Selling on Amazon vs eBay - Which Is Better?

By Thomas Bennett Financial expert at Priceva
Published on March 1, 2024
Navigating the vast landscape of online retail is akin to setting sail in open waters; the direction you choose can lead to uncharted territories of success or into the stormy seas of challenge. At the heart of this voyage is the pivotal decision every merchant faces: selecting the right marketplace for their digital storefront. Amazon and eBay emerge as towering lighthouses in these digital depths, each beckoning with its unique allure and promises of vast consumer reach. However, deciphering which platform best aligns with your business goals is no small feat. It requires a deep dive into the intricacies of each marketplace, understanding their fee structures, seller requirements, the intensity of competition, and the breadth of customer reach.

As we edge closer to 2024, the e-commerce landscape continues to evolve at a breakneck pace, making the choice between Amazon and eBay more significant than ever. This guide aims to shed light on the critical aspects of selling on these platforms, offering a comprehensive comparison that spans from sales performance and operational costs to market penetration and seller support services. Whether you're polishing the digital shelves of your existing online store or laying the first stone of your e-commerce empire, understanding the nuances of Amazon and eBay is crucial.

Amazon vs eBay - Product Types

When delving into the debate of Amazon vs eBay, it's evident that the product types available on each platform cater to distinct audiences, thus significantly impacting a seller's decision on where to list their items. On Amazon, the spectrum of products spans from the latest electronics, fashion, and home goods to groceries and personal care items. This diversity makes Amazon a one-stop shop for consumers, increasing the likelihood of amazon sellers capturing sales across multiple categories. The platform's emphasis on new, high-quality items aligns with the expectations of amazon customers, who often prioritize convenience and fast shipping offered through Amazon Prime.

Conversely, eBay holds a unique position in the online marketplace ecosystem, celebrating the breadth of unique, vintage, and hard-to-find items that cater to specific interests or collector's items. eBay sellers have the advantage of tapping into a market of ebay shoppers looking for deals, rare finds, or items that are no longer in production. This diversity extends to ebay selling strategies, where sellers can opt for auction-style listings to drive competitive prices or fixed price listings for a straightforward selling approach. eBay's global shipping program further enhances the ability of sellers to sell internationally, broadening their customer base beyond local markets.

The choice between Amazon and eBay often comes down to the seller's inventory and business goals. For those with new products aiming for a wide audience, Amazon provides a robust platform with a massive built-in customer base. In contrast, sellers with niche products or those looking to reach buyers interested in unique or used items might find eBay to be a more suitable venue.

Amazon vs eBay - Selling Fees

Navigating the complexities of selling fees on Amazon and eBay is crucial for sellers aiming to optimize their profit margins.

Amazon Selling Fees

Amazon fees structure, notably its referral fees, can vary significantly across different product categories, which necessitates a detailed understanding by the seller to accurately forecast profit margins. The referral fee is a percentage of the sale price, which can range from a low single-digit percentage for personal computers to a higher percentage for clothing and accessories. This variability underscores the importance for amazon sellers to carefully select their product categories to manage costs effectively. Additionally, Amazon FBA adds another layer of fees for shipping and handling, but it also offers significant benefits in terms of shipping speed and convenience, which can lead to more customer support and higher sales volumes.

eBay Selling Fees

eBay's approach to seller fees includes a mix of insertion fees for listing items and final value fees, which are a percentage of the item's selling price. eBay sellers need to navigate these ebay's seller fees while also considering optional listing upgrade ebay fees that can enhance visibility but add to the cost of selling. The platform's fee structure is designed to accommodate a wide range of selling activities, from occasional sellers to professional sellers with high-volume sales. eBay offers an appealing proposition for sellers through its lower selling fees for certain categories and the flexibility to choose between auction and fixed price listings, allowing sellers to strategize based on their product types and desired selling method.

Both platforms also incorporate additional fees, such as monthly subscription fees for sellers who choose to open an eBay store or opt for Amazon's professional selling plan. These fees offer additional benefits and tools for managing an online store but represent an ongoing cost that sellers must account for. Understanding and managing these fees is pivotal for maintaining a profitable online store, whether you're selling on Amazon, eBay, or both. Sellers must weigh the benefits of each platform's reach, customer base, and fulfillment options against the cost structure to determine the most suitable platform for their ecommerce business.

Amazon vs eBay - Fulfillment Methods

The fulfillment methods available on Amazon and eBay play a pivotal role in determining a seller's operational efficiency, cost management, and customer satisfaction levels.


