Sellers just starting with marketplace sales often wonder whether they should target eBay first, Amazon first, or take the plunge and sell on both at the same time.
Meanwhile, sellers that already sell on one or the other marketplace are often haunted by the thought that they could possibly be missing out on sales until and unless they expand to sell on both marketplaces.
Here are some of the reasons that sellers opt to sell on each marketplace—and some of the reasons why some sellers opt to sell on both.
5 Reasons To Sell on eBay
Though Amazon has seen the most growth in recent years, there are a number of reasons why you might still prefer to sell on eBay, which has nearly 200 million active users of its own. Here are some of the biggest:
Lower barriers to entry
If you’re just starting out with marketplaces, eBay’s approach—few to no up-front fees, few or no minimum commitments of any kind—tends to be appealing.
With eBay, you can spend nothing, create an account, and start posting a small number of listings in just a few minutes, then grow in volume and professionalism over time.
eBay gives you more control over sales than Amazon does. Here are what you can do adds up to much more flexibility.:
- Create many eBay seller accounts for different product lines.
- Enjoy wiggle room on returns and fulfillment policies.
- Opt to open a store or just post listings.
- Sell used, new, or refurbished.
- Sell items that aren’t in eBay’s catalog.
Thanks to eBay’s feedback system and best match ranking algorithm that takes shopper feedback into account, customer-focused sellers enjoy much more positive differentiation on eBay than they do on Amazon.com.
If you think you can turn great customer service into your calling card, eBay will reward you for it.
More niche shoppers
While Amazon’s typical shopper is looking for good deals and Amazon-level service on mass-market and brand-name products, eBay’s shopping audience is often looking for unique, interesting, and personally exciting products.
If you’re hoping to succeed in a very particular niche with unique products, eBay is the place to be.
Room to brand your store and sales
As an eBay seller, you have a high degree of control over the appearance of your product listings and your store page if you opt to create one—all from day one, at no cost, and even with just one listing.
On Amazon you have to jump through several extra hoops and own a brand trademark for the ability to customize the way shoppers see you.
Taken together, these benefits point to eBay as being an ideal platform for small and independent sellers looking for the ability to make a splash with shoppers.
On eBay you can do this without having to compete in the “big brands” sandbox or start by registering your own trademark on day one.
5 Reasons To Sell on Amazon
eBay is the most venerable marketplace online, but in recent years Amazon has clearly taken the crown as the top marketplace in e-commerce—so there are obviously many reasons to prefer it. Here are some of the biggest:
Reach the big marketplace
With over 310 million active customers and over 353 million products on offer, Amazon is the undisputed 800-pound gorilla of e-commerce. There are simply more shoppers on Amazon than anywhere else, including highly loyal Prime shoppers that are amongst the most spend-happy on the Internet.
Not bother with little details
The flexibility that some sellers find in eBay really looks more like “busywork” to other sellers.
If spending time crafting your own policies, product pages and photos, and customer service workflows doesn’t sound all that great to you, Amazon is the place to be. On Amazon, in many cases, this is all done for you.
Zero fulfillment work
Amazon’s FBA program enables sellers to place inventory in Amazon.com warehouses, then forget entirely about how it reaches the customer. No shipping cartons, no tape and packing peanuts, no printing labels or trips to the carrier.
If the idea of shipping things out leaves you cold, Amazon was made for you.
You’re a master at arbitrage
eBay is great for sellers that want to create and market unique goods that delight niche shoppers. But what if your primary skill is wheeling and dealing to find and access hot bulk products at better wholesale prices than anyone else?
If skillful arbitrage is your game, Amazon is a better bet than eBay for you.
Selling apparel or other size-critical goods
Coping with sizing and fit trouble has long been a bugaboo in e-commerce. Ultimately, returns in some categories are inevitable as customers try to find just the right size or variation of a product.
Amazon is currently far better at satisfying this need smoothly—both for sellers and for shoppers—than eBay is.
While eBay stands out as a fun, quirky platform for boutique enthusiasts, independent sellers, and liquidators, Amazon is all business—the default place for sellers that want to spot a market need, do smart wholesale deals, then meet the market need by making sales, all while delegating busywork like fulfillment and returns handling.
eBay VS Amazon: How About Selling on Both
Of course there’s no reason why you can’t sell on both—and this is precisely what many sellers opt to do. Among the reasons you might make this choice are:
Reach largest possible audience
eBay and Amazon are, without a doubt, the two most important marketplaces in e-commerce.
Selling on both means that you’ll reach the hundreds of millions of shoppers that visit each of them. Having products and reaching shoppers in both places means more sales.
Goods that fit well with each marketplace
If your product line includes both unique, niche goods that will perform well on eBay and mass-market or high-return goods that will work better on Amazon, selling on both marketplaces will enable you to maximize sales across your product line.
Boost brand recognition
There is a decent amount of shopper overlap between the two marketplaces, and having your products on both can help to boost your image as a “serious” brand that’s available at every major e-commerce venue.
This reassurance can nudge certain on-the-fence shoppers to take the plunge and buy your product.
Reach the “gift card” market
Both of these marketplaces sell gift cards and offer rewards and incentives programs that can “lock” buyers in to one marketplace or the other.
You can’t sell to Amazon gift card shoppers on eBay, or vice-versa—and there’s a lot of similarly locked-in cash out there ready to be spent, particularly over the holidays.
Sell in both places is easy
Seller tools exist to help you to sell on both marketplaces without doubling your work. inkFrog is probably the most popular of these, and enables you to synchronize your product listings, inventory levels, and orders between the two marketplaces—so that there’s really no compelling reason not to sell on both.
Particularly given the last point, for many sellers today there’s really no reason to do anything but open a store on both marketplaces and reach as many people as possible.
For e-commerce entrepreneurs looking to sell on marketplace(s), things have never been brighter than they are today!
You may also like: