Amazon vs Ebay: Where Should I Sell My Stuff?

People looking to sell items often wonder whether they’ll get the better return on their time from eBay or Amazon. There’s no clear cut answer, but the Amazon vs eBay debate comes down to who you are and what you’re selling.

Selling common items on Amazon is easier and generally brings in more money than selling them on eBay. People with more obscure items will have an easier time on eBay. Amazon has some challenges to work out with cross browser issues in Safari and Internet Explorer. Still, overall it’s the more robust system for selling used or unwanted goods.

Another reason to sell common items on Amazon? Amazon is killing it. Their worldwide sales are up 23% as of November 2015 – up 28% in North America alone.

amazon vs ebay

Amazon vs eBay by the Numbers

amazon vs ebay dataThe table below shows how both sellers stack up. We gave both Amazon and eBay a score of 4.5 out of 5, but that doesn’t mean they’re equal. As the table shows, people with relatively recent and popular items should choose Amazon. People with older or less popular items will do better on eBay. Other factors below will keep the Amazon vs eBay debate raging.

FeatureAmazoneBay
Amazon vs eBay Total Score4.54.5
Browser IssuesWin!
InterfaceWin!
Selling LikelihoodWin!
Less Popular / Older ItemsWin!
PayoutsTieTie
FeesWin!
Total Dollar Amount of SaleWin!
AuctionsWin!
Customer InteractionWin!

Ebay vs Amazon for Selling Used Stuff

It used to be that anyone with used items cluttering up attics and closets had to unload them in yard sales, which was time consuming and a lot of work. Even Craigslist presented problems. Horror stories of fraud and scams abound. Someday we’ll be able to click a button and turn used, unwanted items instantly to cash for a fair price. For now, the best solution is selling items securely and relatively fast on Amazon or Ebay. Which one depends on level of computer skill and what you have to sell. We’ll compare Amazon vs eBay below for ease of use, selling likelihood, potential dollar amounts, pitfalls and more.

amazon vs ebay easy

For selling used items, both eBay and Amazon present some difficulties and offer some efficiencies.

Amazon vs eBay: Ease of Use

It turns out both Amazon and Ebay have pretty significant pros and cons when it comes to ease of use.

Amazon and Browser Issues: Amazon Loses

Amazon has some browser issues in Safari and Internet Explorer. We learned of these problems after being unable to log in with Safari. The site kept telling us, “You are not an authorized Amazon seller.” Two password changes later we decided to call Amazon customer service.

amazon vs ebay customer service numberIn the past Amazon didn’t publish their customer service number. They’ve since solved this problem. That gives Amazon an extra point in the Amazon vs eBay struggle.

At the time it took some digging to connect to Amazon. The customer service rep explained our sign-in problem was most likely a conflict between Amazon Seller Central and Safari. She also said the site had problems with Internet Explorer. She said Amazon Seller Central worked better with Google Chrome and best with Firefox. After logging in with Google Chrome, we were able to access our Seller Central account. As far as we know, eBay has no such browser issues. When it comes to browser issues and Amazon vs eBay, eBay wins.

Interface: Amazon Wins

amazon vs ebay interface

It’s easy to list a product for sale on Amazon once you’re logged in with a seller account.

Amazon’s user interface is simple, straightforward and easy to use. Users just select the top menu item Inventory>Add a Product. The site brings them straight to the “Add a Product” page. Typing in the name of the product most often results in a near-instant list of possible items to choose from. Amazon is exceptionally good at guessing what item someone is trying to sell with surprisingly few words entered. We typed in “Mammut Beacon” and were instantly shown the exact item we had in mind, along with a list of other possible matches.

eBay’s interface is slightly more busy, with a lot of text to hunt through to create a new item. eBay also has a smaller database of possible items. Typing an item name is much less likely to result in eBay guessing the intended item correctly. This isn’t too much of a problem since eBay pretty much lets users type in any product name they like. Users can even make up product names out of thin air and eBay will accept them.

For the easiest interface, Amazon wins the eBay vs Amazon struggle.

ebay interface

eBay’s “sell an item” interface is pretty straightforward once you find it.

Beyond selecting the item name, Amazon and eBay both have easy to use forms where users can type in numerous details about the item they want to sell. Because of browser issues alone eBay would win this one except for one additional potential downside to selling on eBay: PayPal. eBay sellers aren’t required to have a Paypal account, but it does make things easier.

