Selling on Amazon vs eBay : Key Differences You Need to Know

By Christopher Grant

April 5, 2024

There's often a debate around selling on Amazon vs eBay, so it's time to settle this once and for all.

Of course I don't think there is a right or wrong way, if you can make a decent dime selling products online on any platform then congrats to you.

But the two platforms in question have some key differences that you need to know about.

In this Amazon vs eBay comparison we'll dive into as much detail as possible so you're armed with plenty of info to choose your platform.

Let's begin.

Overview of Amazon vs eBay Platform Differences

There's a huge amount of tiny details when it comes to comparing Amazon and eBay, but it's important to first take a broader view of the key differences.

Product Pricing

Amazon products are all fixed price, eBay has both fixed price listings (buy it now) and auctions where buyers can bid on your products.

Customer vs Seller Support

Amazon definitely favors the customer and makes returns very easy, whereas eBay favors sellers.

I know this from personal experience where my "complaint window" closed on eBay and now that it has been 6 months and my order has not arrived, I have no recourse. The seller ignores me, eBay doesnt do anything! Seems crazy, but this is the reality.

Fulfillment Type

eBay is all merchant fulfilled, so you need to handle fulfilment yourself if you sell on that platform. Amazon has both merchant fulfilled (FBM) and fulfilment by Amazon, which means Amazon stores, picks, packs, and fulfils your orders for you.

Seller Performance

Both platforms have their own seller performance requirements in order to maintain your account health. On eBay, if sellers do not meet minimum performance expectations eBay will add an additional 6% fee on top of the fees already charged for the month. I found this quite interesting.

Product Types

You can sell a huge variety of product types on both platforms such as apparel, groceries, books, DVD's, and more. eBay is unique in that you can also sell motor vehicles and real estate on the platform. Amazon has just launched its Vehicle Showroom feature for car dealers, but it doesn't allow the sale of used vehicles like eBay does.

Ease of Use

If you want to get started selling on Amazon or eBay, it really is a little easier to launch on eBay. Amazon will make you jump through a few more hoops as a seller.

Market Share

Amazon's annual revenue is sitting just above $570 billion, while eBay's annual revenue sits around the $10 billion mark. Huge difference.

Now you've got a bit of an idea of how both platforms compare, let's dive into some of the finer details in this Amazon vs eBay comparison.

Fees to Sell on Amazon vs eBay

Amazon Fees

When it comes to selling fees on Amazon, they get quite detailed depending on the kind of selling plan you use and the fulfillment method you choose.

Firstly, Amazon has an individual selling plan and a professional selling plan. An individual plan is free, but you will pay a flat rate of 99c per sale.

If you're on a professional selling plan, you will pay monthly subscription fee of $39.99 per month but the 99c flat rate per sale is waived.

In addition to the above mentioned fees, you need to take into account the "referral fee". Amazon's referral fees vary depending on the product category, but they generally start at 8% of the sale price and increase up to 17%.

If you're using Amazon to store and fulfil your products, which is called Fulfilment by Amazon, then you need to account for small additional costs such as FBA inventory storage fees.

Amazon Selling Fee Calculator

The above Amazon revenue calculator example shows a referral fee of $3.60 and FBA storage fees of 34c per month, for a frying pan that sells for $23.99.

Amazon Fee Summary

  • $0.99 fee when you sell a product if you're on an individual selling plan
  • 8-17% referral fee per sale
  • Professional selling plan costs $39.9 per month, but the 99c fee per sale is waived
  • Expect small extra costs for warehouse storage if using Amazon FBA

eBay Fees

If you don't have a store on eBay, you can post up to 250 product listings on eBay without paying an insertion fee.

eBay charges a selling fee based on the total value of the sale, including shipping costs. This fee is called the Final Value Fee and it is usually around 13.25%, but it does increase slightly for certain product categories.

You will also pay a per sale fee of $0.30c for sales under $10, and $0.40c for sales above $10.

