps they paid cash?)
As a precaution, get in contact with your accountant.
Taxes on Amazon
Amazon requires Tax information from sellers upon signup. This is used to send seller’s their statement for their tax returns. A seller can see a total amount of how much they’ve profited.
Amazon will automatically send U.S. sellers the relevant form (1099-K) if they have
- More than $20,000 in unadjusted gross sales and
- More than 200 sales
If you don’t fall into either of these categories, you may still need to pay your share of taxes.
Selling on Amazon and you’re not American? Well, the IRS still wants to hear from you. Check out the W-8BEN form. Again, get in contact with an accountant.
Taxes are never really easy, nor are they fun. Making money online does not mean you’re exempt from paying tax. What’s best for you will vary whether you’re a registered business or and where you source your products.
2 things to remember though –
- Don’t forget to claim your deductibles
- Do it with an accountant.
Amazon and eBay selling fees and how much it costs to sell.
Fees hurt. And they only hurt more when they’re complicated. Unfortunately, Amazon and eBay fees are complicated. But let’s take a quick look at how much you will be charged for selling on eBay and Amazon.
There are no fees to start selling on eBay. Sellers are only subject to 2 fees:
- Insertion fee – When you list an item on eBay you will be charged an insertion fee. One fee, per category, regardless of the quantity. Auctions also incur insertion fees, but if the item sells, you’re credited that fee. eBay regular promotes ‘listing fee free’ days.
- Final value fee – If the item sells, you’re charged a 10% fee based on the final sale amount.
- Paypal fee – A tricky area, because not everyone will be charged this fee even though sellers must have Paypal as a payment method. Payments via PayPal will incur a fee of $0.30 and 2.9% of the final sale price.
Sellers will be charged other fees for using Advanced Listing Upgrades.
Amazon sellers are given the choice of two kinds of accounts.
- Amazon Professional Account
- $39.99 per month + category specific selling fees.
- Access to Amazon Sponsored Product Ads
- Volume listing & order management tools
- Eligible to compete for the ‘Buy box’
- Amazon Individual Account
- $0.99 fee per sale + category specific selling fees.
- No access to Amazon Sponsored Product Ads
Sellers can upgrade or downgrade their accounts at any time. If you plan to sell more than 40 items per month, the professional account is the one for you.
Amazon calculates your earnings in the following way:
- Item price
- + shipping charges paid by buyer
- + gift wrap charges paid by buyer
- – referral fee (calculated on the item price+ gift wrapping)
- – closing fee
- – $0.99 listing fee (waived for Professional accounts)
The Amazon referral fee is the fee you’re charged for listing in a specific category. Each category has different referral fee rates.
Fees are different and even more complicated for FBA sellers and all of the applicable features.
‘For the incredible amount of eyes that Amazon gives your products, there is a price to pay,’ says Brandon Chopp the Digital Marketing Strategist for iHeartRaves.
‘Marketplace fees deduct a percentage of each sale, so we have to make sure our margins make sense’ he explains.
eBay fees are significantly less (and easier) than Amazon. But that doesn’t mean eBay is the best option for what you are selling. Amazon and eBay fees should be something that you take into consideration before committing to a channel.
Accepted payment methods on Amazon and eBay
In order to be a successful seller, it really helps if you can get paid. And both Amazon and eBay handle the way a customer pays the seller differently.
eBay does not handle the money in between the seller and buyer. A buyer pays directly to the seller’s Paypal or bank account. eBay monitors payments only if they’re made via Paypal.
At the end of the month, your eBay fees are taken out of either your nominated bank account or your Paypal balance.
Since eBay also doubles as a classified listing, a buyer can commit to a purchase and then pay you cash when they come to pick up their purchase. This leaves buyers exposed to some nasty scams.
One example is that a buyer pays for a product via Paypal. The buyer physically comes to pick up their product from you and then later, opens a ‘product never received’ dispute. The seller is left exposed and there is no way to prove the buyer got their purchase. Be aware of scammy buyers – they exist.
When a customer buys your product on Amazon, they don’t pay you directly. The customer pays Amazon, Amazon takes it’s cut of fees, and then every fortnight, pays into your selected bank account. Buyers can pay for their purchase in multiple ways.
- Credit/Debit card
- Amazon gift card
- Amazon Pay
- Cash on Delivery – only available in the UAE.
In this day and age, just about everyone can pay for their purchase in multiple ways. The way in which a customer can pay for their purchase should play little to no part in determining which marketplace is best for you.
However, Amazon only paying sellers every 2 weeks is something you should take into account when planning your cash flow.
How shipping works on Amazon vs eBay
Once a seller has bought and paid for your item, it’s your responsibility to get it into their hands. Both Amazon and eBay let you do this in separate ways
eBay leaves shipping entirely to the powers of the seller. The seller is responsible for adding correct postage prices and shipping the product on time.
eBay also offers a ‘fast n free’ shipping service. That is to say, it’s free for the buyer. Kinda.