Amazon's Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service is a game-changer for many sellers, providing an end-to-end solution for storage, packing, and shipping. This service allows amazon sellers to leverage Amazon's vast logistics network, ensuring that products reach customers promptly and reliably. While FBA simplifies the fulfillment process, it does introduce additional costs, including monthly storage fees and fulfillment fees, which vary based on the size and weight of the products. However, the benefits of enrolling in FBA extend beyond logistics; products fulfilled by Amazon are eligible for Amazon Prime, significantly increasing their visibility and appeal to amazon customers who value fast, free shipping.


On the flip side, eBay offers sellers the flexibility to manage their shipping and fulfillment, presenting an opportunity to tailor logistics to their specific needs and potentially lower shipping costs. This level of control enables ebay sellers to select the most cost-effective shipping options, negotiate rates with carriers, or even handle fulfillment in-house if they have the capacity. While this can increase the operational burden on sellers, it also allows for customized packaging and personal touches that can enhance the customer experience. eBay supports its sellers with tools and programs, such as the eBay Global Shipping Program, which simplifies international shipping and expands the seller's market reach without complicating the fulfillment process.

Amazon vs eBay - Customer Service Requirements

Customer service is a critical component of success for online sellers, and both Amazon and eBay have specific expectations and standards that sellers must adhere to.


Amazon's customer service requirements are designed to uphold the platform's reputation for customer satisfaction and trust. Amazon sellers are expected to maintain high performance metrics, including low order defect rates, prompt shipping, and quick response times to customer inquiries. The platform monitors these metrics closely, and failing to meet Amazon's standards can result in account suspension. This high bar ensures that amazon customers enjoy a consistent and reliable shopping experience, but it also places a significant responsibility on sellers to manage their operations efficiently.


eBay, while also prioritizing customer satisfaction, offers sellers more leeway in how they manage customer service. This autonomy allows ebay sellers to develop personalized customer service strategies that can differentiate their store and build customer loyalty. eBay encourages sellers to communicate directly with buyers to resolve issues, and while it provides a detailed set of guidelines for customer service, the platform offers more flexibility in how these standards are met. This approach can be particularly beneficial for sellers who specialize in unique or vintage items, where buyer inquiries may be more detailed and require specialized knowledge. Additionally, eBay's seller dashboard and feedback system give sellers insights into their performance and customer satisfaction levels, enabling continuous improvement.

Amazon vs eBay - Level of Competition

The competitive landscape on Amazon is notably intense, with a multitude of sellers across the globe vying for the attention of a vast audience. This high level of competition can be daunting for new sellers, but it also signifies the platform's substantial customer base and the potential for significant sales volumes.


Amazon sellers must employ sophisticated strategies, including search engine optimization (SEO) for their product listings, high-quality images, and competitive pricing, to stand out. Additionally, leveraging Amazon's advertising tools and garnering positive customer reviews are crucial for visibility. The platform's algorithm favors listings that demonstrate a high level of customer engagement and satisfaction, pushing them higher in search results. This ecosystem creates a highly competitive but equally rewarding environment for those who master the art of selling on Amazon.


eBay, while also competitive, offers a different kind of marketplace. Its diverse and expansive platform caters to a wide variety of niches, from vintage clothing and antiques to the latest electronics. This diversity means that competition varies widely depending on the category. eBay sellers in niche markets often find that they face less competition, allowing for greater visibility of their products without the need for aggressive marketing tactics. The platform's auction model also presents unique opportunities for sellers to achieve higher prices for rare or highly sought-after items. Furthermore, eBay's global reach enables sellers to tap into international markets, potentially reducing competition by targeting buyers searching for specific items not readily available in their local markets.

Amazon vs eBay - PPC Costs


Amazon's Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising model is a powerful tool for sellers looking to increase visibility in a crowded marketplace. The cost of these ads is determined by a variety of factors, including the competitiveness of the keyword and the product category. This model allows amazon sellers to bid on keywords relevant to their products, with higher bids increasing the likelihood of their ads appearing in prominent positions. The effectiveness of Amazon PPC campaigns hinges on careful keyword selection, bid management, and ongoing optimization based on performance data. Sellers must balance their advertising budgets with the potential for increased sales, making PPC a critical component of a comprehensive Amazon sales strategy.


