Amazon vs eBay

As you may know by now, eBay and Amazon dominate online retailing, with hundreds of millions of customers worldwide, but they are very different.

On one hand, eBay has expanded into a huge consumer marketplace, with a gross merchandise volume (GMV) of around $94 billion a year. On the other hand, Amazon is one of the largest companies in the world, with over $250 billion in sales and it’s market cap is worth +$1T.

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But what are the main differences you should know before choosing your preferred platform? Below we will compare the two online retail giants in ten different categories.

Amazon vs eBay selling fees

Amazon vs eBay selling fees

Sellers will always be better off with lower selling fees and those lower fees can be found at eBay. Amazon charges around 12-15% per transaction.

eBay selling fees

eBay charges two main types of selling fees: an insertion fee when you create a listing (charged per listing and category) and a final value fee when your item sells (this is a percentage of the final selling price).

The insertion fee is usually around $0.35, while the final value fee varies by category, but the typical rate is 10% on eBay.com and 9% on eBay.co.uk.

eBay’s partnership with PayPal ended in 2020, after which they signed an agreement with a new provider, Adyen, with which they expect to have lower payment processing fees.

Amazon Selling Fees

On Amazon, sellers pay a monthly fee of $39.99 for a professional seller subscription. There are no listing fees for professional sellers unless you have more than 100,000 listings with no recent sales.

Fees vary widely by category, generally 15% with a minimum of $0.30 per item. Sellers also pay a $1.80 closing fee on media items. There are no additional fees for payment processing on Amazon.

You might also consider FBA’s fees, which you can calculate using a free FBA calculator.

Amazon extra fees and closing fees

In some European countries, such as Spain, the standard 15% selling fee has been risen to 15,5% due to the “Google tax“. The Government charged Google, Amazon and other big tech companies with an extra 3% on taxes, so they passed this 3% to the Seller fee and, at the same time, Sellers have passed this charge to their listing prices.

If you are selling in some categories, there might be extra fees also known as closing fees: books, DVDs, movies, softwares, video games… those categories have closing fees you need to take in account.

Conclusion

So, as you can see, in terms of selling fees, there is no clear winner, the answer will vary depending on the main category you sell in. Some Amazon categories have a 5% fee and others have a 45% fee (yup, Amazon Kindle, Alexa related products). On an individual basis, the answer depends on your circumstances, including the products you sell, your typical selling price, and your sales volume. On the overall, we could say that eBay fees are cheaper than Amazon’s ones but, as discussed, it depends on the category you’re selling.

Amazon vs eBay performance and penalizations

Amazon vs eBay Performance KPIs and penalizations

Sellers are more comfortable with lower standards that allow them to make some honest mistakes without severe penalties.

eBay performance standards and penalties

Here are some of eBay performance key indicators:

  • Maximum defective transaction rate: 2%.
  • Maximum buyer protection cases/closed without seller resolution: 0.3%.
  • Maximum late shipment rate: 7%
  • High rate for “items not as described” returns, additional fee: 4% for the final value of items sold.

Sellers who do not meet performance standards may have their accounts limited or restricted:

  • Most severe penalty: total account suspension. These cases are not common.
  • Stricter performance standards for better-qualified sellers.

Amazon performance standards and penalties

  • Order defect rate: less than 1%.
  • Pre-fulfillment cancellation rate: less than 2.5%.
  • Late shipment rate: less than 4%

If these targets are not met, Amazon may notify the seller and allow the seller a period to improve. Maximum penalty: account suspension. This is very common and the reinstatement process is difficult.

Amazon has strict performance goals and considers all aspects of the customer experience. In some cases it may send improvement notices, in others sellers may be suspended without notice.

Conclusion

So, as you can see, Amazon’s performance goals and penalties are stricter than eBay’s, hands down. Transactions sometimes go wrong even if no one sets out to perform poorly. So, in this case: eBay wins.

