Amazon vs. eBay – Which Is Better for Selling Your Stuff Online?

Are you searching for ways to boost your income? Perhaps the thought of rummaging through your closets to find items you can sell has crossed your mind. Whether it’s unused clothing, jewelry, collectibles, or tools, these items can fetch a good sum if you connect with the right buyer.

The most convenient way to reach a broad audience and sell your items is through online platforms. While there are numerous sites to choose from, Amazon and eBay stand out as the giants in this space. The dilemma arises – which platform is better? To answer this, three key factors need consideration: the types of items you can sell, the effort involved, and the associated costs. Let’s delve into a comparison between Amazon and eBay in these aspects.

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What You Can Sell

Originally an online bookstore, Amazon has evolved into a vast marketplace. It features over 30 categories of goods for sale, though not all are open to every seller. Amazon tends to favor new products, but it does accept used goods in specific categories. Some categories, like Amazon Device Accessories, Kindle, and Books, are open to all sellers. Others, like Automotive Parts, Jewelry, and Fine Art, require a Professional account and approval.

In addition, Amazon has a specialized Handmade program for selling crafts, similar to Etsy. This program covers a range of handmade items, and sellers must complete a separate application process.

Founded as an online auction site, eBay has historically been more receptive to secondhand goods. In general, you can sell almost anything on eBay, whether new or used. However, there are restrictions and prohibitions for certain items due to safety concerns or legal compliance. Items like adult items, alcohol and drugs, live animals, certain types of clothing, and weapons have specific rules or are outright prohibited.

How the Sites Work

If the item you want to sell is allowed on both platforms, the next step is understanding the selling process on each.

Setting Up an Amazon Seller Account:
Amazon’s seller platform, Seller Central, guides you through a five-step process. This involves logging into your regular account, reading and agreeing to the business solutions agreement, providing information about your sales business, entering banking and credit card details, and providing tax information. Depending on your plan (Individual or Professional), you can list items individually or in bulk.

Setting Up an eBay Seller Account:
To sell on eBay, you need a basic eBay account. The registration process involves agreeing to the user agreement, providing personal information, and creating a username and password. While eBay offers the option to create a business account, a personal account is sufficient for selling unwanted items.

Listing Your Items

Listing on Amazon:
For Professional accounts, Amazon allows bulk listings. If the item is already listed, you can click “Sell on Amazon” on the product page and provide details. For items not listed, a Professional account is required, and you must enter product information, including a valid UPC or EAN code.

Listing on eBay:
To list an item on eBay, use the “Sell” option, and a step-by-step process will guide you. This includes selecting a category, describing the item, adding photos, choosing the sale format (auction or fixed-price), setting the price, selecting shipping options, specifying a return policy, and indicating accepted payment methods.

Getting Paid

Getting Paid on Amazon:
Amazon notifies you when a buyer purchases your product. You then ship the item to the buyer. Payments are deposited into your bank account at regular intervals, with Amazon deducting seller fees.

Getting Paid on eBay:
eBay informs you of a sale either through account checking or by setting up notifications. Once the item is sold, you are responsible for shipping it. eBay offers tools for printing shipping labels and provides guidance on packaging. Payments are received via PayPal, credit/debit cards, or cash for in-person pickups.


Seller Fees on Amazon:
Amazon has Individual and Professional plans. The Individual plan charges $0.99 per item listed, while the Professional plan costs $39.99 per month but allows unlimited listings. Additional fees include referral fees, closing fees for certain categories, and refund administration fees.

Seller Fees on eBay:
eBay charges insertion fees per item listed, with the first 250 listings free each month. Final value fees, similar to Amazon’s referral fees, apply when an item is sold. Optional upgrades, such as boldface type or a subtitle, come with additional fees.

Final Considerations

Choosing between Amazon and eBay depends on the nature of your items and your willingness to invest time and money in your online sales venture. eBay generally has lower fees, making it suitable for occasional sellers. However, for specific categories like electronics, Amazon might be more cost-effective. Additionally, the ease of listing items on Amazon depends on whether they are already in the catalog.

In conclusion, both Amazon and eBay offer reliable platforms to sell your items online. Your decision should align with the type of items you have and your preferences for convenience and fees. If you have only a few items, eBay may be the preferable choice, while a more extensive sales operation might lead you towards Amazon, especially with a Professional account.

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