A ‘fast and free’ badge is automatically applied to your listing if:
- ‘Free shipping’ is the default shipping option
- Buyer & seller are in the same country
- The item will be delivered in 3 days or less
- The listing is not a classified ad.
eBay claims the ‘fast n free’ shipping badge can increase sales up to 11%. But it also comes at a cost to the seller – he must pay for shipping. If he chooses to increase the sales price to cover the cost of postage, well, is the shipping really free then?
Amazon offers 2 kinds of methods to get your product into the customer’s hands. Surprise surprise, both methods are complex.
- Seller self-shipping – The traditional method. The seller is responsible for packaging, labelling and shipping the product to individual sellers
If you chose this option, If you are selling on the professional plan, Amazon will automatically include standard shipping rate for media (Video, DVD, music, books & software).
If you are on the Individual plan, Amazon’s own shipping rates will adhere to all of your sales. If postage will be more than what Amazon specifies, it’s up to you to include the difference in your sale price.
- Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) – Sellers ship their inventory to Amazon warehouses where they are shipped on to the buyer once purchased.
Naturally, Amazon charges a fee for this service, based on things like size, weight and a percentage of your overall profits.
On the other hand, this service frees up a lot of time, as Amazon will also take care of Customer service. It’s speculated that products fulfilled by FBA are also more likely to win the ‘Buy Box’.
eBay – Shipping is up to you.
Amazon – Shipping is up to you, but we can help.
Amazon’s FBA concept has certainly changed the face of eCommerce. Whether it’s done so to benefit both the seller and the buyer is a little unsure. Ultimately, if you organise your own postage and stay on top of it, more profits will stay in your back pocket. If you’d like to take advantage of FBA, factor that into your pricing – and enjoy not having to deal with returns.
Closing your Amazon and eBay accounts
Should you choose to close your account on eBay or Amazon, there’s a certain process that must be followed. Obviously, each one is unique to the marketplace.
Closing down an eBay store
Closing your eBay store is a simple 3 step process. You can choose to keep your account active to keep buying products, or close your account entirely.
- In ‘My eBay under the ‘Account’ tab, click the ‘Subscriptions’ link.
- Under ‘Active subscriptions’, find the subscription of your eBay store and click ‘Cancel Subscription’.
- Click ‘Close store’.
Cancelling a store may incur fees if you’re subscribed to other products like Selling Manager.
There is an unspecified waiting period before your account is truly closed, as to make sure all transactions are complete.
Closing down an Amazon account
Before closing your Amazon Selling account, ensure that you’ve done the following:
- Fulfilled any outstanding orders
- Cancel all of your listings
- Resolve all transactions – including issuing refunds
- Update your bank account info to receive your final payment.
- If you’re on the Professional plan, switch your account to an Individual account.
If you’re selling via FBA (fulfilment by Amazon), you’ll need to request that your remaining stock is sent back to you or destroyed.
The only way to actually remove your selling account is to directly email Seller Support. With your account set up as an individual seller, you won’t incur any listing fees unless you list a product.
eBay vs Amazon vs Alibaba vs Etsy vs Craigslist vs Jet vs Newegg
There are more than just 2 marketplaces on the internet. Here, we’re comparing traffic data from some of the most popular online marketplaces.
Etsy, a marketplace for small, handmade products, is quite a popular marketplace in the U.S as well as the UK (despite the national ranking).
Alibaba is a popular place for Amazon sellers to source their product from Asia, not so much to sell it to the consumer.
Craigslist is a standout here. A lengthy browsing time and high average of pages per visit mean that people spend time here. They’re engaged with their browsing.
Newegg and Jet are less popular, but still worth paying attention to, if your product suits those marketplaces.
Which one of these marketplaces is best for you? Thats dependant on what you’re selling, who your target audience is and if anyone is selling the same thing you are.
On paper, Craigslist stands out as a great option, but in reality, it’s a classified listing that lists services as well as products. Transactions are usually completed offline.
Do your research, find each marketplaces strengths and weaknesses and evolve to suit them.
If Amazon users were a country, it would have a bigger population than Japan and Russia – combined.
More people browse eBay in their spare time than any other sales web site.
One thing that you should take from this, is that there is no true winner in the Amazon vs eBay comparison. Each is a different creature, sharing some similarities, but ultimately do their thing in their own way.
If you can’t decide which option is best for you and your brand, try both. Experiment, take your time, learn, and put in 100% to get the most out of each channel.
You may find that having a presence on both channels is best. A multichannel approach to eCommerce is the direction of the industry’s future.
Has Amazon or eBay worked best for you? What didn’t we cover that you’d like to see covered? Let us know in the comments!