Conversely, eBay's approach to seller promotion does not rely on a direct PPC model. Instead, the platform offers a range of promotional tools designed to enhance visibility without the straightforward cost structure associated with PPC advertising. These tools include promotional listings, which highlight items in search results and category pages, and the eBay Store subscription, which provides sellers with their own branded storefront and additional marketing options. This lack of a PPC model means that ebay sellers must rely more on the quality of their listings, including detailed descriptions, competitive pricing, and excellent customer service, to attract buyers. While eBay offers less predictability in terms of the direct cost of visibility compared to Amazon's PPC model, it provides sellers with a variety of ways to enhance their presence on the platform creatively.

Both Amazon and eBay provide unique challenges and opportunities in terms of competition and cost of visibility. Amazon's highly competitive environment and PPC model require a proactive and strategic approach to selling, while eBay's diverse marketplace and promotional tools offer a different path to achieving sales success. Sellers must consider their product categories, target markets, and personal preferences for marketing and customer engagement when choosing between these two platforms for their ecommerce business.

Amazon vs eBay - National & International Reach


Amazon's expansive global network is a major asset for sellers looking to expand their reach beyond local markets. The platform operates marketplaces in numerous countries around the world, providing a seamless path for amazon sellers to list their products internationally. This global presence not only opens up new markets but also comes with the advantage of Amazon's sophisticated logistics and fulfillment options, such as Amazon FBA. Through Amazon FBA, sellers can store their products in Amazon's fulfillment centers across different regions, ensuring faster delivery times to customers worldwide and enhancing customer satisfaction. This capability to sell internationally with ease makes Amazon an attractive option for sellers aiming for global expansion, providing them with the tools to manage cross-border sales effectively while navigating various international sales tax regulations and customs requirements.


eBay's approach to international sales emphasizes flexibility and accessibility. The platform's Global Shipping Program (GSP) simplifies the process of selling internationally for eBay sellers. By shipping their items to eBay's shipping center in their home country, sellers can easily sell and ship to buyers in over 100 countries without the need to directly handle complex international shipping logistics or customs procedures. This program makes international selling accessible even for new sellers or those with limited resources to manage international logistics on their own. eBay's wide-reaching platform and diverse buyer base also allow sellers to tap into niche markets around the globe, potentially finding buyers for unique items that may not have a large market in their own country.

Amazon vs eBay - Ease of Management

Amazon Seller Central

Amazon Seller Central is designed to empower sellers with a robust set of tools and analytics that streamline the management of their online store. From inventory management to sales tracking and performance analytics, Seller Central offers an integrated dashboard that allows amazon sellers to monitor and optimize their business in real time. Features such as detailed sales reports, advertising campaign management, and customer messaging functionalities enable sellers to take proactive steps to improve their store's performance. Moreover, Amazon's A+ Content feature allows professional sellers to enhance their product listings with rich media, including high-quality images and detailed product descriptions, helping to improve visibility and conversion rates. These comprehensive tools are invaluable for sellers looking to grow their business on Amazon, providing them with data-driven insights to make informed decisions.

eBay Seller Hub

eBay Seller Hub, on the other hand, is tailored to meet the needs of eBay sellers, offering a suite of management tools that cater to the unique aspects of selling on eBay. The Seller Hub provides access to listing tools, order management, marketing options, and detailed performance analytics, all from a centralized dashboard. It enables ebay sellers to efficiently manage their listings, track sales, and analyze data to identify trends and opportunities for growth. The hub also offers recommendations tailored to the seller's store, suggesting ways to improve listing visibility and sales. Additionally, eBay's promotional tools, such as Promotions Manager, allow sellers to create customized marketing campaigns to attract more buyers and increase sales. This level of control and insight makes eBay Seller Hub an essential resource for sellers looking to maximize their success on the platform.

Selling On Amazon Vs eBay


Selling on Amazon opens doors to a vast marketplace with a global customer base, where amazon sellers can benefit from the brand's reputation for quality and reliability. The platform's Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service offers an efficient logistics solution, removing the burden of storage, packing, and shipping from the seller's shoulders. This convenience is coupled with the potential for higher visibility through Amazon's sophisticated search and recommendation algorithms, designed to match products with the customers most likely to purchase them. For sellers willing to navigate the competitive landscape and invest in marketing and optimization, Amazon offers the prospect of significant sales volumes, supported by a suite of tools in Amazon Seller Central for monitoring performance and managing operations.