Selling Likelihood: Amazon Beats eBay

Any Product You Like

We mentioned above that eBay lets users type in any product name they like, even making up product names from scratch. While this does make eBay a little easier to use, it also decreases selling likelihood. That’s because a seller might not type in the name exactly as most buyers search for it. For instance, a seller might have a “Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker, White” for sale. Not remembering the exact wording of the product name, they might type “Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt & Ice Cream Maker ICE-21” into the interface. Not far off, but someone searching for the exact product name is going to see listings typed exactly. Inexact eBay sellers will wind up lower in the search results and will therefore have less likelihood of selling.

amazon seller add a product

Amazon’s add-a-product page is remarkably good at guessing what item a user is trying to sell.

By contrast, Amazon’s method of letting sellers choose from a list of options will result in a higher selling likelihood, because users can’t make up incorrect names for products and wind up swept under the search result rug. Amazon wins this installment of the Amazon vs eBay struggle.

Amazon’s Low Price Tool is King

One other way Amazon boosts a seller’s likelihood is its low price tool. Amazon searches its database and finds the lowest price currently offered in its system. When a user is filling out the form to list their item for sale, Amazon shows the lowest price currently offered. Setting the item price equal to Amazon’s lowest is a good way to sell something quickly. Setting the price even lower is a great way to sell an item very quickly for the best price.

amazon low price tool

Amazon’s low price tool really helps sellers get the most for their merchandise.

eBay, by contrast, does a pretty poor job of guessing prices on most items. Sellers who go with eBay’s suggested price will often undercut themselves, sometimes by hundreds of dollars. Amazon knew our Mammut Pulse Barryvox Avalanche Beacon should go for $425. eBay suggested selling it for $116. When it comes to suggesting prices, Amazon definitely takes the Amazon vs eBay cake.

Amazon’s Granularity is Great

amazon vs ebay details sell stuff

Amazon offers more granularity which increases the likelihood of selling an item.

eBay lets users list a product as either “New” or “Used.” Amazon has these categories, but lets users further specify by adding “Like New,” “Very Good,” “Good,” etc. Shoppers on Amazon are much more likely to buy a product with a more specific identifier than just plain old “used.” The different levels of used are another reason a product is more likely to sell on Amazon than eBay

Selling Less Popular or Older Items: eBay Wins

One drawback of Amazon’s huge database of pre-existing items is that when someone tries to sell a less popular item or one that’s been discontinued, there’s a fair chance Amazon won’t recognize it. When that happens, Amazon does let users create new items, but there’s a huge catch: new items must have UPC codes or EAN numbers. These numbers can be purchased online but it’s a huge hassle. Selling a five year old wetsuit or other item Amazon doesn’t recognize is usually more trouble than it’s worth.

For older or less popular items, eBay wins the Amazon vs eBay game.

amazon vs ebay selling payouts

Amazon takes longer to pay for sales and has higher fees, but generally results in a bigger payout than eBay.

Amazon vs eBay Payouts: Tie Game

Time to Get Paid: eBay Wins

Amazon takes longer to pay sellers for sold items. The time from sale to payment at Amazon can be up to 14 days. eBay pays for sold items instantly, though in some rare cases PayPal might hold the money for up to 21 days.

Fees: eBay Wins

Amazon takes 15% of the money a buyer pays for an item. eBay only takes 10%. However, PayPal charges an additional 3%. (It’s possible to get paid by eBay without using PayPal.) eBay also sometimes charges insertion fees just for listing an item. It’s difficult to understand why insertion fees are charged on some items but not on others. eBay says it all depends on category and selling format. eBay didn’t charge us an insertion fee for our avalanche beacon.

amazon vs ebay sell used items more money

Amazon will generally fetch sellers of used or unwanted new items a higher price.

Potential Dollar Amount of Sale: Amazon Wins

We said above that Amazon is better at dialing in the best price sellers can reasonably ask, and that this most often results in a higher dollar sale. We also said Amazon’s customers tend to be more affluent. Both factors mean sellers can expect to get more for an item when they sell it on Amazon. This at least partially cancels out their higher fee schedule. The exception to this rule is eBay’s auction feature, described below.