Amazon vs eBay competitors Buy Box and pricing

Amazon vs eBay Competitors, Buy Box and pricing

E-commerce has made it much easier for buyers to compare prices. We have analyzed the best tools for that on best tools for price tracking. However, multiple sellers being able to offer the same items side-by-side pushes prices down and makes it difficult for sellers to make a profit. How does this work? Normally, when you upload a product on eBay or Amazon, you are asked for an EAN, UPC or GTIN code / barcode. That triggers data on the marketplace so they know if you’re uploading a new product or you are trying to sell a product that’s already on their catalogue. If the product exists, you join the Product Detailed Page (PDP) among other sellers and the competition to win the BuyBox beggins.

eBay’s competitors, pricing and Buy Box

Comparing prices on eBay takes a great deal of effort if the buyer wants to find the best price. Searching for the same product can yield a long list of new and used items, Buy It Now! items, auctions, completely different products, bundled packages, or just an instruction manual. Then there are various prices and different shipping options.

That stated, eBay shoppers have a reputation for being bargain hunters and may simply enjoy the challenge of searching for a bargain.

If you are wondering if eBay competes against you selling products on their side or using white brands: no, that’s not the case.

Amazon’s competitors, pricing and Buy Box

Amazon is driven by a catalog of products, so each unique product should only have one listing. For the same item, the actual set appears only once in the results, and the process is simpler if you have Amazon’s Choice badge. Even if they don’t want to go with the seller in the Buy Box, they can quickly see all the sellers and choose the cheapest one.

For sellers who don’t have the Buy Box, you are much less likely to get the sale and for this, the main influencing factors are product price and Amazon Prime badge.

Amazon buyers don’t have to go hunting to find what they are looking for, Amazon does that work for them.

If you are wondering if Amazon competes against you selling products on their side or using white brands: absolutely yes. Actually, Amazon has more than 400 white brands: Amazon Basics, Amazon Elements, Stone and Beam, Rivet, AMZFit, Solimo…

Besides that, Amazon has a Retail division. They buy products from brands and sold them directly on Amazon. You may recognize Amazon’s Retail products because, under the buying button, you will read this text “Ships from Amazon / Sold by Amazon”.

Conclusion

Amazon allows shoppers to compare prices very easily, but unless you win the Buy Box, it’s very hard to compete with the other sellers. In contrast, eBay is more democratic and shows buyers many results for them to filter and research themselves. So, for sellers: eBay wins

Amazon vs eBay sales potential

Amazon vs eBay sales potential

eBay’s sales potential

Even if you have a competitive and healthy business with high customer service standards, you are not guaranteed to reach your eBay sales potential because the search algorithms are notoriously unstable.

It is unclear why sellers rank where they do in search results. In addition, eBay operates selling limits to try to ensure that sellers can meet customer demand and provide good service. So, despite eBay’s good intentions, inconsistent search rankings and selling limits tend to hold back sales.

Amazon’s sales potential

Amazon’s search algorithm and Buy Box algorithm determine sales volume. The factors that influence them are relatively clear and the result rankings are fairly stable over time.

This means that sellers can sign up for Amazon Logistics, adjust their prices, generate product reviews, etc., and see their sales increase as a result. It’s very competitive but not random.

Amazon has a higher GMV than eBay, although about 50% of those sales are made by Amazon itself rather than by marketplace sellers.

Amazon is always expanding and opening new markets. The last ones added are Poland, Sweden, United Arabian Emirates or Saudi Arabia.

Conclusion

Sales can be unpredictable and limited on eBay, whereas Amazon allows good sellers to quickly build up a high volume of sales. It’s pretty clear that: Amazon wins.

Amazon vs eBay Advertising Programs

Amazon vs eBay Advertising Programs

An affordable, flexible and effective advertising program is a powerful tool for sellers to increase their sales.

eBay Advertising Programs

eBay has an advertising program called “Promoted Listings”, to appear there the seller chooses which items to promote and what percentage of the selling price they are willing to pay (usually between 5% and 10%) in addition to the final value fee.

Where a promoted ad appears will depend on how much competitors pay to promote their ads.

With promoted ads, the seller only pays when their item sells, but it is a fairly basic program with no control over when listings are promoted.

Amazon’s advertising programs

Amazon has a mature and very popular advertising program called “Sponsored Products”. It is a cost-per-click program with automatic and manual options, so sellers can allow Amazon to choose the search phrases they want to advertise on or choose them themselves.

Amazon has other advertising programs, including sponsored brands, which can be effective for advertising a variety of different products from the same company.

