The days of throwing a yard sale to rid your home of unwanted items have come and gone. With the invention of online buying came the equal and opposite reaction of online selling. The internet has given regular people the opportunity to become experienced sellers with just the click of a button. From awesome eBay deals to Amazon rebate programs, it’s hard not to wonder how to get involved to sell more products.

Of course, the early days of online selling began on eBay. eBay’s platform was the first of its kind in terms of allowing people to connect and barter over items—no matter where they were in the world.

Twenty-five years after eBay’s birth, many other companies have joined the digital marketplace game. One of eBay’s biggest competitors is possibly the biggest name in ecommerce today: Amazon.

If you’re looking to start selling goods online, you may be wondering is it better to sell on eBay or Amazon? If you are a handmade seller, we suggest checking our amazon handmade vs etsy comparison guide. If you aren’t, Amazon and eBay are the right platforms. There are many key differences between these two platforms, particularly for sellers. To understand the pros and cons of eBay vs Amazon, read on for the ultimate seller guide comparison!

Who Can Sell on Amazon vs eBay

One of the biggest differences between these two sites lies in their seller criteria. In order to be an eligible seller, each website has its own standard for what you must provide prior to approval.

Here are the major differences:

Amazon Seller Criteria

Amazon has allowed third-party sellers to use their platform since 1999. These sellers have grown in numbers over recent years, and currently make up a large portion of Amazon’s marketplace. To become a seller on Amazon, you’re required to register under one of two plans.

  • Individual – To qualify for the Individual plan, you need to sell under 40 items a month. Individual sellers can sell a variety of items, and don’t necessarily need a well-defined business to begin selling. This is the best plan to choose for small-scope entrepreneurs looking for an extra source of income.

  • Professional – The Professional plan may be what more Amazon users are familiar with. This plan covers larger-scale businesses that sell a particular brand of goods. To qualify for this plan, you’ll need to pass the 40 item per month threshold. This plan is also best for a professional seller who uses advanced selling programs, including Amazon’s Launchpad tool (which helps small businesses with clear potential increase their visibility).

Amazon online marketplace sellers, under either plan, must have access to the following in order to be verified:

  • Their bank account and routing number
  • A government issued ID
  • Tax information
  • A valid credit card
  • A reachable phone number

In addition to general criteria, Amazon sellers must also meet a high level of customer service and product quality in order to remain part of the marketplace. Amazon takes customer satisfaction seriously, and their third party sellers are required to uphold the same standards as the rest of the company. These standards are measured as follows:

  • Order defect rate – This is the number Amazon uses to determine your quality of customer service. Incorrect or damaged orders, and poor treatment of customers, can raise this number to dangerous levels and risk your seller status. To keep yourself on good terms as a seller, you’ll need to keep your order defect rate at 1% or lower.

  • Cancel rate – Another number Amazon keeps track of is the amount of purchases that are canceled by the seller, post payment and prior to shipment. In order to keep your seller status safe, you must keep your cancel rate under 2.5%.

  • Late shipment rate – Amazon also closely watches what percentage of a seller’s shipments go out late. With patented two-day shipping on their prime products, Amazon doesn’t want their third-party sellers lowering their standard for quick delivery. While you don’t need to ship as fast as Amazon prime items, it’s important that you’re honest with customers about delivery dates. To remain an eligible seller, you’ll need to keep your late shipment percentage under 4%.

If you meet all of this criteria, and you’re looking to sell on the Amazon platform, then you should be all set to sign up. However, if these standards don’t work for you, it may be helpful to check out the eBay seller criteria, instead.

eBay Seller Criteria

If you’re a small seller, simply looking to sell one or two items you have lying around the house, eBay is the way to go. To list a single item on eBay, all you need to do is:

  • Sign up for an eBay account with your email
  • Create your listing with a description and photo
  • Select shipping options
  • Add a viable payment method

These steps can be easily accomplished by most internet users. The standards for selling something on eBay are far less restrictive than Amazon. This is because eBay’s platform was created to allow the average person to sell their items to the potential buyers.

eBay’s selling options don’t stop at the basics, however. It is possible to achieve an established business on eBay, similar to sellers on Amazon. eBay breaks down their frequent sellers into three categories:

  • Top Rated – Top Rated Sellers receive more visibility on eBay’s platform, a Top Rated seal of approval on their listings, and in some cases a 10% discount on final value fees. To become one of eBay’s Top Rated sellers, you’ll need to meet several qualifications:

    • Have an active eBay account for 90 days or more
    • You’ve sold less than 0.5% of products delivered with defects
    • Less than 3% of your products arrived late to the buyer
    • You’ve had 100 or more transactions, and at least $1,000 in sales, over one year
  • Above Standard – Sellers who are classified as above standard meet the basic criteria for eBay’s selling practices. This includes:

    • Less than 2% of your products have been delivered with defects
    • Less than 7% of shipments have been received late by the buyer
    • Less than 2% of transactions have been cancelled due to low stock
    • You receive adequate reviews from buyers
  • Below Standard – If you’re not meeting one or more of the requirements listed in the Above Standard category, you will be downgraded to the Below Standard classification. This means your listings will be harder to find on eBay’s website.

While becoming an eBay seller account has significantly less requirements than Amazon, it does not mean that eBay takes their sellers less seriously. Through this categorization system, eBay ensures that customers know who they’re buying from, and gives sellers incentive to work hard and provide high quality service to receive the benefits of becoming an Above Standard or Top Rated Seller.

eBay vs Amazon Seller Fees

Another factor that sets eBay and Amazon apart are the fees each company applies to their sellers. As with many other business ventures, you need to spend a little money in order to make money as an ecommerce entrepreneur. If you’re looking to become a seller, but you’re wary of high selling fees, you’ll need to know which company is more affordable to use.