The flip side of Amazon's extensive reach and services is the high level of competition and the associated costs. Amazon sellers face fees at multiple stages, from listing products to selling and fulfilling orders, including referral fees and FBA charges. This environment demands continuous optimization and investment in advertising to stay ahead, which can be challenging for new sellers or those with limited budgets. Additionally, the stringent performance metrics and policies can be a double-edged sword, requiring sellers to maintain high standards of customer service and operational efficiency to avoid penalties or account suspension.

Selling On Ebay Vs Amazon


eBay's marketplace offers a unique proposition for sellers targeting niche markets or specializing in unique, vintage, or used items. Its flexible selling strategies, including auction and fixed price listings, allow sellers to tailor their approach to the nature of their products and the preferences of their target buyers. eBay's fees generally tend to be lower than Amazon's, especially for sellers who manage their shipping and fulfillment, making it a more accessible platform for small businesses and individual sellers. The platform's Global Shipping Program further facilitates international sales, enabling sellers to reach a worldwide audience without navigating complex logistics independently. eBay's emphasis on seller autonomy and personalized customer interaction creates opportunities for building a loyal customer base through exceptional service and unique product offerings.


While eBay provides a platform for flexibility and lower upfront costs, it may not match Amazon in terms of customer reach and the convenience of fulfillment services. eBay sellers are responsible for managing their shipping and customer service, which can be resource-intensive and may not appeal to all buyers. The platform's diverse marketplace also means that achieving visibility requires effective listing optimization and potentially more direct marketing efforts to stand out. Sellers looking for the streamlined operations and vast customer base that Amazon offers might find eBay's approach to require more hands-on management and strategic planning to achieve similar levels of success.


Deciding whether to sell on Amazon or eBay is a strategic choice that hinges on understanding the unique benefits and challenges each platform presents. Amazon's vast audience and streamlined logistics offer a powerful infrastructure for sellers aiming for scale and efficiency. Its Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service simplifies the logistics of storage and shipping, allowing sellers to focus more on scaling their business rather than the intricacies of logistics. This advantage, however, comes with the cost of higher competition and fees, necessitating a robust strategy to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

eBay, with its emphasis on niche markets and flexible selling options, caters to sellers who thrive on personalization and direct customer interaction. The platform's structure is particularly conducive to those dealing in unique, vintage, or collectible items, providing a space where such products can capture the attention of a dedicated and interested audience. eBay's more accessible fee structure and the autonomy it offers sellers in managing their shipping and customer service make it an attractive option for small businesses and individual sellers looking to carve out a niche.


Who is Bigger eBay or Amazon?

Amazon commands a larger market share and boasts a broader customer base than eBay, positioning it as the larger and more pervasive platform in the global e-commerce landscape. This distinction underscores Amazon's role as a dominant player in the online retail sector, offering sellers access to an extensive network of potential buyers.

Is It a Good Idea to Sell on Both Amazon and eBay?

Diversifying sales across both Amazon and eBay can be a strategic move to maximize reach and tap into the unique advantages of each platform. However, it demands a nuanced understanding and management of two distinct selling strategies and operational frameworks. Sellers must navigate the differences in fee structures, customer expectations, and fulfillment logistics to leverage the strengths of both platforms effectively.

Can I sell on eBay without PayPal?

Yes, in response to evolving payment preferences and the need for greater flexibility, eBay has expanded its payment processing options. Sellers can now choose from multiple payment methods to find the one that best suits their business needs, enhancing the platform's accessibility for a wider range of sellers.

What Are the Main Differences Between Selling on Amazon and eBay?

Key differences between selling on Amazon and eBay include their fee structures, fulfillment options, and the competitive landscape. Amazon offers a vast customer base and integrated logistics through FBA but at the cost of higher fees and intense competition. eBay provides more flexibility in selling strategies and lower fees, appealing to sellers of niche and unique items, though it may not offer the same scale of customer reach or fulfillment convenience as Amazon.

Does Amazon sell used items?

Yes, Amazon facilitates the sale of used items alongside new products, providing a comprehensive marketplace that caters to a wide array of consumer needs. This feature enables sellers to reach buyers looking for both new and pre-owned goods, broadening the scope of potential sales.

Choosing the right platform involves a careful assessment of your business's goals, the nature of your products, and your preferred operational model. Whether leveraging Amazon's extensive reach and fulfillment services or tapping into eBay's niche markets and seller autonomy, understanding these platforms' nuances is crucial for online selling success.

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