Besides Sponsored Products, you have Sponsored Brands, Sponsored Display, Amazon’s DSP, Amazon Marketing Cloud, Amazon Live, Audio Ads, TV Ads… Amazon’s Ad expansion is huge.

Conclusion

Which of these ad campaigns is the most effective and offers the best ROI? It depends on you and your products, but our verdict is: Amazon wins. Hell, they already have kicked Facebook Ads and Bing Ads’ asses so, Google Ads’s next.

Amazon vs eBay shipping and fulfillment

Amazon vs eBay shipping and fulfillment

How a seller gets their products to the customer’s door is arguably the most important aspect of selling online. You may already know FBM /MFN (Fulfillment by Merchant / Merchant Fulfillment Network), FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon) and SFP (Seller Fulfilled Prime). Let’s check what Amazon vs eBay looks like in terms of logistics.

eBay Shipping and Fulfillment

eBay launched their “FBA” around 2019-2020 but they’re still small compared to Amazon so, normally, Sellers have to pick, pack and ship orders themselves or find an independent vendor who can do it for them.

But they’re looking to expand it, of course, as other marketplaces did as well: CDiscount, Otto, ASOS or even Shopify.

Amazon Shipping and Fulfillment

Companies that use Amazon Logistics ship their products to an Amazon warehouse to store them until they are sold. When a sale is made on Amazon, the product is picked, packaged, and shipped to the customer directly from the Amazon Logistics warehouse. They also handle customer service messages related to shipping and cross out negative seller comments that only relate to shipping or product issues.

Amazon charges fees for this service and Amazon Logistics can also be used to fulfill orders from other channels (including eBay), that is known as Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment but, beware, both eBay and Walmart have banned Amazon MCF to fulfill their orders under account suspension penalty.

Conclusions

eBay does have a fulfillment service but it’s pretty recent and still small. On the other hand, Amazon offers sellers the option to use its in-house logistics, which happens to be the best in the world with more than 700 fulfillment centers world wide and growing. So: Amazon wins. 

Amazon vs eBay Customer support

Amazon vs eBay Customer support

Whenever you have customers, you need to attend/support them in some way: answer their questions, deal with returns, etc.

eBay customer support

eBay buyers know that products and sellers can vary widely, and often ask questions before committing to a purchase and even after making one. eBay still retains that community feels, with an easy-to-access “Contact Seller” link on every listing.

Amazon Customer Service

Amazon doesn’t have a history of a chatty marketplace. Shopping on Amazon has always been a fast and clinical affair. Amazon customers want fast, easy, and convenient shopping.

Amazon’s site design discourages interaction between buyers and sellers, and it is quite rare for a seller to receive questions from a buyer before making a purchase.

Conclusion

Dealing with unhappy customers requires skill and attention, so the less you have to do, the better. In this case: Amazon wins.

Amazon vs eBay Cross border and internationalization

Amazon vs eBay Cross border and internationalization

Selling to foreign customers can be a great way to increase sales without having to source new products.

eBay International Selling

eBay has 23 different international sites and is used in over 100 countries. It has a truly international system: you can register as a seller just once and then sell through any eBay marketplace worldwide. It’s not unusual for eBay sellers to make international sales without even trying.

eBay also has the Global Shipping Program (GSP)for which there is no fee and allows sellers to send an item for international delivery to a warehouse in their home country.

Amazon International Selling

Amazon has 21 international marketplaces, for which sellers must separate accounts to sell on each marketplace, except two “unified” areas in Europe and North America. A single seller account can be used to sell in the European marketplaces (Germany, Italy, France, Poland, Sweden, Netherlands, Spain) and also UK, US, Canada, Australia, Turkey, United Arabian Emirates, Saudi Arabia, China, Japan, Singapur, Mexico, Brazil, India or Egypt.

Conclusion

Amazon’s international growth has surpassed eBay by far, being the #1 marketplace in the US, Canada, Australia, UK, Germany, India and other countries. Amazon Logistics network has expanded worldwide as well, giving sellers the opportunity to sell all accross the globe shipping products in 2-3 days tops.