Amazon Selling Fees

As previously stated, Amazon has two seller plans. Besides the eligibility requirements, another major difference between these two packages is the amount of fees involved.

  • Individual – The Individual plan does not require a flat monthly rate, but rather a per-item fee for each sale you make. This fee is 99 cents per item. If you’re adhering to the 40 items per month limit, the costs shouldn’t add up to much.

  • Professional – The Professional plan comes at a greater cost of $39.99 per month, with no per-item fee. This flat rate is a bit higher, but if you’re selling more than 40 items per month it shouldn’t make too much of a dent in your earnings.

In addition to these service fees, Amazon sellers also have to pay a final value fee on every transaction, which is 15%.

eBay Selling Fees

eBay’s fees are a little different. Due to the fact that most people can become eBay sellers, there are no plans that you need to pay for to keep your eBay account. Instead, the fees eBay charges sellers are broken up into two categories:

  • Insertion fee – This is the fee sellers pay to list their item on eBay’s platform. Fortunately, eBay gives sellers 200 free listings each month. Only once you’ve reached the 200 listing limit will you need to start paying insertion fees. These extra listing fees are low, at a cost of 35 cents per item.

    • Some items exist outside this typical insertion fee, depending on size, weight, and price.
    • Large items, such as heavy machinery, printing presses, and vehicles come with a higher insertion fee of $20.
    • Some musical instruments and athletic shoes that are priced above $100 have no insertion fee.
    • While the ins and outs are a bit complicated, the bottom line is that eBay offers more affordable options for listing your items.
  • Final value fees – Like Amazon, final value fees are applied to completed transactions as well. For eBay, these fees are dependent on the seller’s shipping method of choice. Final value fee percentages differ depending on the listing category.

    • For most items, the standard fee of 10% (with a maximum cap at $750) will be applied.
    • Books, DVDs, and CDs are subject to a 12% final value fee.
    • Heavy machinery and vehicles, due to their high value, have a much lower fee of 2%.
    • Guitars and basses have a 3.5% fee, with a maximum cap at $350.
    • Athletic shoes costing $100 or more have a 0% final value fee, or a 10% fee if under $100.
    • If you offer customers several methods of shipping, with various prices, the final value fee will be calculated based on the cheapest shipping option.

While the seller fees on eBay may be a bit more complicated, they are ultimately going to be more affordable for most sellers. If you’re looking to list items and avoid large fees, eBay is most likely the more profitable option.

eBay vs Amazon Marketplace

Now that you’re familiar with many of the technical elements of selling on eBay and Amazon, it’s time to examine the general differences between the two digital marketplaces.

The key factors that separate eBay and Amazon’s ecommerce platforms can be split into a few categories:

  • Products – In terms of listings, Amazon’s system of categorizing products is stricter than eBay. Amazon allows sellers to pick from approximately 40 different categories of merchandise. While this may seem vast, there’s a chance that sellers with a more niche inventory may struggle with categorizing their products.

On eBay, sellers have the option to either categorize their product, or list it outside of the premade categories. This is most likely because eBay is known for having more unique items that attract enthusiasts and collectors, while Amazon is typically geared toward the average consumer looking to buy commonly available products.

  • Visibility – With so many Amazon search results sourced directly from Amazon manufacturers, it can be difficult for third-party sellers to gain visibility. It may be particularly hard to gain traction in terms of sales if you’re choosing to use Amazon, especially sellers who have an Individual account, rather than a Professional one.

eBay, on the other hand, is a bit easier for small businesses to navigate. Due to the fact that eBay’s platform is almost entirely made up of regular people, with much fewer established businesses and stores than Amazon, it’s more likely that your listing will appear higher up on eBay’s search page than on Amazon.

  • Payment methods – The way Amazon and eBay allow sellers to receive payments is another way the two sites differ. eBay offers a wider variety of payment options, including PayPal, credit, and debit. This money goes directly to the seller from the customer, without eBay acting as much of a middleman.

Amazon, on the other hand, plays a greater role in the transaction process between merchant and buyer. When you purchase an item from a third-party seller on Amazon’s website, the money actually goes directly to Amazon. This money is then deposited into sellers’ accounts twice a month. While this makes Amazon’s payment process a bit more secure, it can be a lot of extra work for people only looking to sell a small amount of items.

  • Popularity – While eBay reigned king in the early years of online bartering, it’s important to note that Amazon has gained significant popularity in recent years. In terms of accessibility, it’s more likely that a larger percentage of modern customers will have Amazon accounts, and be perusing Amazon’s marketplace, than eBay.

eBay also has the added factor of bidding on items, which can be a bit intimidating for some online shoppers. While not every listing on eBay requires bidding, the technique doesn’t exist on Amazon at all. These are important factors to keep in mind when deciding which company to use.

Is it Better to Sell on eBay or Amazon?

After learning everything there is to know about eBay and Amazon’s unique online shopping platforms, you still may find yourself asking: which is better, Amazon or eBay?

The bottom line is this—it depends on what you’re selling. For small-scope sellers looking to earn some extra cash, enthusiasts trying to slim down their collection of unique items, or simply a person looking to sell one individual item: eBay is the clear winner.

If you’re a small business owner who wants to increase sales, or you find comfort in the trustworthy practices and protections of a large parent company: Amazon is the clear choice.

Sell Smarter with RebateKey

For sellers from either site looking to boost the visibility of their listings, don’t forget to use RebateKey! RebateKey is the hub for all things shopping, savings, and deals. Users can post their listings on the website to advertise their products to other users and boost listing rankings.

Happy selling!


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