Other Considerations Comparing Amazon to eBay: Tie Game

amazon vs ebay selling auction

eBay’s auctions can get more money for those selling unique items.

Auctions: eBay Wins

Amazon tried auctions for a while but abandoned them. eBay continues to have great success at auctions. Auctions work by letting eBay sellers list items online and then letting buyers bid on them, driving up the prices. Auctions work best with unique items and not very well at all with items that are abundantly available. Someone selling a flat screen TV or iPad would probably sell it quicker and at a better price at Amazon than on eBay. Someone selling a rare 1895 silver Italian 20 Centesimi coin in mint condition would do much better on eBay.

Customer Interaction: Amazon Wins

eBay customers tend to want to bargain and ask more questions. Someone who sells an item on Amazon will likely deal with less attempts to haggle. For people who want to sell their stuff without a lot of chit chat, Amazon wins the Amazon vs eBay fight.

Amazon vs eBay in the Media: Amazon Wins

If you’re like most people, you won’t stop with just this article. Instead, you’ll scan through five or six articles before making your decision. In the interest of saving time, we’ve combined the verdicts from the top ten articles in Google for the Amazon vs eBay question. The result? Amazon wins with a score of 7 to 3.

Note that while most of the articles called the contest a tie, the ones that didn’t all gave the win to Amazon.

Amazon vs eBay: Top 20 Articles     
Final Score: Amazon Wins73
TitlePublicationAmazon or eBayDecisionAmazon ScoreeBay Score
Should I Sell on Amazon or eBay or Both?SkipMcGrath.comDepends on the person.Tie0.50.5
A Comparison of eBay vs Amazon SellingNChannel.comSell new items on Amazon, used on eBayTie0.50.5
Ten Reasons to Choose Amazon Over eBay for SellingAbout.comAmazon easier, more organized, gets you more money.Amazon1
Amazon vs eBay – 7 Reasons why one will make you more money than the other7PillarsOfSellingOnline.comAmazon more trusted, easier, gets more moneyAmazon1
Pros and Cons of Selling on Amazon, eBay and EtsyCIO.comAmazon more trusted, seamlessAmazon1
Amazon vs. eBay: Which marketplace is best for sellers?WhereToSellOnline.comDepends on the person.Tie0.50.5
Amazon vs eBay – Which Should you Choose?eCommerceInsiders.comAmazon better for common items, eBay better for unique itemsTie0.50.5
Amazon vs eBayWorldVersus.comSurvey of 6,643 consumers Amazon wins 80% to 20%Amazon1
Selling on Amazon vs. eBay Comparison - Sling CommerceSlingCommerce.comeBay gives more control, Amazon is simplerTie0.50.5
Online Selling – Ebay vs Amazon?EarnRentMoneyOnline.comeBay better for less common items, Amazon better for common itemsTie0.50.5

Amazon vs eBay by Seller Votes

I’m kind of geeking out about this one. There’s a website called WorldVersus.com that pits things against other things and lets people vote. You know, who would win in a fight between Godzilla and Optimus Prime? Is Ford better than Chevy?

Amazon vs eBay World vs

Does this screen grab from WorldVersus.com settle the eBay/Amazon debate for sellers once and for all?

We consulted the WorldVersus oracle in the matter of Amazon vs eBay, and it turns out almost 7,000 users have chimed in on the question. The verdict? Amazon wins hands down. Amazon rules the roost with 80% of the vote or 5,554 votes. Ebay brings up the rear with 20% or 1,347 votes. If this was a presidential election, Amazon would clearly win in a landslide. However, I have to keep repeating my mantra: that’s only true if you’re selling popular items.

Amazon to Infinity and Beyond

There’s some evidence that Amazon may be winning the online selling war. On 1/6/15, a Forbes article cited industry analyst claims that Amazon’s momentum will be unstoppable in the new year. What that means for sellers is more customers and more chances to sell their stuff.

 

Amazon vs eBay: The Verdict

Amazon wins for popular items, as long as the user is running Firefox or Google Chrome. eBay wins for even slightly more obscure items and doesn’t face the same cross-browser issues that Amazon does. Overall, Amazon will fetch the higher price for sellers and is the more robust system. For More Info visit Amazon Seller Central or eBay.