Amazon vs eBay brand building opportunities

Amazon vs eBay brand building opportunities

If buyers like your products and you can contact them with offers, you will stand out against the competition and make more sales over time.

eBay Branding Opportunities

eBay and its stores allow sellers to customize their product pages. And being able to personally package and ship their products provides another opportunity to use branded materials and include marketing brochures. They can also contact past customers for marketing and repeat business opportunities.

Amazon branding opportunities

For Amazon, the buyer is their customer, not the seller, and the seller better not forget that! Amazon’s policies are strict and sellers must be very careful when making any contact with buyers. Buyers can only be contacted with information about an order they have placed, no marketing messages are allowed.

On the other hand, Amazon has expanded it’s Brand Registry program in the last years so sellers can now have:

  • Personalized listings using A+ and A+ Premium pages
  • Their own Amazon Store
  • Amazon Posts
  • Amazon Live, to live stream their products
  • Sponsored Brands: exclusive ads for registered trademarks
  • Amazon DSP for brands: sampling, Prime TV / Audible / Kindle campaigns
  • Amazon Transparency and Project Zero: to fight counterfeits
  • Amazon Accelerator program: to launch brands quickly on Amazon
  • Brand analytics: exclusive analytics, metrics and insights for brands
  • Etc

Conclusion

By far, Amazon wins. Amazon has pushed Brand Registry expansion and new features over the last years. Amazon Advertising ecosystem has grown around brands as well so you can now advertise your brand on every Amazon channel.

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Amazon vs eBay business models

Amazon vs eBay business models

A business that follows a conventional retail route, buying existing products from a wholesaler, is very different from one that sources clearance lines or has its private label.

eBay business models

eBay is a good fit for most business models because it is a marketplace where you can sell products in any condition. But because it is a “noisy” marketplace without a solid product catalog, it is not as suitable for private labels and private labels.

Amazon’s business models

Amazon is product-driven with a robust review system. A wide range of products can be sold, but there are restrictions on the condition of the item, so used products cannot be sold in many categories. Even sellers of new products may be asked for evidence that they were purchased from authorized dealers.

As you may know, there are 2 different business units: Marketplace and Retail.

As discussed before, Retail is the “Sold and fulfilled by Amazon” unit. The Marketplace is where the fun for every 3P seller begins.

Amazon has other huge business units such as their Fulfilment Network (aka Amazon Logistics), AWS (Amazon Web Services), Amazon Services (Prime, Prime TV, Audible), Devices (Ring, Blink, Alexa…) or the Advertising unit. Bezos has other ongoing business such as the Washington Post or Blue Origin (aerospace manufacturer and sub-orbital spaceflight services company). Hell, them man even used his own New Shepard rocket to briefly travel to space.

Conclusion

If we strictly consider the “sell online” business model, you could say it’s a match, although Amazon would win, because they’re bigger and stronger. If you look at the overall picture, man, there’s no chance for eBay. Amazon’s market cap is +$1T. Nuff said.

eBay vs Amazon: and the winner is…

Amazon vs eBay conclusions

If each of the above factors is of equal value, it’s arguably a tie between eBay and Amazon.

But most sellers value-maximizing sales with the least amount of effort, as long as it’s profitable.

So, because Amazon offers higher sales potential and helps minimize effort with lower customer service volumes and use of Amazon Logistics, we have to say under these aspects: AMAZON WINS.

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About the author

Jordi Ordonez
Amazon and ecommerce Consultant at | Website

I work as an independent eCommerce and Amazon consultant.

I work for: Estrella Damm, Intersport, Bella Aurora, Lladró, Textura Interiors, Nice Things Palomas, Castañer, Due-Home and many other clients.

I teach and have been a speaker at: Meet Magento, Prestashop, Prestashop Day, SEMRush, Cambra de Comerç Barcelona, ​​ClinicSEO, Ecommbeers, Ecommbrunch, Ecommercetour.com, Ecommfest, EOI, ESIC-ICEMD, Foxize, Generalitat de Catalunya, Inesdi, Quondos and The Valley.

In addition, I have done in-company trainings for brands such as Orange and Adidas.

Finally, I collaborate writing articles for Shopify, SEMRush, Prestashop´s official blog, Brainsins, La Vanguardia, eCommerce-news.es, Marketing4ecommerce and other blogs and media.

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