If you want to run a store on eBay, you will need to pay a $7.95 per monthly fee for the Starter store plan.

eBay Store Fees

If you subscribe to a store plan on eBay you will get some added benefits, apart from being able to have your own storefront, such as more free listings, reduced selling fees, and discounted shipping supplies.

It is important to note that eBay has a lot of extra fees for additional listing features, including things such as:

  • Bold listing upgrade for $2
  • Product subtitles from $1.50 per listing
  • Upgrade photo "gallery plus" for $0.35

These extras are not mandatory, but worth taking into consideration if you choose to sell on Amazon.

eBay Fee Summary

  • 250 free listings
  • Selling fees, called final value fees, average around 13.25% but can vary.
  • An extra fee of 30-40c per sale is also charged
  • Store prices start at $7.95 per month (or $4.95 if paid annually), but you get discounted selling fees, more free listings, and other perks.

International Marketplaces

Depending on where you are in the world, one platform might be a better option for you than the other. You don't have to only sell in the country that you live in though, so make sure you consider that before deciding between Amazon and eBay.

Amazon Marketplaces

Amazon Marketplaces

At the time of writing, Amazon is currently available in 22 countries around the world. The benefit of selling on Amazon however is that you don't need to be located in the country you want to sell in. For example if you lived in Australia, you can sell on Amazon in the United States. You would just need to use a third party fulfillment center or use Amazon FBA to fulfil your products.

eBay Marketplaces

eBay Marketplaces

I was surprised to discover that eBay actually has more international sites than Amazon, with 48 countries in total available. Much like Amazon though, you can be located in a different country to which you want to sell in. You just need a third party to handle your fulfilment for you.

Fulfilment Methods

If you're a seller on eBay, you need to handle all of your fulfilment yourself. This means you need to store your inventory, pick, pack, and ship everything once you make a sale.

If you don't want to handle the fulfillment for your eBay orders yourself, the other option is to have a third party fulfillment center do the work for you. This comes at an added cost, but it makes sense to use a fulfilment service once your business gets to a certain size.

When it comes to Amazon, there are two different fulfillment methods. Similar to eBay, Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) on Amazon is where you personally handle the storage and fulfillment of your inventory.

Where Amazon really stands out is with its Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) program. Amazon has warehouses all over the world where sellers can send their inventory, and Amazon will pick, pack, and ship it when an order comes in.

Amazon's FBA service comes at an extra cost, but it is the only service of its kind in the ecommerce world and it's worth every penny. Amazon will even handle your customers service and returns, so you can focus on sourcing profitable products to sell on Amazon.

Which Platform is Better?

This is one of those questions that will get varying answers, depending on who you ask. One question I like to ask in this scenario is...

Can you make money selling on either platform?

The answer is a resounding yes!

But that doesn't mean that I don't personally think one is better than the other.

For the reasons listed below, I wholeheartedly believe that selling on Amazon is the best choice:

  • Amazon has a massive market share with over 50% of online sales being made on the platform
  • Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) means you can spend the majority of your time sourcing prodcuts to sell, without having to worry about fulfilment and customer service. There is no other service like this.
  • Amazon is very customer-centric, which might make life harder for you as a seller, but it also means that they are considered more trustworthy that a platform like eBay.

If you're selling used unique items like collectibles of niche used goods, eBay may actually be a better option for you. But in most circumstances, I have found that Amazon is the better option for the reasons listed above.

My Final Word on Amazon vs eBay

I may be slightly biased in my opinion, but many sellers will agree that Amazon is the better option for a long-term sustainable ecommerce business.

I'm interested to hear your opinion on this matter? I know there are some huge eBay sellers out there which I love seeing.

Feel free to join my email list below and learn about selling on Amazon, and I don't mind if you reply to an email telling me how much better eBay is if that's how you feel! I'm all for supporting online sellers, no matter what platform. 🙂

All the best and happy selling!

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