Online Selling – Ebay vs Amazon?

Which is better for online selling: eBay vs Amazon

Should I sell on Amazon or Ebay?

Ebay and Amazon are both credible sites with guaranteed buyer-traffic coming directly to you.  But it can be tough if you have to choose one over the other.  Both has its own pros and cons.  I’ve mapped out the answers here to the most common questions asked by new sellers.  I hope it helps you decide which is the best outlet for you.


Fees for selling: Ebay vs Amazon


Amazon is free to join and free to list your items for sale.  Here are the fees Amazon charges after your item sells:

Individual account cost:

  • .99 cents per-item fee (up to 40 listings per month)
  • Or the PRO account:

$39.99 month (unlimited listings)

Both accounts have referral fees and variable closing fees..

  • Referral fee is mostly between 8-15% of sell price, with a few categories being higher, at 20-25%.
  • Variable closing fee is between $1 – $2, depending on which category your item is listed under.



Ebay is free to join, but there are fees for each time you list an item for sell as well as after it sells.

Individual Seller:

  • Insertion fee:  First 50 free each month (in certain categories). Otherwise, insertion fees is about .30 cents per listing (but can run up to $2.00 depending on how many extras you add, such as bold text, or subtitles).
  • Final value fee:  10% – 15% depending on the category your item is listed under.

Ebay Store:

  • $20 p/month (Basic)  OR $60 p/month (Premium) OR $200 p/month (Anchor Store)
  • .5 to .25 cents insertion fees
  • No final value fees with Ebay Stores

Ebay’s seller fees vary greatly, and they try hard to keep their fees list hidden from public view.  Before you list anything with Ebay you should run it through the site’s fee calculator to see exactly what you’ll owe Ebay if it sells.


Auction Style or Fixed Price Listing?

Ebay: Both

Ebay allows you to sell your products for a fixed price, or run it as an auction.  Auction-style listings are good if you have very rare or hard-to-find items that whose value you’re unsure of.  A good rule to go by here is: if you can’t find it on Ebay or Amazon for sale, sell it auction-style.  Start it at the lowest price you would be pleased with, and hope that it goes up from there.  The least you would get is the starting price–if it sells.

Amazon: Fixed price only

With Amazon, you get to set your item’s sale price, but they are straight up, for-sale-for-this-price listings.


Can you personalize your own listings?

Ebay:  YES

With Ebay, you are free to use your creativity to help sell your items and get more money for them.  Each listing is given its own full page, on which you can add additional photos and description.  You can basically build a brand through these listings, making it so that customers get to know you and come back to see what other things you have for sale.

Here’s an example of an Ebay listing where the seller has added her own extras in the bottom of the page to personalize the listing and give potential buyers more detail..

Personalized branding for online selling, Ebay vs Amazon

Amazon: NO

With Amazon, you are a small fish in a big pond.  You use Amazon’s photos, and add yourself to the list.  The only description you add is answering basic questions, such as “What is the item’s condition?”.  However, this could be a blessing to sellers who basically want to sell their items and do minimal work, as Amazon is the one who communicates with the buyers, not you.

Amazon’s item descriptions:

Ebay vs Amazon seller's listing categories


When and how do you get paid?

Ebay: Immediately, Paypal

Ebay requires all sellers to offer Paypal as a payment option, so therefore, you must have a Paypal account in order to sell on Ebay.  If you don’t have one, it’s a very simple process.  You just have to add a credit card or debit card, or a bank account (it can be a checking or saving account), and then verify your identity.

With Paypal payments, you get your money right away.  You can spend your Paypal cash anywhere online where Paypal is accepted (which is probably a lot more places than you think).  Or you can transfer it to your bank account (1-3 day process), or you can apply for the Paypal debit card and use your Paypal like an online checking account.  Just keep in mind that if your buyer wants a refund or disputes the transaction for some reason, there will be a chance that Paypal will take that payment back from your account.  If it’s already transferred, they can yank it directly from your bank account.

Amazon: After 14 days, Amazon Payments

Amazon payments go through “Amazon Payments” only.  You must also add a credit card or bank account to sign up with Amazon Payments, otherwise it is a very easy process also.  Amazon holds all payments for 14 days after the sale is final, and then transfers it to your Amazon Payments account.  From there, you can transfer it to your bank account if you wish, or spend it at those places online where it is accepted.


Which has more active customers?

Amazon beats Ebay by 100 million customers, according to


Number of active customers as of Jan, 2014

Number of active customers 2014 Ebay vs Amazon



Where will you get the highest profit, Ebay or Amazon?

Ebay:  For unique or hard-to-find items

The typical Ebay shopper chooses this site over Amazon for either a cheaper price, or when searching out a more specialized or harder-to-find item.  If you can’t find the item you’re selling on Amazon, sell it on Ebay, and it’s likely you’ll get more for it than you would at Amazon.

Amazon:  For more commonly used and sold items

Amazon’s average selling price is just higher than Ebay’s.  I believe this has a lot to do with the growing amount of buyers on the site.

Furthermore, loyal Amazon shoppers are generally willing to pay a little more for a quick and convenient online shopping experience.  So if you are selling a common, everyday item of value, you would most likely get more for it on Amazon (as well as a much higher success rate of it selling).



Do you ship your own products?

Ebay: Yes

Ebay really only offers you the selling platform and its large customer base.  You have to do all the work of creating your listings,  communicating with customers and potential customers, printing shipping labels, packaging and shipping.  It’s all a pretty easy process, especially after you’ve done it once or twice.  But Ebay has not yet created a shipping service like Amazon has.

However, you can choose to use a drop shipping service, in which case the drop shipper actually holds your inventory and handles all packaging and shipping.

Amazon: Yes or No

Amazon has a fulfillment service for its customers with large inventories.  For free (believe it or not!), you can send all of your inventory to Amazon, and they will handle it all for you.  All you have to do is list your items for sale on Amazon, choose your prices, and then Amazon takes over with all customer communication, packaging and shipping the sold item out.  It really is a remarkable service.  Plus, sellers who use the fulfillment service actually get the benefit of increased exposure to all of Amazon Prime members.


My suggestion…

Now that you know the ins and outs of Ebay and Amazon, hopefully you can dive right in with less hesitation.  Both sites are user friendly, geared toward the everyday internet user, not programmers.  And as both have been tried and tested millions of times over, you can rest assured that you will not get scammed out of your life savings for simply signing up and listing your first items for sale.  Try one on each and see how you like them.

And I suggest that, in going forward as an online seller, don’t choose your favorite and completely discard the other one.  Learn how and when to use both to your advantage.

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